Volume 6 Issue 1
The snowdomes and/or waterglobes originated in France during the late 1880's. It is believed that the idea was derived from glass paperweights. It was to commemorate the 1889 Paris Exhibition.
The dome was glass with a ceramic base featuring a tiny model of the Eiffel Tower with "snow" that swirled when shaken.
Snow globes were very popular with the Victorians of England. They were used as paperweights, souvenirs and toys. The scenes included religous themes, tourist sites, children and animals. The
"snow" was created with the use of ground porcelain, bone, or rice. The figurines were made from wax, porcelain, carved bone, metal, or stone. The bases were made from marble, wood, glass, and
metal in various shapes and sizes.
They were also produced in Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, and later in the United States.
Several German companies exported snowdomes to North America during the 1920's. Their cobalt blue bases were etched with the name of the town or tourist attraction. Plastic was used by three
German companies in the 1950's to create square or domes snowdomes. Two of those companies, Koziol and Walter & Prediger are still in production today.
The Italian snowdomes from the 1940's are quite different and distinctive from other snowdomes. The bases are scalloped with seashells and pebbles. It has a glass dome with a rubberized panel
depicting the name of the tourist attraction or Saint's name written inside a shell on the base.
The first American patent was granted in 1927 for a design of a fish floating on a string among seaweed to Joseph Garaja of Pittsburg. The Novelty Pond Company of Pittsburg was the original producer
of that snowdome. The Atlas Crystal Works was another American firm which was founded in the 1940's. It created hundreds of designs. The Driss Company of Chicago in the 1950's and the
Progressive Products of Union, New Jersey during the 1940's and 1950's were two other American companies that produced a variety of snowdomes.
During the 1970's there were two styles produced; both were plastic. The first was a large dome with a plastic figure of an animal, mermaid, or some character draped over the top. The other snowdome
style was the dome made in an unusual shape. There are many types of snow domes/water globes. They can be found for advertising, depicting a cartoon character, figurals, for special occasions or
holidays, as a souvenir for a place or attraction, games, religious themes, sports clubs, and many more too numerous to list.
Some of today's snowdomes/waterglobes have built-in music boxes. There are also those that have an entertainment feature such as a game. There are no American companies producing snowdomes today.
There are many gift companies that design and import them. Enesco Corp. is one of the largest.
Values can range from $5.00 to over $100.00 depending on rarity, condition, and type.
To view some examples of several different types of Snow/Water Globes:
Let It Snow!-Barbara Nicholson Bell
What Are Water Globes
Warman's Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide - 8th Edition
Garage Sale & Flea Market Annual-3rd Edition
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