Marbles at The Toy Boat Posted on 6 Jul 21:30

A brief history of Marbles

A wall of Marbles at the Toy Boat

Did you know that marbles have been found in the tombs of the Pharaohs? And that there are references to marbles in Greek and Roman literature? Or that a 15th century manuscript refers to “the little yellow balls with which school boys play, and which were very cheap?”

Marbles have existed in nearly every culture the world over. It shouldn't be surprising, then, that they still hold great appeal to children—their shape, colors, patterns, and textures remain appealing to all ages!

Marbles in America

In the 1930's, America was marble crazy! Every child's pocket had a few marbles in it. School yards and alleyways were full of children knuckle-down in the dirt, and marble contests were all the rage. Marbles were worth their weight in gold to their young owners. All of this popularity held strong until the 1950's, when America's marble madness began to wane.

How Things Changed

Many aspects of America's cultural and physical landscape began to change in the 1950's. Community landscaping began to shift from dirt surfaces to cement or blacktop, including schoolyards and driveways. Alleys became a thing of the past, and suddenly there just wasn't anywhere to play.

Likewise, television lessened the interest in “old fashioned toys.” This, combined with an increase in commercially-produced toys, led to a decrease in interest for marbles. To cut a long story short, as television and commercialism took more control of our lives, marbles fell by the wayside.

The playing of marble games has become almost non-existent. However, marbles have not! They're just the type of timeless toy we here at The Toy Boat believe all children should experience. Games are played, and games are invented for them. We've seen them become jewels and money in fantasy play, and take part in math and science exploration. Their size encourages the development of fine motor skills, and they open dialog between people and offer endless creative possibilities.

Marbles at The Toy Boat


A little boy holding a bag of marbles
At The Toy Boat, we share the world's fascination with marbles. That's why you'll find an amazing variety of marbles here! We've got marbles from all over the world— marbles so small they can barely be picked up, marbles so large that we're often asked if they're really marbles at all, and everything in between! We have hand-made marbles (each one a unique work of art) and antique marbles to remind us of our history. Stop by the store, and we'll teach you the names of hundreds of marbles—we hope you'll find them as delightful as we do!

There are very few things you can give a six year old that a 60 year old will still love. Here at The Toy Boat, we believe that marbles are one of those things. If you agree, take a look—we've got an excellent Art Marble section.

The endless variety of sizes and designs that marbles take will never let them be forgotten.

Well, not if we can help it.

Happy Holidays! Posted on 1 Dec 00:00

Our web site for a magical Holiday shopping experience.  We have hundreds of Handmade toys.  Each made with love and attention to detail.  OR email or call us and we can make you a CUSTOM gift basket, with your special friend in mind.    It has become a tradition at The Toy Boat.  Here are some things you can make for your celebrations.


Hanukkah at the Toy Boat Posted on 6 Nov 00:00

At The Toy Boat we like to celebrate holidays from around the world.   Hanukkah is right around the corner.  Have you seen our Hanukkah Fairies?  They are great fun!  Look under our “Enchanted” section for this and other magical toys.

We also have included some great crafts you can print out and try at home!


We Love Nantucket's Bats! Posted on 1 Oct 00:00

At The Toy Boat we are Batty over all sorts of animals, but bats are something special. They are responsible for all kinds of wonderful things and leave people alone.  In recent years bats have been on a massive decline due to a fungus in their habitats.  That is a bad thing as bats are environmentally important. They consume massive numbers of insect, reducing the need for pesticides.  Visit our website  to see our glass bats.  Part of the proceeds goes toward erecting  bat houses.  Click  here for a fun Bat activity page for a little Halloween fun!


What are those Bright Little Boats?: The Nantucket Rainbow Fleet Posted on 1 Sep 20:15

The Rainbow Fleet was first introduced in 1927.  At The Toy Boat we introduced our play version of these historic little boats in 1993.  Visit our Web site  and search under HARBOR SERIES to see 42 different colors of these charming toy boats.        Here are directions to make another version.


Celebrate National Coast Gaurd Day with the MONOMY Posted on 14 Aug 12:44

 August Fourth  was national Coast Guard Day, and there is no better  way to celebrate than  with the  MONOMY. While our handmade model version floats safely in our store or in the rough seas of your imagination, the real Nantucket  Monomoy’s missions have included search and rescue,  marine mammal protection and pollution response, homeland security, and presidential security, and other details.

 She has received  award for rescuing a  downed crew , for the ship's assistance in wreckage recovery after the TWA Flight 800 disaster. Monomoy participated in Operation Able Manner, which resulted in the rescue of 71 migrants in the Caribbean.  She is still in operation today. Check her out in our Harbor Series  page.