The Akro Agate Company was formed in 1910 in Akron, Ohio. It was moved to Clarksburg, West Virginia, in 1914, where it remained until its bankruptcy in 1951. The company originally repackaged marbles bought from the M. F. Christensen and Son Company. By the time the company had moved to Clarksburg, it was operating its own marble making machinery and producing marbles. Throughout most of the history of the company, Akro Agate was the largest manufacturer of marbles in the United States.
As with many of the other manufacturers of the time, Akro Agate produced a staggering number of single-color marbles. They produced both clearies ('Glassies'), which are transparent clear or transparent colored glass marbles, and opaques ('Opals'), which are opaque colored glass marbles. Opaque marbles of white opalescent glass were called Flint Moonies by the company and are referred to today as Moonies. Opaque marbles of colored opalescent glass are referred to collectively as Flinties. They were also marketed under the name 'Fire Opal.'
The other single-stream marble that Akro Agate produced was the Slag. Akro Agate produced a large quantity of slags. It would be a fair statement that there are more Akro Agate slags available than those of the three other slag manufacturers (M. F. Christensen, Christensen Agate and Peltier) combined. The most common color is amber, followed by purple, blue, green, red, aqua, clear, yellow and orange.
Akro also made a single-stream opaque-type of slag called the Cornelian. This marble is a combination of opaque red and white glass, and is very similar to a Brick ('American Cornelian'). The color is not as oxblood-red as a Brick though. Cornelians are rare.
Oxbloods are found in corkscrew, swirl or patch varieties. They are usually referred to by the name of the underlying marble that they are found on: Chocolate oxblood, clear oxblood, milky oxblood, silver oxblood, limeade oxblood, egg yolk oxblood, carnelian oxblood, blue oxblood, orange oxblood, lemonade oxblood, oxblood corkscrew, swirl oxblood, patch oxblood. The swirl and patch oxbloods are generally believed to be more recent than the others. Oxblood actually refers to a specific color that is found on the marble. This is a deep rust red with black filaments in it. The color is very similar to dried blood, hence the name. It is often confused with red colors of other manufacturers. However, those colors are almost always translucent to transparent and do not have black filaments. Oxblood must be opaque and it must have black filaments in it.
The most common and easily recognizable Akro Agate marble is the corkscrew. This is a variegated-stream marble whose design is unique to Akro Agate. Two or more streams of colored glass were allowed to enter through the marble-making machine’s shearing mechanism at the same time. Because the different colors were layered as they came out of the furnace and because the colors were of different densities, they created separate strata in the glass stream as it entered the shearing mechanism. Just before the shearing mechanism in the Akro machinery there was a small cup with a hole in the bottom. The glass stream entered the cup from the top and passed through the hole in the bottom into the shearing mechanism. If the cup was spinning, then a corkscrew was created. If the cup was not spinning, then a patch was created. The number of different colored spirals in the corkscrew, or the number of different color patches was determined by the number of nozzles that had glass flowing through them when the glass stream was created. Corkscrews are identifiable as being two or more spirals of color that rotate around the marble from one pole to the other, but do not intersect. Different color combinations and designs were marketed by Akro Agate under a variety of names. Generally, these are classified as two-color, three-color, four-color, snake, and ribbon.
Popeye corkscrews are a three-color or four-color corkscrews that contain a unique color spiral. This unique color is transparent clear with filaments of opaque white. The filaments can almost completely fill the transparent clear or they can be sparse.
The Ades (lemonade, limeade, orangeade, cherryade) are also a specialized type of corkscrew. These are a corkscrew that consists of a fluorescent milky off-white glass with filaments of opaque white and a spiral of a translucent color.
Another type of machine-made marble that has several variations which are uniquely Akro Agate are patches. A patch is a corkscrew that was not twisted. It is a variegated stream of glass consisting of two or more colors. There are several types of patches that Akro Agate marketed under various names, including Hero, Unique, Moss Agate, Royal and Helmet.
Another type of marble that is unique to Akro Agate is the Sparkler. This is a clear base marble with filaments and strands of various colors running inside the marble from pole to pole. It appears to be made using the same technique as some cat’s-eyes, in that various colors of glass are injected into a clear stream as it flows through the furnace.
Akro also produced a variety of swirl marbles. However, these are difficult to differentiate from the swirls of other companies.