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The Peltier Glass Company


Ottawa, Illinois

1886 – still in operation at the time of this writing

Marble production: approx. 1927 – 2002



Peltier was founded in 1886 as The Novelty Glass Company by Victor J. Peltier, a glassmaker who had emigrated from France.  The company made opalescent art glass and glass for such purposes as train windows and auto headlights.  Victor died in 1911.  Then in 1919 a horrible fire changed the course of the company.   Victor’s sons Sellers and Joseph took over.  The company’s name was changed.  And it was around this time that they took a look at marble making. 


Their first marbles were produced by 1927.   They were using a machine patented by William J. Miller.  In 1929 this particular machine became the center of a lawsuit which would transform the marble industry.  Akro sued Peltier for infringement on a 1915 Horace Hill patent and won the case, but the decision was reversed on appeal.  It was determined that the 1915 patent should never have been awarded because Hill’s design was not sufficiently original.  This decision was called “the breaking of the Patents” and allowed other marble companies to use the technology without fear of penalty.


Peltier made hand-gathered slags but is better known for its later slags, many of which display a finely feathered look. 


During the 30’s and 40’s they gave us the highly popular National Line Rainbos followed by the simpler yet still popular Rainbos.  Other favorites from the 30’s are the Peerless Patches and Acme Realers.  Their famous Picture Marbles featured comic strip characters printed on Peerless Patches.  Many marbles from this era, especially many NLRs, have been given colorful names by collectors. 


In the 1950’s, Peltier suffered the same decline as the other major marble companies did with the introduction of cat’s eyes from Japan.  Like Vitro and Marble King, Peltier introduced their own version of the cat’s eye in an effort to compete.  Known now to collectors as banana cat’s eyes, they were not as successful as Vitro’s and Marble King’s. 


A 1962 price list shows that the company was still selling boxes of Rainbos and “Bloodies”, but few of their marble making activities after this have garnered much attention.  Notable exceptions are the Nova family, including the Root Beer Float, which were part of a special order run on one day in 1988.  These marbles are in the 7/8” to 1” range. Another special order of similarly large marbles was run a short while later; some also refer to these as Novas.  In 2002, new owner Boyce Lundstrom made two very small test runs which have become known as First Run and Second Run Peltiers.  These are sparkler-like in design and quite attractive.  Many were given away, some scattered for children to find on the company grounds.


When not making marbles for play, Peltier has made industrial marbles and flat gems but in 2002 they sent their gem table to Marble King. 


The Marble King/Peltier connection goes back a long way.  Sellers Peltier was one of the incorporating partners of Marble King, along with Berry Pink, in 1949.  Marble King and Peltier marbles can each be found packaged under the other company’s brand. 


Another company with ties to Peltier is the Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company.  Kokomo bought one of Peltier’s machines in around 1939, and then sold it back to them a few years later.  Many of the marbles made by Kokomo are virtually identical to Rainbos. 


At the time of this writing, Peltier produces glass tiles for construction and glassware for many applications.





More information:


American Machine-Made Marbles, 2006, Dean Six, Susie Metzler and Michael Johnson


Collecting Antique Marbles, 4th ed., 2004, Paul Baumann





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