St. Louis, Missouri
1919 – 1989
production: late 1930's to an unclear date, perhaps the late 1940's
Manufacturing Company was founded in 1919 in
St. Louis, Missouri by
John Frier with money he earned from dabbling in railroad stocks while he served
in the Navy during World War I. The
Alox name was chosen so that the company name could be found near the front in
phone books. The company's first
products were shoelaces and corsets.
They branched out into novelty toy items.
One item of note is a box kite John designed, and this wasn't merely toy.
AMMM puts it this way: "One
such kite was commissioned to promote the National Recovery Act in the 1930s.
During World War II, Alox kites caught the eye of the
military, who commissioned a foil kite to attach to balloons as radar targets."
Alox toy was a Chinese checkers board.
Alox originally bought the marbles for these boards from a West Virginia marble company but the company
sometimes had trouble filling the orders and eventually went out of business in
the late 1930's.
In order to
have a reliable source of Chinese checkers marbles, John Frier went into the
marble making business. He
purchased seven marble machines from a West Virginia
company and hired two West Virginia
marble workers to help him get started, according to the recollections of John
Frier, Jr. Natural gas not being as
plentiful in Missouri as in West Virginia, the machines were modified to
run on fuel oil, but Alox only had two fuel tanks so there were only two
machines running at any one time.
The extra machines would eventually be a source of spare parts to keep two
machines running as long as they could.
Marble production stopped during World War II, then resumed.
However, the aging machines were increasingly difficult to keep running
and marble production ceased within a few years after the war.
joined the company in 1950 and kept it running until it closed in 1989.
By 1950 marble production had stopped but Alox still had much stock on
hand. Alox marbles continued to be
sold for many years after that, first in mesh packaging and then in plastic when
the mesh bags were gone.
opaques, clearies, swirls and patches.
They used both new and scrap glass. Green
could come from 7-Up bottles, brown from beer bottles, blue from Milk of
Magnesia bottles, white from cold cream jars, etc.
should beware of a well-known kind of "fantasy" packaging with the Alox name on
it. They bags say Army, Navy or Air
Force. These are not authentic Alox
items. Many have modern Marble Kings
in them. Some contain Champion
one more interesting chapter in the life of the Alox marble machines.
In 1975 all but two were scrapped.
Those two were sold to the Silver Dollar
City theme park in Branson, Missouri
where one of them was briefly brought back to life using the other for scrap
parts. A few imperfect marbles were
made with Fenton cullet. None of
these marbles are known to exist today.
American Machine-Made Marbles,
2006, Dean Six, Susie Metzler and Michael Johnson