Chemnitz August 2004
I think I’ve seen this team before somewhere!!
I meet Mol at Stanstead Airport at about 1 pm and we booked in for the Ryan Air flight to Erfurt. It took off at 15.15 and took about 1.5 hours, but Erfurt has a one-hour time difference from us so that we arrived 17.50.
The next day we got up at 6.30 and had breakfast, we were joined by the Hildebrandt’s son Stephen who was to drive us to the Marble Championships at Chemnitz. It was a two-hour drive and we arrived just before 10.00. When we arrived, we were met by Rundolf Hildebrandt and many of the players who come over to Tinsley Green each year.
Mol and Andres dress the ring
There were two marble games going on the British Ring game and a German ‘hole’ game.
• The ring game was much like our own game with one or two slight amendments, The first was that players who were ‘killed’ could buy themselves back in by losing a marble from their score. The other was that when a player was in the ring and shooting they could only have four shot and then they removed their marble from the ring.
Start of a game
Petr shooting for the hole
• The German Hole game was played on a court 3 meters wide and 6 meters long with a large hole centre of the court two thirds of the way up. There were two teams of four players each of who played each of the four players on the other team. Each player had three marbles and these were thrown one at a time towards the hole, when both players had been, the player whose marble was furthest from the hole went first. The object was to be the player who gets the last marble in to the hole. The marbles were flicked with the index finger towards the hole; if it hit another marble the player could put both marbles into the hole and have another go. The players could use any of the six marbles when shooting.
Overall view of the hole game ‘court’
On Sunday 22nd we drove to Thuringia to visit Farb Glas Hutte in Lauscha, which was the first glass factory in this area to mass produce marbles. After spending some time looking round and watching the production of glass rods we drove to Eisfeld where we saw the last marble mill that had worked right up until the 1950s. There was a small exhibit with the hammers used for cutting the stone into small cubes, in the 1890s the worker had to produce 8000 per day for which he was paid 3DM.
There was also board with 100 holes in it; this was filled with the finished marbles that were then placed in a small sack. The sacks contained 1000 and was sown up ready for shipment, there was a photo of a sailing ship with a note saying that these small sacks were used as ballast in such ships and so these marbles went all over the world.