A history of glass balls
People have used balls for the purpose of entertainment or decorations since ancient times. The oldest known balls came from Egypt and they date back to 3000 BC. We know the first marbles originated from Crete or from native North Africans. At the time, they were made of pebbles, stones, marble or carved from bones.
Glass balls are more recent. Historians dispute where the first glass balls were produced in bulk. Some argue it was in Venice, while others believe it was in the German town Lauscha in the glassworks founded in 1590 by Christoffer Müller and Hans Greiner. Around 1846 a German glassblower from these glassworks – Elias Johann Christoph Simon Carl Greiner – invented special scissors, which cut the soft glass to beads. These scissors made the production of glass beads easier, but it was still hand made.
The first machine production of glass beads was introduced in 1902 in the United States established by Martin Frederik Christensen, a native Dane, who emigrated from Denmark in 1867. He patented the first machine for forming glass beads directly from molten glass on 24th October 1905. His firm operated until 1917 when production had to finish because of a lack of energy (natural gas).
After the First World War, the production of glass balls was slowly developing beyond entertainment and decoration to the beginning of production for industrial use. New ways of production were invented. Today there are four basic ways to machine-manufacture glass beads / balls, and these are used to produce all technical glass beads in the world.
There are only a few companies in the world that specialise in the manufacture and sale of glass beads / balls. We are proud to say this includes our company, which has one of the widest range of glass and ceramic beads availiable.