The Last Snow-Globe Repairmen

•May 17, 2008 • 42 Comments

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.

A Wonderland and the History Behind It

•May 15, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I think what has captivated me the most, is the magical world that movies portray that intrigues the childlike imagination. It allows me to dream of a different place that is beautiful and beyond corruption. I never knew of the history of the snow globe until I looked it up and found what is listed below.

The wonderment of creativity, which seems to defy logic in the fact that it (the image, the liquid, the ‘snow’, etc.) can coexist together… When I would gaze at my collection, I would be in amazement of how it could be created without causing a massive mess. It is like an advanced puzzle that only a genius could figure out, yet, only the wild and vivid imagination could admire.

To see the full background ofsnow globes, please check out Wikipedia info: click here Below is what Wikipedia has to say about the History:

Precisely when the first snow globe, also called a waterglobe or snowdome, was made remains unclear, but they appear to date from France during the early 1800s. They may have appeared as a successor to the glass paperweight, which became popular a few years earlier. Snow globes appeared at the Paris Universal Expo in 1878, and by 1879, at least five companies were producing snow globes and selling them throughout Europe.

A girl shaking a snow globe.

A girl shaking a snow globe.

 In 1889, a snow globe containing a model of the newly built Eiffel Tower was produced to commemorate the International Exposition in Paris, which marked the centenary of the French Revolution. This globe quickly became a favourite souvenir for attendees.

Snow globes became popular in England during the Victorian era and, in the early 1920s, crossed the Atlantic to the United States of America where they became a popular collectors item. Many of these globes were produced by Atlas Crystal Works, which had factories in Germany and America.

In the United States, the first snow globe-related patent was granted in 1927 to Joseph Garaja of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1929, Garaja convinced Novelty Pool Ornaments to manufacture a fish version underwater.

In America, during the 1940s, snow globes were often used for advertising. In Europe, during the 1940s and 1950s, religious snow globes were common gifts for Catholic children. Snow globes have appeared in a number of film scenes, the most famous of which is the opening of the 1941 classic Citizen Kane.

In the 1950s the globes, which were previously of glass construction, became available in plastic. Currently, there are many different types of snow globes available. These globes are produced by a number of countries and range from the mass produced versions of Hong Kong and China to the finely crafted types still produced in West Germany. Snow globes feature diverse scenes, ranging from the typical holiday souvenirs to more eclectic collectibles featuring Christmas scenes, Disney characters, popular icons, animals, military figures, historical scenes, etc. Snow globes have even been used for election campaigns.

So, there you have it… the History of my fascination!

My Snowglobe Reality

•May 15, 2008 • Leave a Comment

This site is dedicated to my love and collection of snowglobes. I have obtained the above picture here. I will be posting pictures of the snowglobes that I have and others that I have seen. I hope that you will share your pictures of snowglobes with me here as well.

I began collecting snowglobes when I got married. I found a musical carousel horse one day and thought I might collect those, but I just couldn’t get into that… then I found a snowglobe and that was that. I began to see snowglobes that were so unique and detailed that I just wanted to stare at them.

My husband began giving them to me as gifts, then we began looking for them at garage sales (because they can get very expensive). I have found some really great deals at garage sales and thrift stores. I have gotten some real finds for just a $1.00 – you can’t beat that unless it is free.

Anyway, I hope that you will enjoy my snowglobes as much as I do. Thank you for coming by and please let me know what you think with each picture.

If you would like to find out more about me, you can go to my Truthoughts Today blog. If you would like to see my more serious posts, you can visit my Truthoughts Introspection and Beyond blog. I look forward to seeing you there.