How the Snow Globe Went Global

Snow globes capture slices of fantasy and protect them under glass from harsh, outside realities. They've become popular kitschy souvenirs, but once they were high-end, luxury items for wealthy homes. Swati Pandey wrote a history of these quaint decorations. It all started in Vienna:

Around the turn of the century, Erwin Perzy, a Viennese medical instrument maker, was trying to make a brighter operating room bulb by filling a globe with water and white grit and shining light through it. It didn’t work, except to remind Perzy of snow. At the request of a souvenir-maker friend, he put the Basilica of the Birth of the Virgin Mary below a glass globe, which, when shaken, resembled a snowstorm. Perzy patented the “Glass Globe with Snow Effect” in 1900, launched a business and, by 1908, won an award from the Austrian emperor, Franz Josef I. His company still churns out domes today. -via Glenn Reynolds | Photo: Flickr user Keith Williamson

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