ORIGINAL PATENTS

"A government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention." (Google Dictionary)

20210118_220035.jpg

U.S. PATENT 632,335 & 632,336

M.F. Christensen's Ball Bearing Patents

​(Filed: March 7th 1899 - Granted: September 5th 1899)

  • On September 5th, 1899, M.F. Christensen was granted a U.S. patent for an "apparatus for producing metallic spheres.

  • This became the principal knowledge foundation for Martin to branch off and eventually invent his glass ball machine. 

  •  Both 632,335 & 632,336 both feature a similar machine.

  • This patent was to be granted until September 5th, 1916.

20210118_220353.jpg

U.S. PATENT 802,495

M.F. Christensen's Spherical Body Manufacturing Machine (World's 1st glass marble machine)

​(Filed: December 19th 1902 - Granted: October 24th 1905)

  • On October 24th 1905, M.F. Christensen received his patent for the world's 1st glass marble producing machine. He was able to apply his knowledge working with spherical bodies and the steel industry, to bring glass marbles to mass production for the very first time in history. 

  • Many families could now afford the new glass marbles that were previously reserved for wealthy families. The mass production allowed the marbles to be cheaper and affordable for the masses instead of luxurious hand-made marbles.

  • Marbles quickly became not only a popular pastime and eventually, tournaments became nationwide sponsored events, fueled by the passion of many marble-heads nationwide. 

  • The machine that manufactured the famous "Christensen 9" figure, found on the marbles.

9D38A7F0-4370-46AB-B7CB-E950A1B69636.jpe

CANADIAN PATENT 94,208

Canadian Version of  M.F. Christensen's  U.S. Patent (World's 1st Glass Marble Machine).

​(Filed: December 16th, 1904 -  Granted: July 18th, 1905)

  • Previously undiscovered until July 2020.

  • Part of M.F. Christensen's original patent process that was finally granted on October 24th, 1905. This was filed on December 16th, 1904, and was signed in the presence of H.C. Sanford. 

  • This patent was never renewed past its expiration date of 1911.

  • This was the very patent that Horace C. Hill purloined from M.F. Christensen, along with the money, to start Akro Agate. 


  • (According to American Machine-Made Marbles p.9), "Horace C. Hill, who had stolen so much from his former employer, M.F. Christensen, was not even moderately clever with machines and his plans for a new generation marble machine were perhaps also purloined from M.F. Christensen. He applied for a patent on a hand-fed semi-automatic machine for Akro Agate in 1912, but it was rejected by the U.S. patent office" 

  • This patent was part of the Akro Asset liquidation in 1951 and ended up in the hands of Clinton Israel in Bridgeport, WV. 

  • This patent was possibly used by J.F. Early when designing his patent as this patent was far more detailed than Hill's "Reader's Digest" version.  

  • This patent was found in July 2020 at a private estate sale in Bridgeport, by an anonymous antique dealer.

  • It was sold to a private owner near Parkersburg, West Virginia, where it currently remains until its anticipated final auction/resting place. 

20210118_215914.jpg

U.S. PATENT 1,164,718

Horace Hill's Final Patent Submission

​(Filed: September 19th 1912 - Cancelled: December 4th 1913)

(Re-application: November 23rd 1914 - Granted: December 21st 1915)

  • On September 19th, 1912, Horace Hill started his own process to gain a patent of his own.

  • At this time, Hill had already embezzled $1500 (that we know of) from M.F. Christensen and also swiped Canadian Patent 94,208 in order to write his own draft.

  • When presented with Patent 802,495, The appeal's court had this to say about Hill's patent when viewing Christensen's 802,495.

  •  In considering the Hill invention, we must consider the influence, if any, of the Christensen invention and use. The District Court rejected the evidence of use as insufficient to show anticipation. We are not able to accept that conclusion."(CCA)

  •  “In his original specification, Hill appropriated much that was in the Christensen specification, so that the words which describe the Christensen invention became, to a large extent, the words that describe the Hill invention." (CCA)

20210120_004411.jpg

U.S. PATENT 1,601,699

William J. Miller 's Marble Auger

(Filed: December 12th 1924 - Granted: September 28th 1926)

  • The Miller Semi-Auto marble auger was built for the Peltier Glass company by October 1924.

  • William Miller had been experimenting with marble machines as early as 1919, with the Nivison Weiskopf Co, in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Model RAA machine was put into production on February 19th, 1921, and produced 2,703,857 glass balls until Jan 1st, 1924. 

  • Overlooked by the appropriate authorities at the time, M.F. Christensen's U.S. patent 804,295 was not set to expire until 1922, rendering any sale or profit from the Nivison Weiskopf machine to be regarded as illegal, until after 1922. Miller likely should not have been granted the rights to his Model RAA. 

  • Even the 1929 Peltier v. Akro case noted that offsetting the rolls is not enough of a change to be distinguished as a completely separate machine, especially since Hill originally stole M.F. Christensen's auger concept.

  • Miller took this a step further and turned the auger into a functional machine by offsetting the position of one of the rolls.  

20210119_153245 (1).jpg

U.S. PATENT  1,761,623

J.F. Early's Improved Hill Machine Design

​(Filed: March 22nd 1926 - Granted: June 3rd 1930)

  • Perhaps gaining influence from the Miller concept, and M.F. Christensen's Canadian patent at Akro,  J.F. Early offset the rolls and this allowed him to improve the output of the Hill marble auger.


  • This concept essentially renders the auger for Akro to be extremely similar to Peltier's machine.​

  • This was the premise for the eventual lawsuit in 1929 that would set the stage for the U.S. Courts to declare that M.F. Christensen was the actual inventor of the marble auger machine. What the courts failed to realize that day, is exactly how Akro Agate was able to even get the plans from M.F. Christensen.

  • The court decided to look into Peltier's appeal case because of the overwhelming evidence of influence from M.F. Christensen's machine in Hill's machine.

  • Jessie Christensen also teamed up with Peltier in order to provide the Christensen testimonies and information. Charles & M.F. were both deceased by 1929. 

  • The court just claimed that Hill was dead and since Miller, Early, and others already have patents, that this marble machine idea was now considered to be public domain. 

  • This is the day known to many within the marble community as "The Breaking of the Patents" and now allowed anyone that could afford it, to build their own machines like M.F. Christensen's and Hill's outdated designs, including the auger.

  • It wasn't until after the 1929 case was settled, that Early was able to receive his patent. 

20210119_161708.jpg

U.S. PATENT 1,880,916

J.F. Early's "Automatic Gob Feeder"

​(Filed: May 25th 1928 - Granted: October 4th 1932)

  • This was J.F. Early's final patent that he would have while working for Akro Agate.

  • Early initially started this process in May 1928 and left Akro in 1930. The patent was not passed until October 1932, rendering the company to pass it on Early's behalf.

  • This patent was for an early model of a duplex machine that utilized a dual feeding system that doubled production.

  • It was during this time,(1928), that the Hartford Empire Company began providing a glass feeder system to Akro. The feeders were a clay body and plunger that regulated the flow of molten glass and the channels within the feeder could allow the different colored glass to be combined into a single marble. The different flows of glass were joined and cut with a pair of mechanical shears.

  • It was also at this time that Early invented the spinner cup that could be used to give Akro their trademark "corkscrew" marbles, that many collectors cherish today.