Akro Agate Company

From Ohio History Central
Akro Agate Trademark.jpg
The Akro Agate Trademark, Registered in 1911.

During the first decade of the 1900s, Akron, Ohio, residents Gilbert Marsh and George T. Rankin began to manufacture glass marbles on the second story of Marsh's shoe store. The men created their own machinery to manufacture the marbles, and demand grew quickly. In 1911, Marsh and Rankin registered the trademark Akro Agate and began to manufacture marbles under this name. To help increase production, the two men formed a partnership with Horace C. Hill, a former employee of the Navarre Glass Marble Company.

The company's market grew quickly, and in 1914, Marsh, Rankin, and Hill relocated the Akro Agate Company to Clarksburg, West Virginia. The three partners chose Clarksburg because of abundant supplies of sand and natural gas -- two important ingredients for glass-marble production.

By the 1920s, the Akro Agate Company had become the largest glass-marble manufacturer in the entire world. During the 1930s, with the company facing competition from other marble producers, the Akro Agate Company began to manufacture ashtrays and small glass containers. By the late 1930s, the firm also began to produce flowerpots and children's dishes, although the company continued to manufacture marbles.

Following World War II, the Akro Agate Company began to suffer financially. The widespread use of plastic dramatically reduced the company's market and its profits. Akro Agate ceased production in 1949, although the company continued to sell surplus stock until 1951.

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