The Last Snow-Globe Repairmen

I found the following article, which I am including with excerpts below. I was not aware that it was so difficult to find someone to repair your snow globe. I wanted to post this article incase others who love collecting snow globes, came by and also were not aware of this man.  

I have one snow globe, a small one that my mother-in-law gave us, that had the glass part broken by one of our cats. This is why, now, I keep them in my office at home with the door shut. I suppose to a cat, it is like watching fish swim in a fish tank… just too irresistable not to touch.

I am still trying to work on getting my pictures to upload from my camera… my computer just doesn’t seem to want to see that there are pictures there to be uploaded. Once I do, then I will share my snow globes with you. So, for now, please enjoy this article and check back again to see my collection. 

The Last Snow-Globe Repairmen

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Small piles of debris sit in a neat row on the counter. Once-tidy scenes under glass just a shake away from a magical blizzard are now no more than rubble. In one pile, a miniature pink fairy lay like a fallen soldier in the snow atop a black base; in another, tiny pieces of broken birds and snowmen. Some bases are disemboweled, their musical movements yanked out and set to the side…

…He reaches behind him into a recently arrived box from Oregon and pulls out a letter. “You know, every one comes with a letter,” says Heibel, 74. “I get the most wonderful letters.”

Each tells a story:

“My father was a pilot in the war…”

“My sister gave this to me…”

“It’s part of my dead son’s collection…”

“My mother’s wedding present 50 years ago…”

Many are confessionals about how the snow globes ended up here.

“Most of the time they’re dropped,” Heibel says.

He grabs a shattered hummingbird.

“I can’t remember what happened here, but I’m supposed to replace the broken bird with something similar,” he says. With twinkling eyes and a mischievous grin, he holds up a perfect duplicate.

“I had it…”

…”For years, I bought the leftovers of the San Francisco Music Box Company,” he explains. The company, which has since filed bankruptcy, had offered customers a lifetime warranty on their snow globes and music boxes. When they broke or stopped working, customers could return them for new ones. “I got all the returns,” Heibel says. The collection supplies the figures, scenery and movements to fix the pieces. He uses water that is specially treated and sanitized so it doesn’t turn green…

…Heibel is one of the last snow-globe repairmen in the country. His busy time runs through January because snow globes received as presents get broken, sometimes by visiting grandchildren.

“Snow globes aren’t toys, but it’s nearly impossible not to touch them,” he says.

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~ by truthoughts on May 17, 2008.

42 Responses to “The Last Snow-Globe Repairmen”

  1. How can I contact him? My roommates snowglobe got broken and it was a very sentimental and irreplaceable gift. Please, if you know anyone in or around San Francisco that can replace the globe, can you please let me know? The rest is fine, it’s just the globe that shattered… Thank you!!

  2. Natalie,

    I am sorry to hear about your roomate’s snowglobe. I found an article that gives some information regarding contacting Dick Heibel with Heibel Craftworks (the man in the article).

    Typically, the cost is $15 to $36.

    Ship or deliver your broken snow globe to:

    Heibel Craftworks
    953 Summerfield Dr.
    Northfield, MN 55057

    For more information call Dick Heibel at 1-507-645-4571.

    Though he is in MN, he receives snowglobes from around the world. If nothing else, maybe you can give him a call and see if he knows of someone around your area. Good luck with your search and I hope that it works out for you. Let me know how it goes. Thank you for your comment and I hope that this information helps.

    Sincerely,
    Alison (Truthoughts)

  3. Is there anyone in New England who does this?

  4. Alice,

    Thank you for your comment. I am sorry to say that I have not heard of anyone repairing snowglobes in New England. I am not sure of what the shipping costs would be to send it to Dick Heibel in MN, but apparently he has quite the reputable company. If you can swing it for the shipping, I would definitely send it his way. Give him a call, maybe he knows of someone near you. Let me know if you do find someone in New England and I will post their info here so others can utilize that. Thank you again Alice for your comment and good luck on your search.

    Sincerely,
    Alison (Truthoughts)

  5. Thanks for posting this article. I have a Vintage Christmas Snowglobe, thats rather large, and I loove, and I have been trying to find someone who can replace the water inside, as its starting to get cloudy. I live in Illinois, and not surprisingly, I havent been able to find anyone in this state that can do this! I might have to send it to Mr. Heibel if I can’t find anyone local. I’m just leery about having to mail it to someone. But I don’t know what other option I have…..

    Camille

  6. Camille,

    Thank you for your comment. I completely understand your hesitation on mailing it. If it comes to that, just try to look at it as though you are ordering one online and they are just shipping it to you. I do hope that you can find someone in your area, but if not, I hope you have peace about shipping it. Just know that Mr. Heibel has been doing this for years and he seems to have a lot of happy customers. Make sure to ship it through a company that you feel more comfortable with… no offense to the PO, but I would probably trust in this case a FexEx or UPS, etc. Take a picture of it before you send it and it wouldn’t hurt to get insurance on it. Please let me know how it turns out. I wish the best!

