Bruce Breslow banters with his audience as he casually waves a pair of colored glass rods through the 1400 degree flame of a propane heater until the glass begins to melt, then allows it to drool into a graphite mold. With a couple of deft spins of the rods, he creates a swirl effect, then works his magical art and the molten glass is suddenly an orb. Bruce next uses a clear glass rod to pick up the miniature glass ball, and passes it back under the flame to “polish” it. The next step is to place the object into a drying kiln, where it will slowly harden. The process is laborious and time intensive, but the result is a beautiful handcrafted marble that any collector would love to own.
For years Bruce Breslow made and sold wooden toys and game boards, such as Chinese checkers, but he always had difficulty finding the variety of marbles such as Bumble-Bees, Cub Scouts, and Puries that he needed for his products. Breslow researched marble wholesalers, and in 1997 opened the Moon Marble Company, stocking machine made marbles. Breslow jokes that he only wanted to order a few marbles to stock his games, but made the mistake of telling a wholesaler to “send me some of everything you have. A week later a semi-truck backed up to the door and it was filled, and all of a sudden we were in the marble business!”
Of course, a hands-on guy like Breslow would never be content with just mass produced marbles, so when his wife Sharron gave him a hot head torch as a gift that same year, he began teaching himself to hand-craft marbles. Once he had the basics down, he furthered his education by studying the work of such renown glass artisans as Jerry Park, Mike Edmondson, Bruce Troeh and Drew Fritts. He attended the Pittsburgh Glass Center in 2001, where he studied with Mark Matthews. Today Breslow is a recognized artist in his own right, and his work has been featured in many magazines and newspapers, and his work is on display at several museums.
Today the Moon Marble Company is a busy place, with several artists at work producing fine crafted marbles, children on school fields trips fling into watch the marble making process, and customers arriving from far and wide to see demonstrations on marble making, to shop the stores shelves filled with hard to find toys and games, and even to attend classes at the company’s School of Glass.
Kids of all ages love the Moon Marble Company, where displays include common marbles in a multitude of colors and designs in sizes from pee-wees to 50mm for playground games, collector quality hand-crafted marbles, hard to find toys from their childhood, and delightful reminders of a simpler time.
Shoppers are sure to find something special for everyone on their list in the store’s selection of special and unusual items. You won’t find the latest X-Box here, but if you want to learn how to play a variety of marble games, or need to perfect your “knuckling down” technique, the Moon Marble Company is the place to be. Spend a couple of hours here discovering your inner child and you’ll come away feeling decades younger.
The Moon Marble Company is located at 600 E. Front Street in Bonner Springs, Kansas, a few miles west of Kansas City. Hours are Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, including the schedule for marble making demonstrations, call (913) 441-1432