A snow globe is a transparent ball traditionally made of glass enclosing a miniature scene of a town, landscape, or figure. The sphere contained water and served as the medium in which the snow falls. But did you ever wonder how snow globes came to be and who invented them?
Erwin Perzy, a medical tool repairman, unintentionally created snow globes. He attempted to create a brighter light bulb for operating rooms. He experimented with a water-filled glass loaded with reflecting particles.
The Snow Globe Was First Invented In Vienna
Erwin Perzy, who was just 24 years old, began his career inventing and repairing medical gadgets in 1900. He enjoyed experimenting with fresh designs. He went to work when local doctors urged him to improve the lighting in their operating rooms.
He observed how shoemakers magnified the light of a candle with water-filled glass balls or water globes. Perzy employed the same concept, but the light was still insufficient. He then tried metal flakes, but they sunk too fast. He proceeded to try semolina flakes, often used in infant food, after trying a variety of materials, and it was a success!
The young inventor was also reminded of falling snow. He threw a pewter model of a miniature church into the water-filled ball one day for a laugh, then added the white semolina flakes. The outcome was a snowstorm effect that pleased all who witnessed it. The innovation was taken to a friend’s business and promptly sold. (Source: Go World Travel)
The Manufacturing of The Snow Globe
Perzy dubbed his creation a Glass ball with Snow Effect and filed for a patent on it. Five years later, he and his brother began producing the little decorative piece, as the Viennese called it. In 1908, Kaiser Franz Josef I awarded the young Perzy I for creating this novel sort of water globe.
Europe was then devastated by two world wars, which took their toll on the family company. Nobody had the money for such frivolous inventions. The invention of the snow globe took a rear seat.
In the 1950s, as the scars of war began to heal, Erwin Perzy II took over the family company. He worked part-time on the snow globes and part-time at the Kurier, an Austrian newspaper founded by US forces during the occupation.
The Perzy family snow globes appeared to be popular among Americans. The little works had a charming quality to them. On the other hand, the Americans proposed replacing the churches inside with something more enjoyable.
Perzy II soon made snow globes with Santa Claus, snowmen, nativity scenes, and Christmas trees. He began selling collector snow globes in the United States. The unique snowdomes were a huge success. (Source: Go World Travel)
Personalized Snow Globes
Perzy II made one special snow globe for President Obama and his family. The Obamas were represented in small figurines dancing inside the globe as their daughters looked on. After finishing the sculpture, Perzy II discovered that the Obamas had adopted a puppy, so he opened the snow globe and placed a miniature dog inside. (Source: Go World Travel)