Uranium glass marbles

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/12/26/uranium-glass-marbles.html


I wouldn’t trust em unless you need a hazmat license to order.


minimum of radioactive material augmented by fluorescent paint.



Uranium fluoresces under UV.


If it makes a geiger counter go, I don’t wanna be near it. Hell, I don’t want to be near our current atmosphere.


The more radioactive material in the glass, the more it fluoresces. I (well, my household) have a necklace of about 50 beads, that all look the same in regular light, but put out varying levels of light under UV. Apparently the thyroid is the most sensitive thing to put radioactive glass near, so not an everyday wearer.

Some of the beads are brighter than the marbles in that picture. (look up ‘vaseline glass’ if you want to know more)


Yes, we had a vaseline glass cake plate from my great grandmother’s house. I could never muster up the courage to eat off of it. It glowed intense green in strong sunlight—no paint or even black light needed. I guess in the 30s atomic dishes were a selling point.


I have a friend who worked around waste. A thyroid, yeah, she no longer has that.


Uranium glass has been around a long time. My wife collects it. It will fluoresce under UV light, or any light that contains the UV spectrum, including sunlight.
It is not considered dangerous, as opposed to old fiesta ware or a revigator.

there is a small subculture of people who collect radioactive consumer goods, but they often need to take extraordinary precautions for handling and storage.


It’s not just glass. Uranium fiestaware was popular until the 1940s.


And then there were the revigators, in case your tap water isn’t radioactive enough.



i’m surprised that people who bought this didn’t also buy


The most notable type of radioactive Fiestaware is the ‘radioactive red’ , which used a small amount of uranium to give the characteristic red-orange color. It will trip a Geiger counter, but is not radioactive enough to be harmful, even with semi-regular use. Vaseline glass also used uranium, although there is more variation in how much radioactivity it contains.

OTOH, regular exposure to the straight stuff without precautions is dangerous and potentially lethal. I just finished reading a book, Radium Girls, about the young women who worked in the teens and 20s painting luminescent dials with radium paint. Many of them died in their 20s of exposure to radium; their method of application required them to lick the brushes to make a fine tip, which caused them to eat the paint. Radium settled in their bones and rotted them, as well as causing cancers. Even after being apprised of the dangers, the companies who produced the glowing dials danced around the hazard for decades, never acknowledging the radium’s effects on their workers. The lawsuits the women eventually brought directly led to the creation of OSHA; it’s a chilling read.


I’ve actually got some of these (wife is a marble freak), and they don’t glow under regular lights, look slightly greenish yellow in sunlight, and glow a very bright fluorescent green with UV.


While I agree that lead is hazardous, I find articles like that silly. If handling leaded glaze was that dangerous things like lead fishing weights or heaven forbid lead solder would have been banned a long time ago. Not that I’m planning on eatting off the wife’s radioactive red Fiestware, but I’m not wasting time worrying about it being in my house.

1 Like

You mean like on the 1st July 2006?



The claim, at the end, that the fluorescence suggests a minimum of U plus some fluorescent material, is flatly incorrect. U in glass has extremely bright fluorescence, and doesn’t need any help.

Something that is not so well known is that there are lots of ceramic items with glazes that contain U. They are, in general, different from the famous Fiesta ware; typical colors range from a sort of ivory or beige to pale green. These glazes fluoresce nicely, usually the same bright yellow-green that you see with U:glass, but sometimes a paler bluish green or greenish white. [Only a few glazes, regardless of color, contain uranium. The ones that do are easy to detect with a violet laser pointer, a UV source, or a radiation counter that’s sensitive to gamma.]

Best –


Welcome to Boing Boing, comrade!


For anyone who is curious, the suggested annual dosage of radiation should be limited to 5000 mrems. If you eat off of nothing but the radioactive Fiestaware plates, you will add approximately 40 mrems to your annual intake.


I am a collector of Vaseline glass. I’d like to explain some stuff. Let’s start with the Savannah River Site, a government operation that is tasked with making radioactive material safe for storage. The safest way to do this and transport radioactive stuff is to vitrify it. That means encasing it in glass. So that’s what is done. Vaseline glass has uranium salts in it. Reason? It is the pigment that gives the glass its unique yellow/green color. Uranium salts are one of the most ancient glass coloring pigments. Vaseline glass will not harm you. Period. You can safely eat from it every day of your life. You can display it in mass quantities in your home— as many of my Vaseline glass collecting friends and I do. It needs no fluorescent paint or funny business to make it glow and glow it does. Glow is not dangerous, OK? You can go to your kitchen and open the cupboard where you store your everyday glass stuff, shine a black light on the glass and turn off the light. Your gonna see some glowing glass, usually glowing light purple. Glow is not dangerous. Vaseline glass is not dangerous. Thank you


The reviewers are idiots.
Whoever posted this isn’t much better and did 0 homework before they posted.
This is just vasaline glass. It’s been around forever. Uv light is how you make sure your getting actual vasaline (AKA uranium glass)

You have to use blacklight to make it glow…any glass radioactive enough to Glow without a UV light source would be extremely dangerous and possibly deadly.