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By George Sourlis


            When the term “Marble King” is used at marble shows it most often refers to the Marble King Company (or their marbles), which was started by Berry Pink and Sellers Peltier in 1949.  However, the term originated many years before the company was established.  It was coined by Berry Pink, and he used it as a synonym for “Marble Champ”.


            Plate 1 shows 1 page of a 4-page brochure related to the 1939 World’s Fair.  In the picture Berry Pink, James Braddock, and Jack Dempsey are standing in front of a table loaded with mesh bags full of marbles.  Note that these bags have the “MARBLE KING” label typical of Marble King marble bags in the early 1950’s.  This picture establishes the use of the term by Berry Pink as early as 1940.


            But the term dates back much farther than that.  In Plate 2 are shown several mesh bags having advertising for Rippled Wheat cereal.  One side of the label refers to the cereal while the other side shows the term “MARBLE KING”.  Some of these bags have the fine mesh which dates them back to 1933 or earlier.  This date is supported by the fact that the company that made the cereal was short-lived from 1933 to 1938.


            Notice that during the life of the food company there was a change in the bag labels.  In 1933 labels were dull red with black printing.  By 1938 the label had become the well-known Marble King format with black printing on a cream colored center rectangle surrounded by an orange border.  Finally, during the same period the mesh changed from fine to coarse.


            I want to thank Charles and Diane Brandstetter for allowing me to use photographs of their mesh bags in this article.


Plate 1







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