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.
http://www.thedaily.com/page/2011/12/01/120111-opinions-history-snowglobe-pandey-1-4/ -via Glenn Reynolds | Photo: Flickr user Keith Williamson