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Breaking news for JABO lovers! April 8, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Attention, marble lovers and collectors everywhere: Here’s a scoop on today’s hottest machine-made marbles, JABOs. Remember, you read it here first!

Around midnight last night, a shadowy figure who, in keeping with our blog’s Colonial tone, prefers to be known only as Paul Revere,* rode up to Hawk’s Haven, our friend Ben’s and Silence Dogood’s cottage home, swinging his lantern and shouting “The JABOs are coming! The JABOs are coming!!!”

Lurching groggily to the door, our friend Ben opened it to be hit with a faceful of dust from the rapidly advancing hooves of the noted silversmith’s horse as he reined to a halt and swung off his steed. Once sight was restored, OFB, still coughing slightly, invited Paul inside.

“Silence! It’s Paul Revere! Would you bring us some ale, please? I’ll be starting up the fire in the living room.” No slouch, Silence was at the living room door with two brimming mugs of ale before you could say “Lexington and Concord.”

“Paul, what’s going on? Don’t tell me the British are at it again!”

Turns out, it was even more momentous news, at least as far as marble-lovers are concerned. Here’s what Paul told us:

“While I was resting over a tankard in Marietta, I overheard Joe, the postal worker from Wells Fargo, tell a wonderfully exciting story of a JABO marble run that is about to take place. The story was told to him by a generally unreliable old cur of a hound, but for once he had some of the facts.

“I edged closer to hear the full scoop. It appears that the JABO Tributes were given the chance to do a 1″ run at JABO.** He said that this will be the first and maybe the only 1″ run in 3 years. Everyone at his table shouted ‘No!’ and ‘Impossible!’, so I didn’t hear what he said next, but as the table quieted down, I heard him say something about how huge the costs would be. The base glass will be custom-batched, with some extra glass added for another group to run smaller marbles.

“The whole table was in an uproar by this time, so I left the inn with the idea that even though Joe had some of the specifics, there was more to this story… “

“Speaking of leaving the inn, Paul, I see that your mug is empty. Care for a refill?”

“Thank’ee, Silence, don’t mind if I do. Riding these dusty backroads every midnight shouting the news is mighty thirsty work. Now, where was I? Oh, yes…

“I walked around the town and talked to the usual supporters in the area. Still, the information was sketchy at best, so I decided to go straight to the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Did you say something, Ben?”

“Me? Not a word, Paul. Please go on!”

“Hmpf. Well, I raced to the blacksmith shop where my horse was tethered for the night and I galloped the 7 miles to Reno, Ohio. My steed was tired and I, excited. I spoke with David McCullough himself,*** and he completed the story.

“According to David, the amount of base glass per marble will be 2 1/2 times that used to make a 3/4″ marble, because the surface area of a 1″ marble is 2 1/4 times that of a 3/4″ marble.”

“Then why won’t the amount of base glass be 2 1/4 times as much instead of 2 1/2 times?”

“Ben, I’m a silversmith, not a marble-maker! You’ll have to ask David that question yourself. But if he said it, I’m sure it’s true.”

“I agree with you there, Paul! David is as great a marble-maker as you were, ah, are a silversmith, for sure. Maybe there’s some evaporation involved or something.”

“Slept through chemistry class, eh, Ben?”

“Shut up, Silence. Paul, you were saying?”

“According to David, the gold aventurine will cost about $15,000—“

“WHAT?!!!”

“Ben, did you think making premium marbles was cheap? Think about it: Between the cost of materials, the cost of buying, maintaining, and running the equipment, and the priceless expertise involved in creating these masterworks, maybe you can see why collectors invest thousands of dollars in their collections. It’s not like we’re talking about, say, scribbling away on a computer.”

“GRRRRRR… “

“Ben!!!”

“Uh, sorry, Silence, Paul. Just clearing a little road dust out of my throat. Paul, you were saying?”

