Glass Target Balls

Glass Target Balls

Victorian-era handblown hollow glass balls for trap-shooting, eventually replaced by the “Clay Pigeon”

Glass target balls were produced from circa 1877 to approximately 1900.  They are sometimes confused with glass fishing net floats.  The typical target ball measures about 2.5 inches in diameter.   Target balls are increasingly difficult to find. Sometimes they were saved from destruction to be used later on as Christmas ornaments.  Target balls are occasionally found, or end up being owned, by persons who have no idea what they are.

Glass Target Ball, marked "IRA PAINE'S FILLED BALL  PAT OCT 23 1877" in yellow amber (photo courtesy

Glass Target Ball, marked “IRA PAINE’S FILLED BALL PAT OCT 23 1877” in yellow amber (photo courtesy

Target balls usually have a circular  rough-edged “lip” or “neck” extending outward where the ball was “cracked off” from the glassblower’s blowpipe.

They are found in a wide array of colors, including ambers, blues, purple, various shades of green, aquamarine and other colors.  Some are “quilted” with an embossed  “cross-hatch” or “waffle” design,  or may be smooth with no raised design on the surface. A few have markings, for instance lettering that promotes a sporting–goods supply company, or, in a few instances, the name of a glass manufacturing company.

Target ball collectors website, with lots of info and many photos:

BOGARDUS target ball - cobalt blue

BOGARDUS target ball – cobalt blue (photo courtesy


Another target ball site, with lots of photos and info:

Here is yet another target ball collectors page with tons of great pictures of rare target balls: .

Click here to go to the Glass Bottle Marks pages (Page  One).

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