Many of the vintage machine marble makers began making cat's eye marbles by the 1940s and 1950s. In this category we list some of the most collectible types of catseyes.
Generally, Peltier Glass Company is considered to have made the first true cat's-eye marbles in the 1930's. These marbles are generally referred to as "bananas" because of the simple curved form of the injected glass, which is typically yellow, red, blue, green, or white in a crystal clear base. The yellow variety especially looks like a banana in the marble.
After 1945, inexpensive foreign-made cat's-eyes were introduced, first from Japan, later from other countries. In the 1950s, they flooded the market. The competition from these cheap attractive marbles, together with a waning interest in marbles as a sport, led many US manufacturers to cease production of some of the more expensive-to produce opaque marbles. In the 1940's, as an innovation, and later to compete with foreign imports, many US marble makers made cat's-eyes.
American cat's-eyes tend to have very clear glass. The older bubbly Master Marble translucent 1 color cat's and later 11/16" 3 vein Master Glass, and Gladding Vitro cage cat's-eyes, most common in the late 1960s to early 1980s, are among the easiest American-made cat's-eyes to identify. Marble King and Vitro Agate are the most common American Cat's to find. However, most cat's-eyes you find today at shops and yard sales will be foreign made, and the base glass strongly tinted green. Many of those marbles made during the past 20 years are especially dark. The tint of foreign cats and clarity of American cats are easy to pick out
The key cat's-eye marbles to collect are the unusual varieties, like those where the vanes of one color cross the plane of another color. If you look at multicolor cat's-eyes, almost all will have the colored vanes in "v" pairs. Cross-plane cat's are rare and valuable. The most valuable of these are the “St. Mary’s” cat’s eye of Marble King, made at their St. Mary’s, West Virginia Plant before it was destroyed by a flood.
Other cat’s eye you should collect are "hybrid" cat's eyes where there is more than one color on a single vane. The best of these are the 3-color frilly vane cat’s eyes by Vitro Agate. Look out also for rare colors, marbles with adventurine, three color nine vane cage cat’s eyes, and marbles with a colored glass base (blue is most typical).
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Cat's Eye Marbles