    Alison

  7. I live in Milwaukee, WI. Anyone know of someone closer? If not, thanks, i’ll send to this fine gentleman.

  8. Alison,

    Good news to share!!!! I took your advice and sent my snowglobe to Mr. Heibel, and I got it back a few days ago, and he did a fantastic job! I was so nervous about sending it away to someone, but I had no other choice. I got it back within 2-3 weeks or so, and it looks better than I hoped it would. For anyone who needs to get a snowglobe repaired in someway, I totally recommend him. My snowglobe was in perfect working condition, but the water had begun to turn cloudy. Now the inside is crystal clear, and it has new fresh snow inside, and lots of it. It looks beautiful. Thanks sooooo much for posting this article!!

    Camille

  9. Camille,

    I am soooooooooooo happy that you are so very pleased with the results =D Thank you very much for posting your result here so that people will know not to worry. I really appreciate it and I am sure those who read your comment will be greatful too. May you have many years of pure enjoyment with your beautifully restored snowglobe =D

    Alison

  10. Allison,
    You sound like such a sweet person and very genuine. In all of the chaos in the US and in the world right now, it is very refreshing to hear and see websites like this and someone who sounds and seems very sweet. My daughter loves snow globes, and I am trying to start her a nice collection. Thanks for the info–and a breath of fresh air!
    Kristy

  11. Kristy,

    Wow! Thank you so very much for your extremely kind words =D I cannot tell you how much that means to me. You have truly encouraged me and I am really grateful!

    I hope that your daughter enjoys the collection you will have for her. There is just something surreal about snowglobes. When life gets crazy as it does for everyone, looking into a snowglobe triggers the imagination of the “ideal world” and brings the “kid” out of us.

    Thank you again for your wonderful comment Kristy. Please let me know how your daughter likes her snowglobes =D I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Alison

  12. Alison

    I had heard there was someone out there that repaired snow globes. My son’s globe has been broken since he was a little boy, but he kept it just the same. I can’t wait to fix it for him for he is now in college and still loves the snow globe and what it means to him. Thanks for your blog. PS I love your pictures of your kitties!!

    • Pam,

      Thank you for your kind words. I hope everything works out with your son’s snowglobe. What does it look like? I am sure your son will be touched beyond words :-)

      Sincerely,
      Alison

  13. Hello, I was looking to see if I can replace the glass on my snow globe. i am not worrying about the snow just the glass. My china cabinet glass shelves crashed and a few balls got broken only the glass not the item. I got one from greece and the other 2 from Italy. I went on the web to find the same snow globe by they did not have it.

    Thanks!
    Karen Frazier

  14. Hi i live in billings, mt and was wondering if anyone knew of someone closer to us to fix our daughter snow globe?

    • Gloria,

      I am sorry it took so long to approve this comment. I wish I knew of someone there… not sure if you have already had the snow globe repaired or not by now. If not, hopefully someone who may read this can offer someone up. What type of snow globe is it? Does it play music, move around, how many globes on it, etc? This information may be of help if someone has a person in mind. Thank you for your comment Gloria.

      Alison

  15. Heibel Craftworks address has changed to 1244 Woodley St. East , Northfield ,MN 55057 His phone is still the same 507 645-4571.

  16. Just wanted to let you and your subscribers know of a great “Music Box Repair” service: http://www.giftsonline.net repair snow globes and water globes and all types of music boxes. Replace broken globes, change dirty water, secure figurines etc and install new music box movements to music boxes, that no longer play! They offer a very fast turnaround service within 48 hours and are recommended by the San Francisco Music Box Company.

  17. Does he have a email address?

  18. Alison
    Thank you so much for this wonderful information!
    I have been collecting snow globes since I was a VERY little girl,
    My grandmother would send me one every year for christmas until I was about 18 and then I started collecting them myself so I have quite a few and some are very old. I am so glad to now have a place to send mine for repair after so many years the water has become very cloudy/brown. I am adding your page to my favorites and will update you as soon as I send one in for repair! again thanx for the info.
    ( To anyone things of starting a collection for a family member DO IT, My grandmothers packages were the highlight of my christmases )

    • Rachael,

      So sorry I missed this comment. I am glad you will be able to make your classic globes like new again =) Please do let me know when you do and how it comes out. They are like a vast universe of little wonderlands, ready to enjoy any moment you desire =)

      Looking forward to your future comment =)
      ~Alison

  19. On 12/1/11 we had a house fire but the snow globes did make it until (of my kids) water globes where broken when packages where being moved. These are very important I am a widow and their dad bought some of the globes. Please email me!!!!!

