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A World of Snow
The Switchables Snow Globe stained glass night light cover features a snowman looking expectantly to the sky. You can tell from his heart that he's the same snowman who stars in some of our other covers. What you can't tell from our picture is that the globe itself is represented by beautiful wavy, transparent glass.
This cover uses the traditional stained glass process with a soldered metal frame around cut pieces of glass. You can identify the old-style covers by their "SW" catalog numbers. "SF" covers use the fused glass process and don't have metal borders.
This is not a self-contained night light. Switchables stained glass night light covers are designed to be used with the Switchables Nightlight Fixture (sold separately). Switchables are "switchable" because you can easily swap any one of our covers onto the same simple fixture. You can also use your Switchables cover as a suncatcher, a Christmas ornament, or with any other kind of light source. To display your Switchables cover in a window, add the optional suction cup. Switchables make gift-giving easy: Start your recipient out with a fixture and one or two covers, then buy him or her new covers on future gift-giving occasions.
Are you curious...?
French glassblowers who invented paperweights in the early 19th century probably produced the first snow globes, too. Their popularity really took off after they were displayed at the Paris Universal Expo of 1878. An 1889 globe with a model of the brand-new Eiffel Tower was a huge hit. A surgical instrument maker named Erwin Perzy took out the first patent for a snow globe; while experimenting with glass globes to intensify the light in surgical lamps, he added some reflective particles that reminded him of snow. His first actual snow globe had a model of the Mariazell basilica in it. The market for snow globes being a lot more lucrative than that for surgical lamps, Erwin and his brother Ludwig opened a shop in Vienna that's still in the globe business today. The material that they use for snow, designed to hover for as long as possible, is a trade secret passed down through the generations.
In the 1920s snow globes became a popular collector's item in the US. The first US patent went to Joseph Garaja of Pittsburgh in 1927. Americans used snow globes for advertising through the 1940s, whereas religious globes were a popular gift for Catholic children in Europe.
The earliest snow globes put a heavy lead glass dome over a ceramic figure and set that on a black ceramic base. The globe was then filled with water and sealed. Chips of porcelain, bone, or even sawdust became the "flitter," as snow is called in the industry. Gradually the glass got thinner, the bases were made from plastic (Bakelite was huge during the Art Deco era), and the snow became gold foil or non-soluble soap flakes. Nowadays they're almost exclusively made of plastic and the water is either a light oil or a mixture of water and antifreeze, which keeps the flitter flitting around longer. Antifreeze can kill a pet, so clean it up promptly if you happen to break a snow globe.