“Right. The gold aventurine will cost about $15,000, and then the gold Lutz rod will be about $500 per kilo, and many kilos will be used. The total cost of this run will be 2 to 3 times more than any 3/4″ run to date. Apparently, the Tributes have gathered most of the money and are planning on a mid- to late-May run. The name they have chosen for this unique run is ‘What a Tribute!’ It sure looks like David McCullough will have all the materials he wants to set still another standard of excellence in marble-making.”

“So what does David think about the run, Paul?”

“The rumor is that David is very excited about this run and was overheard to say with a huge smile and a wink, ‘We’ll make you some real pretty marbles.’

“Will JABO collectors like us be able to watch the marbles being made, Paul?”

“You betcha, Ben. Tributes from the four corners of the continent will assemble at the JABO factory in Reno, Ohio, to watch these beautiful marbles being made. It’s a great opportunity to be a part of marble history, just like I became part of American history.

“So, Ben and Silence, I hope you’re as excited about this development as I am. I will keep watch over the proceedings and inform you of any new developments. So au revoir for now! I must take to horse and return to Marietta to keep an eye on things.”

Leaping onto his long-suffering—I mean, trusty—steed, the last we saw of Paul Revere was his retreating form, trailed by a cloud of dust and the echo of “The JABOs are coming!”

* The modest personage wishing to be known simply as Paul Revere, and bearing no resemblance whatever to the “generally unreliable old cur of a hound” of his story, might nonetheless be known to the cognoscenti by his alter-ego, JABO’s principal historian, aka Dr. JABO.

** For those new to the wide and wild world of marble collecting, three explanations are due here. First, marbles are made in numerous sizes, but machine-made marbles are typically made in 1/2, 3/4, and 1-inch sizes. Second, marble production typically occurs in “runs,” so-called because the machines are fired up, the glass and other materials are shoveled in, and the marbles are produced in a single stretch of time and at full tilt, with everyone running to complete that batch of marbles until the raw materials run out. And third, if you’re wondering why these particular collectors are referred to by Paul Revere as “Tributes,” it’s because they collect and finance the Tribute runs that David McCullough has produced for JABO.

*** David McCullough is not only the presiding genius responsible for the creation of JABO marbles, arguably the hottest collectibles in the marble field today, but is almost certainly the greatest creator of machine-made marbles who ever lived.

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Comments»

1. Gail - April 8, 2010

There are so many opportunities to make “Have you lost your marbles!” or “I have all my marbles!” comments. But, a long time reader would never, ever make bad puns at your expense. Instead she would get all excited with and for those who collect marbles. Although, she would secretly wonder about the state of anyone’s marbles were they to spend $15,000 on one! xxoo, gail

Ha, I’m not sure anyone would do that, Gail! Instead, they might spend, say, $250 or $500 or $1,000 for a share of a marble run, which adds up to hundreds of marbles. But anyway, thanks for your forebearance!

2. jodi (bloomingwriter) - April 8, 2010

I’m not going to forebear, Silence & Ben. I SHALL ask if you’ve lost your marbles, or better yet if you’ve found mine! This was delightful as always. I must ask if Mr. Silversmith shod his own horse with shoes of silver, since he isn’t a blacksmith…

We’ll convey your compliments to Paul, Jodi, as well as your question!

3. Dr. Huma Ibrahim - April 9, 2010

what?

4. steve - April 9, 2010

The best remark ever made about marbles was made right here on PRA in an earlier entry. “….almost pretty enough to be a JABO…”

Thanks, Steve, quite a compliment coming from you!

5. WVRONS - April 14, 2010

Just say the word Dave! Of course, I will be there with my Jabo gloves, my tongs and Tribute cap. Ready to push rod again. What a great opportunity. Thanks Gerald!

Hi Ron! Great to see such a renowned marble lover here on PRA! We’re honored. But, er, who’s Gerald?!

6. steve - April 16, 2010

Gerald is Gerald Witcher. The guy who used to put these runs together was tired out so the big guy took the point.

Thanks, Steve!


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