What is Marble Crazy?
"Marble Crazy" was first held at the Moon Marble Company in the year, 1999. Due to its success and enthusiastic feedback from our artists and visitors to the event, we decided to make it an annual event beginning in the year 2000. The first Marble Crazy featured two demonstration areas and three visiting artists. The event has grown considerably over the years, as "Marble Crazy 2020" will have four demonstration areas with more than 2 dozen artists. The demonstration areas include two lampworking benches, a reproduction Marble Machine from 1905, a Large Wheel Marble Machine, and a furnace working area. All of the artists demonstrate their own styles and methods during the show giving visitors to the event an abundance of interesting demonstrations to watch.
Back in 2004, "Marble Crazy at the Inn" was added to the event by the "Kansas City Marble Collectors Club" to create another day of sales and fun for all participants. The Collectors Show features both contemporary and antique marbles for sale, marble identification (for those with old marbles that they would like to know more about) as well as marble games and fun for kids of all ages.
The Marble Machine
The Marble Machine was introduced to "Marble Crazy" in the year, 2004. John McCormick conceived the idea of creating this machine after a visit to the Moon Marble Company. Like many other enthusiasts that have visited the store, John was inspired by Bruce Breslow’s demonstration to take up the craft of marble making. Unlike those other enthusiasts who proceeded to take lessons in glass working, John (a mechanical engineer) was interested in designing and creating a machine to make marbles.
He started his first design in January of 2002 and completed it in March 2003. Using an original patent of a marble machine invented by M.F. Christensen in 1902, John designed a machine with two wheels that turn in opposite directions. These wheels are spaced at just the right distance apart and turn at just the right speeds so that a glob of molten glass dropped between the wheels will remain suspended in them and spin to form a sphere. Once the sphere is formed and the glass starts to cool, the wheels are slowly separated to allow the marble to drop out of the machine. The end result is a marble approximately 5/8" in diameter.
John demonstrates this machine almost continuously throughout the "Marble Crazy" event. He has created a second machine that produces marbles that are 1" and larger in diameter. The larger machine is also demonstrated once or twice during "Marble Crazy" in the Furnace Working demonstration area.
Click on the image below to see the patent from 1902.