From 1880 to 1915 glass marbles were manufactured in the US by machine for the first time – or at least they were machine manufactured in part. A part of the process was still done by hand and the marbles made in this way are known as Transitional Marbles. They represent a bridge between manmade and machine manufactured marbles. The machine was almost like a lathe with molten glass, and the colors were swirled in by hand.
The swirled pattern ends on the marble’s surface in what is known as a pontil. Transitional marbles are often identified by their type of pontil – if they show. A pontil that is “regular” looks like its handmade counterpart and is quite rare. “Melted,” “pinch,” and “crease” pontils are common while “pinpoint” and “fold” pontils are extremely rare.
The best-known companies to have produced transitionals were the Navarre Glass Company and M. F. Christensen & Son Company. It is extremely rare to come across any marbles in their original packaging, making it hard track the origin of a transitional.
Shown is a non-pontil transitional marble.