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Jabo, Inc., Reno, Ohio

2005 Marble Production

This is my second opportunity to hopefully wax eloquent regarding the marbles made by Jabo under the guiding hand of Dave McCullough, who in all humbleness attributes their ultimate success to a much higher authority.

If you have fallen under the spell of the unending turning magic of the swirl marble, the wondrous translucent and/or opaque swirl marbles that Jabo have been featuring in their Spring & Fall Classic series will have come to your attention. These Special Runs have ultimately been done for the sheer joy of making a think of beauty. And if you have somehow missed out on experiencing what Jabo has been doing, you have a wonderful adventure ahead of you. These runs are an established fact going all the way back to the early 1990s. Mike Johnsons book on the American machine-made marble industry (coming out in the Spring 06 by Schiffer Publishing), will devote a full chapter to Jabo with photographs from all the Spring & Fall Classic Series runs in addition to a thorough history of the company.

Right now I want to provide an overview on what Jabo has produced for the collector market in the year 2005. Undoubtedly the most significant and yet to be heralded marble run was on December 9, 2005, when a very special run of 1 marbles were made while the process was filmed by a professional Canadian crew of How Its Made for an as yet to be scheduled Discovery Channel segment.

In Photo #1, I show two similar sets of 12 different marbles. Most of the marbles made on December 9th were opaque swirls but a couple varieties of a Light Yellow and a Dark Yellow (Photo #2) have translucence. Also in Photo 2, are four marbles with a rich creamy red. Very few of these appeared to come down the line and, along with the yellow translucent, Mike and I immediately declared them favorites.

Photo #1Jabo Inc. Marbles

Photo #2Jabo Inc. Marbles

The December 9th run ran to approximately 4500 lbs or approximately 103,500 marbles. For comparison a 25 lb box of these 1 marbles would have somewhere around 575 marbles as Dave tops them off, cause that’s the kind of guy he is!

Going back through the 2005 year the Fall Classic Series was predominantly distinguished by a gorgeous variety of marbles represented in Photo #3. All 12 shown were in individual runs of sufficient quantity to set them apart. Again a personal favorite, a rich creamy translucent red, is highlighted in Photo #4.

Photo #3Jabo Inc. Marbles

Photo #4Jabo Inc. Marbles

For greatest variety in sizes and color combinations I would have to say that the Spring Classic Series for 2005 is elevated to the top echelons of marble consideration when contemplating an overview of past Classic runs. Heck, even a sizable run of marbles that were all deemed rejects Mike and I have saved from the obscurity of the Jabo dumpster* (see Photo #5) and given a second life as the first marble in the 21st Century to continue the line of Root Beer Float marbles (see Photo#6). These might more accurately be called Root Beer Slags. All are approximately 5/8 with varying degrees of denseness. (*Aside: Story has it that someone from Florida bought the contents of the Dumpster although not till after some fun dumpster diving!)

Photo #5Jabo Inc. Marbles

Photo #6Jabo Inc. Marbles

To anyone who has looked at them, your initial impression is that many of the 2005 Spring Classics truly have Fall colors. Just look at Photo #7 and #8, which contain a handpicked group of 5/8 and pee wee marbles that Ron Shepherd sent along to me in April 2005. Smack dab in the middle are 14 of my personal favorites that I give center stage. To further emphasize this autumn coloring scheme look at these beautiful pee wees in Photo #9 also sent to me by Ron.

Photo #7Jabo Inc. Marbles

Photo #8Jabo Inc. Marbles

Photo #9Jabo Inc. Marbles

Let me round this out with some fun photos and maybe bring some of you around to what’s been happening at Jabo in Reno, Ohio. Photo #10 has a sampler plastic jar (white lid) group of 5/8 Spring Classics (almost 2 pounds). Photo #11 shows some wonderful odd balls that Ron sent me, check out those four little ones strung together and what wonderfully rich colors were represented in this run. Finally in Photo #12, twenty-five hand-picked favorites I pulled out from my first two run-throughs of these 2005 Classics.

Photo #10Jabo Inc. Marbles

Photo #11Jabo Inc. Marbles

Photo #12Jabo Inc. Marbles

Dave McCullough defers from making cats eyes and patterned marbles (ribbons and patches) thereby graciously leaving that field of marbles to Marble King. Its in the swirl marble that he excels. The swirl marble and the slag marble in their paradoxically freeze-framed state still dramatically exhibit the changing dynamism of the natural process which has resulted in this spherical final form a naturally perfect shape framing a world of wild churning wonder the constant turning of which reveals a kaleidoscope of worlds within. If its a Jabo marble you can be sure you’ve go something special in your hand!

David Chamberlain 1-10-06


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