Français | Contact | Press
Home page > Past collections > Past exhibits-MUSEUM CLOSED FOR GOOD > Snow globes

 Snow globes

On the occasion of the museum’s 20th birthday, two special exhibits are presented on Snow domes and Miniature dolls.

This exhibition is about a fairy, colorful, childish and kitsch object : the snowglobe, also called waterglobe, snowstorm or snowdome. This popular, disparaged, poetic and derisory object is nevertheless known by everyone. It contains a microcosm that you can shake to kick up a small snowstorm, and as soon as the snow falls down, you can’t prevent yourself from shaking it again, and again, and again…

JPEG - 43.1 kb

The snowglobes descend from Ludions, also called Cartesian divers, Curiosities Cabinet’s objects from the 17th and 18th centuries that combined different objects, often of religious inspiration, into a blown glass. These objects were suspended in water and attached through thin threads to both extremities of the container.

In the 19th century in Venice the manufacturing technique of sulphide paperweights has been improved by succeeding in inserting cameos, millefiori glassworks or animal or vegetable substances. Sulphides were expensive and snowdomes were a cheaper alternative that furthermore could move.

The first authentic snowglobes allegedly date from the 1878 Paris exhibition and were described as paperweights shaped as hollow balls filled with water and containing a man with an umbrella. These balls also contained a white powder that simulated the snowfall, when the object was turned upside down. These balls, made from a glass globe filled with water and with a ceramic, brass or marble base, were very heavy and were used as paperweights.

JPEG - 60.3 kb
JPEG - 66.6 kb
JPEG - 51.2 kb

At the beginning of the 20th century the French, Austrian, Czechoslovak and German souvenir manufacturers produced snowglobes dedicated to the main destinations of religious pilgrimages: Sainte Bernadette of Lourdes, Sainte Thérèse of Lisieux, The Infant Jesus of Prague, Saint Anthony of Padua… But what is surprising is that, unlike paperweights and other decorative objects, these snowglobes were not shown on department store catalogues.

JPEG - 53.4 kb

The real expansion of snowdomes dates from the end of the 1940s with the development of plastic materials that gave more freedom and enabled to produce cheaper consumer products. With the introduction of paid leave during which people used to buy a souvenir from their vacation destination, the snowglobe evolved in order to become lighter and more colorful, and lost its function of paperweight to become a tourist souvenir object.

JPEG - 39.2 kb
JPEG - 51.6 kb
JPEG - 41.6 kb

JPEG - 50 kb
JPEG - 42.9 kb
JPEG - 48.4 kb

Two German brands especially contributed to the development of snowglobes: Koziol and Walter & Prediger who opposed about the invention of the dome-shaped snowdome by taking legal action. Koziol was obliged to produce only round snowglobes.

One of the rare snowglobe patents was deposited in 1927 by Joseph Garaja in the United States where the boom of snowglobes actually only started during the second post-war years.

During the 1960s China and Hong Kong began to produce models inspired to pre-existent items or commissioned by western brands.

JPEG - 43.2 kb
JPEG - 63 kb
JPEG - 59.5 kb

In France, Convert, who had been manifacturing dolls since 1911, entered this market in 1969. The company was bought in 1994 by JLK who continues nowadays to produce snowglobes just like the Bruot company, created in 1961 and which is still active in the Oyonnax region. Luxury globes are a specialty by Royal River in Paris.

JPEG - 34.7 kb
Production, Designer : J. Delatour pour Sonia Rykiel, Made in France

Waterglobes became real collectible items towards the end of the 1970s.

JPEG - 53.7 kb
JPEG - 64.6 kb
JPEG - 47.6 kb

The exhibition presents about 300 snowglobes from Mireille Sueur’s famous collection. This enthusiastic parisian lady has combined in her very publicized collection a wide range of unusual objects, among which almost 3000 snowglobes that she divides according to various themes. The exhibition reflects her classification and it concerns the following themes: history, religion, tourism, animals, angels, Christmas and winter, toys, cartoons and film heroes, elves and mermaids, gothic and Halloween, advertising snowglobes and the unclassifiable…

JPEG - 62.6 kb
JPEG - 44.9 kb
JPEG - 36.4 kb

Elements of a snow globe :
Shape : globe, semi oval dome, egg, cylinder, nose cone, bottle, character…
Material of the globe : glass or plastic with joints in tinplate or rubber.
Liquid : water, oil. Suspends the snow and gives a magnifying glass effect.
Snow : made from pieces of bone, ceramic, rice, sawdust and wax, plastic, glitter…
Central decoration : made from bisque, bone, metal, mineral, plastic, rubber, resin, wax…
Base : in clay, marbel porcelain, wood, ceramic, plastic, resin…

JPEG - 40.2 kb
JPEG - 44.5 kb

The Museum also offers various activities and services : :

activities for children and adults

snowglobes and souvenirs for sale

Past exhibits-MUSEUM CLOSED FOR GOOD Dolls from the 80s Best friends Betting on Dolls Hollywood Stars as Dolls Héros de l’ORTF - la télévision française en jouets des années ’60 aux années ’80 Bécassine dévoile les Trésors de Loulotte Minuscules, the playful universe of pocket dolls Snow globes Barbie Rétro Chic Fashion dolls under Napoleon III ETHNICITIES - Dolls reflecting People Baby-boom 2, French dolls 1960-1979 Poupées ’Made in Italy’, 1880-1979 Jouets de garçons Images exquises Barbie® et Ken® jouent les stars de tous les temps Ken®, 50 ans d’un modèle masculin Baby-boom French dolls, 1946-1959 Le Minor dolls Le retour du Père Noël Nouvelles icônes, des poupées Pandores aux Sybarites Maisons de poupées, l’art de la miniature Rêve ta vie avec Barbie Par amour pour les poupées Poupées et jouets : l’éveil des 5 sens Les poupées des Petites Filles Modèles Les mille et une vies de Barbie Quel spectacle ! les arts du spectacle en poupées et jouets L’Europe des 25 en poupées régionales et folkloriques Boules de poils, le meilleur de la peluche française, 1876-2006 Dodo l’enfant do : poupons et baigneurs, 1855-2005 Arts ménagers pour poupées : la vie quotidienne en miniature Les poupées de La Semaine de Suzette fêtent leurs 100 ans Les poupées Raynal : 50 ans de luxe pour petites filles Barbie raconte 5000 ans d’histoire du costume Tendres doudous : poupées et animaux en tissu Personnages de contes : hommage à la création Poupees de poche : de Mignonnette à Polly Pocket


75003 PARIS

mail : 28 rue Beaubourg

01 42 72 73 11


f t G izi
+ : Contact | Press | Links | Site Map |
© MUSÉE DE LA POUPÉE IMPASSE BERTHAUD 75003 PARIS Rambuteau mail : 28 rue Beaubourg 01 42 72 73 11

Legal notices G izi