    • Oh Denice, I am so sorry to hear that. I wish I could help. The only one I know about that could fix it would be the one referenced here. His contact info is in the comments. Please let me know if you are able to get it repaired. I know how traumatic it is to experience a house fire, my mom’s house burned down a couple years ago. I am glad the globes made it out and that you are safe.

  20. I’m wondering about the expense involved in fixing a snow globe. I have a snow globe that the water has turned yellow and i’d love to find someone to fix it.

    • I wish I could better inform you. I have not heard about pricing. I have contact info here in the comments section for the repairman referenced in this post. If you contact him, please let me know what you find out. Hoping all goes well =)

  21. Alison, Thank you so much for this web-page. A very special snow globe that belonged to my mom (who passed away in April) was just broken and I had no idea you could get them repaired. I will definately be contacting Mr. Heibel about repairing it. I will also let you know how it turns out so that others can “see” and I’ll let you know what the cost was for this particular snow globe. I’m glad I read through the above comments because I’m in IL and was wondering if there is a local repair place. I noticed another IL person and they had to send it so that answered my question on if there’s a repair place here in IL:) Again thank you, Becky

  22. I live in Australia and my precious darling daughter has a snow globe which unfortunately someone broke. She is devastated as she always always looks after her things. The glass is broken. Can Mr Heibel be contacted via email? What costs would I be looking at? Your help would be much appreciated

  23. Hi, I am a maker of snow globes and I am aware of Mr. Heibel and his good work. For additional snow globe repairs, I use someone in Colorado, which is closer for those in the midwest and west coast. And at least you have another option. Try “snow globe central” in Denver, Colorado. You can find this repair business easily on a search.
    I don’t think it’s cheap to repair snow globes because of the handwork, but if it’s particularly sentimental, you may want to fix it anyway. Good luck!

  24. Hello!
    My name is Marta, and I am from Portugal. I collect snowglobes from some years now – they are mostly gifts from my mother, who loves to travel and brings to me globes from every corner of the world.
    Last year, I had one of these globes broken, and I’ve tried to find someone to repair it to me, with no success. Today, I accidentally broke another, and I felt very sad, because I love my collection, and always keep in mind the effort my mum must have put on searching from some of these – some countries do not easily have these available. Coincidentally or not, both of my broken globes came from Greece. Only the glass is broken, the rest is intact.
    I am therefore, asking for help in this matter. I would like to know if there is someone from my area willing to repair it for me, or what sort of store would sell the materials to repair it – my boyfriend thinks he can actually repair it, and we have already come across some handful instructions on how to do so. But we have no clue about where to get the globe part, and which sort of glitters should we use for it.
    Thank you so much for your help.

  25. I would like a quote to have a snow globe repaired. How do I contact you?

  26. I realize these posts are a little outdated. Does this man still work on snowglobes? I live in Milwaukee, WI, but I’m driving up near northfield in July. I was wondering if I would be able to stop by with my grandma’s cloudy Disney snowglobe while I’ll be in town. Please help. I see how highly recommended this man is. Thanks.

    Amanda

  27. Amanda, I do not know Mr. Heibel’s status.
    However, I know one repair place that is definitely in business. It is called Snow Globe Central in Denver Colorado. Broken globes can be shipped there for repair (call or write first to be sure they can do what you need).

    Here is the website for more info:
    http://www.snowglobecentral.com/snow-globe-repair/

  28. Please keep in mind that Mr. Heibel was born in 1929, so he is in his 80s now. If you search “snow globe repair” there are maybe 3-4 other people in the U.S. who can assist if Mr. Heibel is not able to fix your snow globe.

    I mentioned another company (who I know well and use often) in an earlier post, but didn’t want to sound like I was drumming up business for them. You can contact me through my website (I make fine art snow globes) if you want to know more. http://www.camrynforrest.com

  29. I would love the contact information for the gentleman in this article, Mr. Heibel I believe. I have a snow globe that is very precious to me that needs to be fixed.

  30. Does anyone know of a snow dome repairer in Queensland Australia?
    Thanks Donna

  31. I have been trying to find replacement globe for my daughters snow dome all morning. It would seem that the only place I can purchase replacement domes from is the US and they want $58 just in postage + $20 something for a kit.
    I am more than capable of undertaking the repair but cant get the parts.
    Just need a replacement globe, but not paying over $70 to fix one myself that was probably worth half of that when new.

    • Ewen – it would probably help if you said where you are generally. All I understand from the post is that you are not in the U.S. The four repair places I know of are all in the United States, but perhaps others who read this blog can assist.

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