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The Snow Globe: The Prettiest Christmas Mistake

Snow globes are magical. They are simple, calming and beautiful, and the first snow globe was invented on accident by an Austrian man looking for a little bit more light. In Vienna in 1900, Mr. Perzy I, a surgical instruments mechanic, took an idea from a cobbler friend who magnified the light from a single candle by putting a glass globe of water in front of it, thus creating a glowing orb. The light cast just enough more light to get a little more work finished. Mr. Perzy tried to improve on the invention by adding some white semolina, used for baby food, into the water. Before it turned into a mucky mess, the sinking “flakes” looked like snow, and sparked a light and idea for Mr. Perzy: a snow globe. But just plain snow wasn’t enough, and for 40 years his company, the Original Vienna Snow Globes produced snow globes with only one design: a replica of the Basilica of the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Mariazell, Austria. Mr Perzy I created the first diorama himself. The original snow globes were painstakingly hand made, not affordable and not widely known. But, like any good idea, the snow globe gained popularity and attention, and though Mr. Perzy I holds the patent for the snow globe, they are now widely mass produced. The Original Vienna Snow Globe company has remained in the family, and Mr. Perzy’s grandson, Mr. Perzy III, now owns and runs the company with plans to pass it off to his daughter in the next decade.  

Not to be excluded from the enchanted magic of the snow globe, Old World Christmas has our own collection of snowy globes. They’re friendly, they’re deeply meaningful, they’re magical and fun. A firm shake and a few moments of quiet wonder watching the snow fall and settle down is magical for both kids and adults. The invention of the snow globe, though originally a mistake, was the most calming, enchanting mistake ever made. The snow globe is a staple in Christmas decor, a classic that, though it’s over 100 years old, never gets old. Snow globes provide the pause in the frantic, the magic in the hurry.

October 07, 2020 by Rachael Mitchell

Written by

Rachael Mitchell

Rachael Mitchell is a freelance writer based in Seattle, Washington, and has over 15 years of writing experience. She’d never be able to pick just one favorite ornament, but narrowed it down to the S’more and Tennis Ball. She always looks forward to s’mores in the summer with friends and family adding gourmet ingredients, and played 4 years of college tennis in the mid-west.

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