New to Our Collections

Marble Arms

The Michigan History Museum recently accepted a large artifact collection related to the Marble Arms Company of Gladstone. The 183-piece collection was generously donated by Dennis Pace of Dimondale, who, over a 30-year period, gathered products and advertisements related to the Michigan company that developed and manufactured practical tools for the outdoorsman. The museum is planning an October 2015 special exhibit that will feature pieces from this collection.

Webster L. Marble started the manufacture of the Safety Axe behind his Gladstone home in 1892; six years later, he built a factory. His most popular products included hunting and fishing knives, the Safety Axe, waterproof matchboxes, compasses, Game Getter guns and gun accessories and supplies.

Marble products were sold worldwide and were known for their excellent quality. The company's founder also had skill at entrepreneurship and marketing. Many techniques that are common today were done by Marble 100 years ago. For example, he partnered with other companies for "giveaways," such as a knife and scabbard (engraved with "Buster Brown Shoes") to be given to anyone who purchased Buster Brown shoes. Marble also used different Gladstone addresses in various advertising and direct mail. This allowed him to track which pieces were more effective.

Updated 10/07/2014