Home Glass Jabo Machine Made Marbles Jabo Joker Salute Run 8/7/2011

Jabo Joker Salute Run 8/7/2011

On Sunday at 4am until 4pm on August 7th, 2011, I was able to document the private investor run at the Jabo machine marble making company in Reno Ohio.  I hope you enjoy the ride as I show and tell you all about the run with words and pictures.

Meet Dave - one of the owners of Jabo.

dave mccullough

Here is a marble making machine (this machine is separate from the rollers) where the glass gets heated to an extreme temperature before the glass is allowed to stream down the spout to get cut and rolled into a marble.

different oven machine

Here is a picture of the actual machine used in the run, all set-up before the partners got to Jabo.

different machine front

The rollers are not in place at this point and I wanted to show you what the oven, called a day tank or the furnace, looked like on another marble making machine.

back of oven long view 1

Here is the back of the oven with the hot melted glass floating on the bottom of the oven.  You can see the pipes where the colored glass rods will be dropped into on the right side of the picture.  These pipes are called cruciables.

inside oven 1    back of oven close 1

Here are two pictures of close-ups of the molten glass inside the oven.

outside flameback of different oven long view 1

Here is a picture to show you how hot the oven gets.  This stream of radiant heat on the top is about 6 feet long!  The picture on the bottom was another marble making machine that will make industrial marbles like the ones used inside spray paint cans.

colors  frit

This shows you what colored rod the group had to choose from.  The rods are about 2 inches in diameter and about 15 inches long.  In the white buckets are shards of broken glass.

handling glass 1colors unpacking 1

Here are some of the partners of the run unwrapping glass rods before the run.

shoveling frit 1shoveling frit 2

Meet Ronnie.  He is shoveling into the oven's hole on the back side base glass that the colors inside the oven will mix with.

Ronnie stands on the left side of the rollers as they turn rolling out the glass to make it round.


Meet Richard.  He stands on thr right side of the rollers as they do their business.


Ronnie and Richard are the backbone of the operation but they are too kind to admit it in my opinion.  Dave makes sure the machine and oven are doing their jobs by watching the beginning flow's speed and volume coming out of the bottom of the oven.  He is a master on knowing the oven's temperature and the time the glass needs to be added or not to the run.  Ronnie and Richard are the experts in keeping the machine on track and watch for any problems in the working of the machine.  I was so impressed at the teamwork, speed and quality of these individuals let alone the knowledge they have about the entire operation of making marbles.

rick talking

Here is Rick the person in charge of the private investor run.  He is talking to the other members explaining what is to be done before the run started.

glass blob on rollerbad stream 1

At the beginning, there was too much melted glass in the oven causing big clumps of glass to flow out of the bottom of the oven, called the orfice plate, as you see in this picture.  Quick as a flash, Richard jumped to the flow and adjusted it to an acceptible level.

richard adjusting flow

As seen in the picture below, this was an acceptible flow coming out of the bottom of the oven.

bad stream 2

Once the problems were corrected, all went well. 

All the machine does is make the glass round on the rollers.

The next picture shows how colored rods are added to the oven while it is so hot.  One way is to have one person stand at the bottom and hand color rods up to another person before thay add them into orifice on the top of the oven.

handing fritadding frit 1

Sometimes one doesn't need help as shown below to add glass to the top of the oven.

adding frit 2

Here is a picture of the orifices on the top of the oven.

orfices 1

Another way is to open a metal panel on the front of the oven.  Putting colors in the front opening where the metal door is located does not affect the patterns on the marbles much.  It just adds color to the glass stream faster, more direct, more numbers of color and less blending together of colors.  Placing glass in these ways makes different pattern on the marbles sometimes but most of the pattern is formed by the flow through the tank and the length of the stream to the sheras (cutters).

adding color front 1

Here is Ronnie adding glass to the front of the oven.

Once the flow and glass are determined, notes are being taken to check when the glass was added until the resulting desired color actually was shown in the marbles.  Even though the oven is very hot, it taked time for the shards or rods to melt and blend into the existing glass in the oven.

taking notes

The pictures below show the stream, cutters, and rollers doing their jobs in the marble making process of the machine.

stream 3stream 2

stream 4stream 1

rollers 1rollers 2


The last picture is of the cutter.

The molten glass comes out of the bottom of the oven in a stream of glass, is cut by a cutter so the glass falls into a funnel on two sides, then drops onto the two sides of tapered rollers.  As the little glass blobs roll down the rollers, they begin to shape into little spheres of glass and are forced to cool and become round marbles.

You have to always keep a close eye on the machine as shown below.

working the machine

People have to watch all the parts where the marbles fall off the rollers and travel down the marble ramps toward the end of the ramp.  They are checking for consistent rolling and will remove any marbles from the trays that are not round.

checking tray 1checking machine 2checking tray 2

Here are pictures of a few marbles rolling down the marble trays.  Notice the angled pieces of metal making the marbles roll easier.

mibs in tray 1mibs in tray 2

The following pictures show you the importance of everyone keeping an eye on the progress the marbles are doing when the get to the end of the trays.  People continually have to watch for any problems that may occur and correct them as soon as possible for a successful run.  First I'll show you the end of the trays and people paying attention, checking the marbles.

checking mibs 1checking end 1checking mibs 4checkinf mibs 2 checking mibs 3checking mibs 6

There is time to play.  Here Ronnie is holding a glass top he makes while marbles are traveling down the rollers.  I can tell you from experience, these tops are totally cool to play with!  Of course, you have to wait until they cool before you can touch them.

ronnie top

It was about 5:30am when we had two little visitors to inspect the run.


Now back to the action.  Here are pictures of how many people are needed to keep everything going without any problems.  It is a big deal to make marbles and all these people you see are involved in different areas of marble making and safety.

gang working 2gang working 1

It is a hot place to be when the oven is going for 12 hours and fans are placed to try to keep people from being overheated.

rick hot

You have to also remember to keep an eye on the back of the oven for safety's sake too.

rick ladder

Let's take a look at marbles at the end of the tray's ramp just before being raked into a metal bucket.

mibs in tray 3mibs in tray 5mibs in tray 4mibs at end of tray 1

Here are the marbles being put into the metal bucket and marbles in the metal container that sits below the end of the marble ramp.

mibs in tray  bucketmibs in big tub 1

Once this metal container if filled, it is poured into a larger metal container to start the group cooling process.

pouring mibs into tub

People have to check to see the process of cooling is going properly.  A fire blanket is used to allow the cooling process to go slowly and you have to peel a portioin back to see what is going on inside the big tub of hot marbles.

checking mibs 5

Here are pictures of the big tubs of marbles.

mibs in big tub 2

Here are close-ups of some of the beautiful marbles still in the big tubs.  The marble swirl pattern comes from the flow being pulled through the tank and the flow to the shear.  The stream from the tank is twisting as it falls to the shear.  The longer this distance the more the twist and thinner lines one obtains.  There are limits too due to the temperature drop.  If you shorten the stream length you get the "C" pattern or more of the old classic Jabo Jabo butt crack fold.

mibs close 1mibs close 2          mibs close 3

The marbles that do not meet the standards are placed into a small metal bucket.  These might have cold rolls, incomplete formation, out of round or other problem and do not meet the high standard of the Jabo Company.

bad mibs in tub

I hope you have enjoyed the journey of a machine made marble and have had as much fun as I had.