The history is chronicled at The American Toy Marble Museum which is inside the Akron History Museum at Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron. The Dyke philosophy was to put a handful of marbles in the possession of every kid who had a penny. At it’s peak the company produced an incredible million marbles per day.It’s on the original site of the defunct company bearing the same name, started in 1891 by Sam and A. Considering their longevity there must be an enormous cache of marbles consigned to attic and basement storage boxes, because today there are relatively few rolling free.It was the point at which the game became a contact sport.When the school bell rang before the game ended, someone yelled the command making it legal to dive into the pot, elbows flying and heads butting, to grab as many of the remaining marbles as you could get away with.Liberation from the classroom would spawn a dozen or more games at once creating an atmosphere of excitement that rivaled that of any latter-day sport.It was a time when every boy who valued his worth arrived at school equipped for the game, and hoped to depart with the spoils of victory. Some were fortunate enough to buy their initial supply, and others were thankful for prizes from breakfast cereal boxes to seed their entry into the competition. If you won, someone else lost, and the larger your collection, the greater your image.
The best recollection of grade school is a scene of grassless level areas inscribed with circles of various diameters to accommodate all ranks of players.
“Cats eyes,” were desirable as were the rich-looking colors and designs that were called “beauties.” The larger sizes were referred to as “boulders,” and the small ones “peawees.” The most valuable were the heavier than normal marbles deemed “shooters.” Their weight imparted a force that could thrust others from the ring with authority.
Only the most inept left their shooters inside the ring as fair game for the next player.
Knee patches and dirt ground into sometimes-calloused knuckles were badges of honor.
A few girls had their troves as well, but they were rarely interested in playing, instead displaying their collection for aesthetic value.