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believes in Santa!

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A snow globe (also called a" waterglobe", "snowstorm", or "snowdome") is a transparent sphere, usually made of glass, enclosing a miniaturized scene of some sort, often together with a model of a landscape. 

A snow globe (also called a" waterglobe", "snowstorm", or "snowdome") is a transparent sphere, usually made of glass, enclosing a miniaturized scene of some sort, often together with a model of a landscape. The sphere also encloses the water in the globe; the water serves as the medium through which the "snow" falls. To activate the snow, the globe is shaken to churn up the white particles. The globe is then placed back in its position and the flakes fall down slowly through the water. Snow globes sometimes have a built-in music box that plays a song. Some snow globes even have a design around the outerbase for decoration.


When the first snow globe exactly became well-known remains uncertain, but seemingly dates to the early 19th century in France. 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 of 1878, and by 1879 at least five companies were producing snow globes and selling them throughout Europe.

believes in Santa!

believes in Santa!

Eiffel Tower was produced to commemorate the International Exposition in Paris, which marked the centenary of the French Revolution. 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.

At the end of the 19th century Erwin Perzy, a producer of surgical instruments, invented the so-called Schneekugel (snow globe) and got the first patent for it. Originally his goal was to develop an extra bright lightsource for use as a surgical lamp. As he tried to intensify the candlepower of a so-called Schusterkugel (a water filled flask used to focus light since the Middle Ages) with particles made out of different materials for reflection purpose. The effect reminded him on snowfall and its said that by this he got the idea for a snow globe, so he built his first actual globe with the basilica of Mariazell as a model in it. Because of the great request for his snow globes Perzy opened together with his brother Ludwig a shop in Vienna, where the production continues until today as a family business. Today the globes get exported throughout the world; the material out of which the "snow" is made is handed down from generation to generation as a production secret (it should float as long as possible in the water before sinking down).



believes in Santa!

believes in Santa!

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 made of glass, 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 Austria. 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.

Initially snow globes consisted of a heavy lead glass dome which was placed over a ceramic figure or tableau on a black cast ceramic base, filled with water and then sealed. The snow or "flitter" was created by use of bone chips or pieces of porcelain, sand or even sawdust. As they became more sophisticated, the glass became thinner, the bases were lighter (Bakelite was popular during the Art Deco period) and the snow was made out of particles of gold foil or non-soluble soap flakes, although nowadays, for health and safety reasons, small pieces of white plastic are used.

believes in Santa!

believes in Santa!

Today's snow globes can include music boxes, moving parts, internal lights, and even electric motors that make the "snow" move so that it is no longer necessary to shake the globe.

Some also have central slots for positioning items such as photographs. Contemporary fine artists also use snow globes as a medium.

Beginning in 2005, many U.S. stores sell inflatable snow globes as part of their Christmas décor. These have a base with a blower, forcing air which carries styrofoam pellets from the bottom and through a tube up the back to the top, where they are blown out and fall down inside the front, which is made of transparent vinyl. The rest of the globe, including the characters inside, are made of colorful nylon fabric. These globes are typically large decorations for the front yard, and are lighted internally with a few C7 (nightlight-type) incandescent light bulbs (which are enclosed in plastic spheres to prevent heat damage to the fabric).

A variation on this is the "tornado globe", where small foam objects spin around inside a globe. This is more common for Halloween, where foam bats or sometimes ghosts may fly around the Halloween figures in the middle. These were most common in 2006, and come in both large inflatables, and smaller tabletop versions with rigid plastic globes about 8 to 12 inches or 20 to 30 centimeters in diameter. As with the snow globes, static cling often causes the foam to stick to the plastic (especially vinyl) when humidity is low, while condensation will do the same thing on outdoor inflatables when humidity is high, or rainwater has seeped in while it is deflated.

In modern film and literature, snow globes often symbolize childhood, innocence or so-called "happy days". However, they are also sometimes used, with dark humor, to evoke more gruesome scenes.

Film and television[edit]


  1. ^ "snowstorm". OED. (subscription required for online version)
  2. ^a unicum from vienna broadcast on ORF-Volksgruppen from 8. December 2006
  3. ^ Burr, Ty (May 2, 1999). "Summer Films: Synergy, A Few Words in Defense of Swag". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010 December 9.
  4. ^ Nishime, LeiLani (2006). "Rev. of Rand, The Ellis Island Snow Globe". Journal of American Ethnic History 26 (1): 96–97.
  5. ^ Sendzikas, Aldona (2006). "Rev. of Rand, The Ellis Island Snow Globe". Australasian Journal of American Studies 25 (2): 122–24.



Snow globes are a Christmas classic, and these oversize spheres put on an impressive display. You can make your own snow globes with the how-to directions below.

By Jody Garlock

What You Need

  • A globe with rubber base and plastic stand
  • Epoxy
  • Ceramic or plastic ornaments
  • Distilled water
  • Liquid glycerin
  • Glitter

How to Make It

  1. Look for 7- and 8-inch flower aquariums, which include a globe, rubber base, and plastic stand, at floral shops or online.
  2. Use epoxy to attach ceramic or plastic ornaments and figurines to the rubber base, which also serves as the lid.
  3. Fill the globe with distilled water to just below the opening; add about 1 tablespoon of liquid glycerin (found in soap-making sections of hobby stores) to thicken the water.
  4. Sprinkle with glitter.
  5. Working over a sink, slowly invert the decorated portion of the rubber base into the water; stretch the seal of the rubber base over the lip of the globe.
  6. Attach the plastic stand, turn the globe upright, and watch the snow fall!
  7. For extra sparkle, stand the snow globe in a silver wine bottle coaster.

believes in Santa!

believes in Santa!

Kids of all ages, the young and the young at heart, appreciate the appeal of a snow globe. And even young kids are capable of mastering this easy DIY snow globe.



  • Small glass jar with tight fitting lid
  • Hot glue gun or super glue
  • Distilled water
  • Liquid glycerin or light corn syrup
  • Fake snow or glitter (find at craft stores)
  • Small plastic trees, animals, houses, or other decorations
  • Adult supervision

What to do:

  1. With a grown-up's help, use the superglue or hot glue to affix your trees or other decorative items to the inside of the lid. Let dry.
  2. Fill jar about 3/4 full of water (or about 1/2 if using corn syrup).
  3. Put a few pinches of glitter or fake snow in the jar.
  4. Screw the lid on very tightly.
  5. Turn your jar upside-down and watch the snow fall inside your homemade DIY snow globe.
  6. Now add several drops of liquid glycerin (or an equal amount of corn syrup) making sure you leave room for air at the top. Repeat step 5.
  7. Finally, if you like, you may decorate the base (lid) of your snow globe with ribbon, fabric, or pretty paper.

What happened:

Have you ever noticed how sometimes objects of the same size weigh different amounts? That's because of density. We figure out an object's density by comparing its mass to its volume. Mass refers to the amount of matter that makes up an object. Volume refers to the amount of space an object occupies. Compare a rock and a marshmallow that are the same size (having equal volume), which is heavier? The rock is, because it has more mass. That means the rock has greater density than the marshmallow because it has more mass (amount of matter) in the same volume (occupied space).

Liquids have density, too. The more dense a liquid is, the easier it is for an object to float on. Glycerin (or corn syrup) is more dense than water; so after we added it to the snow globe, the snow fell more slowly. Try adding a few more drops of glycerin (or corn syrup). What did you notice? You should have found that the more glycerin (or corn syrup) you add, the slower the snow falls. Learn more about liquid density with these projects.