Glass Target Balls

Antique Glass Target Balls

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

Glass target balls were produced in the United States from circa 1877 to approximately 1900.  They were superceded by the “clay pigeon”.  Target balls 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.  On a rare occasion, an example might show up at a flea market or antique shop.

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,  and others 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 very few instances, the name of a glass manufacturing company.


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

BOGARDUS brand glass target ball - cobalt blue glass

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: .

For an alphabetical list of glass manufacturer markings and logos found on glass bottles and other types of glassware, please click on the link here, which points to the  Glass Bottle Marks pages (Page  One).

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