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Here is a summary of the key points:
1. Importance of round and beautiful marbles:
- Marbles should be both round and visually appealing.
- Marbles with little colored bits in the middle are highly desirable.
2. Glassblower and marble maker:
- An expert glassblower and marble maker works in the shop.
- People come from miles around to witness the process.
3. Melting glass:
- Glass is made by melting granules, mainly consisting of sand, in a high-temperature furnace.
- The intense heat reduces the granules to a liquid state.
4. Glassblowing process:
- The marble maker begins by creating a colored glass sandwich.
- Molten glass is gathered on a steel rod, known as a gob, by the blower’s assistant.
- Glass marbles are a relatively new idea, unlike wooden or clay marbles that have been around for thousands of years.
- The glassblower stretches and twists the glass on his rod, gradually shaping it.
- Drops of cold water are used to shock the hot glass and help shape it further.
- Additional glassblowers are involved in the process, gathering more glass and adding color using glass canes.
- Swirls are created in an optic mold for added aesthetics.
5. Finishing and cooling:
- The marble maker shapes the end of the glass rod into a bar using a block mold made from graphite.
- Beeswax is applied as a lubricant for the blowers.
- A stroke with cold steel fractures the glass, allowing the marble to be separated.
- The snapped end is flattened under a jet of burning gas to ensure the marble rolls smoothly.
- The marble is then cooled slowly in an annealing oven to release internal stresses and prevent shattering.
- Outside the workshop, chimneys release the heat.
Overall, the process of making glass marbles involves skilled glassblowing techniques, color additions, shaping, and careful cooling to create visually appealing and durable marbles.