- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

FINDLAY, Ill. (AP) - A marble is a small spherical toy usually made of colored glass, once prized by boys, now prized by collectors and those steeped in nostalgia.

During the Great Depression, boys played a game in a dirt circle shooting marbles with the objective of knocking out the opponents’ marbles and thus adding to his collection. Every boy had a sack of marbles.

Wayne Cruitt, 87, of rural Findlay never stopped collecting.

“I’ve always liked marbles,” he explains while showing visitors through his barn.

“This is no ordinary barn,” he said. “Dennis Pastor of Pana told me he had never seen so many marbles, no two alike. In fact, I influenced him to become a collector 20 years ago, and his entire family, two sons and wife, Vicki, has participated.

“My father built the barn in 1950. It has a full basement. My marbles fill up a grain bin.”

How many marbles?

Jim Bowling, Herald & Review chief photographer, guessed anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million.

“A guy in Ottawa at the Peltier Glass Co. taught me about marbles, the rainbow colors. The various kinds. I’d drive up there and bring back a truck load of marbles,” Curitt said. I bought rare root beer float marbles there, I still have two of them. They also made comic strip character marbles.

“The factory is no longer in business. As far as I know, there are two marbles factories remaining, one in Ohio, the other in West Virginia.”

“People call me the Marbles King. Well, everybody needs a hobby,” Cruitt added.

Pastor describes marbles collecting as clean fun with no maintenance.

Cruitt is a retired farmer who enlisted in the Navy while in high school during World War II. He is also a retired lieutenant colonel in the Illinois State Militia.

In addition to marbles, Cruitt was fascinated with cannons. He purchased two, a Civil War model and a Revolutionary War model, and would fire them in parades and celebrations. In 1992 he fired the cannons in the Findlay Centennial celebration.

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Source: (Decatur) Herald and Review, https://bit.ly/1BYYDCN

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Information from: Herald & Review, https://www.herald-review.com


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