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Christensen Agate


Payne, Ohio

1925 – 1927

Cambridge, Ohio

1927 – 1933



The Christensen Agate company was founded in 1925 in Payne, Ohio by several Akron businessmen.  Its name appears to have been chosen to take advantage of the recognizability of the M. F. Christensen brand.  No other apparent connection exists between the founders of Christensen Agate and the name Christensen. 


Little is known about the marbles made by the company in its first two years of business, though a small dig at the original factory site found marbles which looked like M. F. Christensen slags.


In 1927, the company moved to building in Cambridge, Ohio, near the Cambridge Glass Company.


Two major factors in the success of Christensen were the company president Howard M. Jenkins and its resident glass chemist Arnold Fiedler.  Jenkins held the patents on the company's marble machines.  His machines were relatively efficient for the day and reasonably adaptable allowing Christensen to produce a range of styles and marble sizes.


Fiedler was born and trained in Germany.  He came to the states with secret methods for mixing glass which were previously unknown to marble makers, and which went with him to his grave.  He did not even share his secrets with his family members.


Roughly speaking Christensen's swirls are single stream marbles.  All of the glass for the marbles would be put into a single tank and would stream together through a single orifice in the tank.   


Fiedler was able to combine compatible yet different glass types in such a way that they did not blend together.  Where other companies' colors would bleed, Christensen colors stay sharp and distinct.  This was so even though the glass colors were put into a single tank and they all streamed together through a single orifice in the tank. 


Another very special type of marble produced by Christensen, one of their most popular, was the guinea, said to have been named after a certain colorful bird which could be seen on the factory grounds. 


The Christensen Agate company officially went of business in 1933 when its charter was cancelled due to unpaid taxes.  Marble production ended sometime around 1931 though.  It appears that Christensen could not compete with the West Virginia marble companies, and it is possible that the owners had more profitable business opportunities elsewhere.  This was during the height of the Great Depression and for whatever reason Christensen did not survive.


Christensen Agate is of course famous for some of the most colorful machine-made marbles ever made.  However the collection belonging to the Guernsey County (Ohio) Road Department shows that the company also made some very dull ones which the average collector would be very unlikely to associate with Christensen.   


One more marble which Christensen may have made, or may have jobbered, is the common dyed clay.   Glass and clay marbles have been found packaged together in Christensen Agate "Favorites" boxes.  It still seems unclear how they came to be jabbered together but clay marbles, aka commies, were indeed very common at this time.  They were very inexpensive compared to glass and were still the main marble used in tournament play.





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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