Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Marble Falls

Tumbling marbles to watch.
  [vote for,

From a distance it looks like an ornamental waterfalls in the lobby. As you approach you see instead of water, it is a cascade of thousands of light blue glass marbles, flowing, tumbling, sparkling over a terrain of velvety "rocks". (Velvety so as not to scratch the marbles.) You can dip your hand in the marbley flow and watch the occasional glass goldfish "swim" by.
As the marbles collect at the bottom they are picked up by a conveyor and carried back to the top. Conveyor mechanism to be hidden.
Flowing things are interesting, and I think a similar thing could be done with sand, pebbles, beads, or artificial diamonds. If I owned a candy store, I might display a jellybean falls.
flypaper, Aug 29 2003

Ice Fountain http://www.halfbake...idea/Ice_20Fountain
related idea by [lostdog] [krelnik, Oct 04 2004]

Sand and Pebble Fountain http://www.halfbake...20Pebble_20Fountain
related idea by [st3f] [krelnik, Oct 04 2004]

Ketchup Marbles http://www.halfbake...a/Ketchup_20marbles
[DeathNinja, Oct 04 2004]

(?) Microsoft Mouse Balls http://jokeforge.al...jokes/Computer/1905
[Shz, Oct 04 2004]

alleys, now that rings a bell or two.. http://www.inquiry....ames_of_marbles.htm
[po, Oct 04 2004]

Silica Gel http://www.fluidene...ges/des_sil_gel.jpg
[Amos Kito, Oct 04 2004]

(?) marble source http://www.megaglas...crystalaccents.html
one place to get marbles, not big enough quantities, though [flypaper, Oct 04 2004]

(?) Underwater waterfall http://cgi.ebay.com...57#ebayphotohosting
Can't see the beads very well though. [squeak, Oct 04 2004]


       the jellybean fall might be better. glass marbles might break - well, they will, sods law and all that.   

       jellybean? is that where Yogi Bear lived?
po, Aug 29 2003

       What's that racket?
Cedar Park, Aug 29 2003

       //dip your hand in the marbley flow//   


       Sounds like a great place to bring the kids.
k_sra, Aug 29 2003

       Wow... very vivid imagination you have. This would indeed be pretty loud, but quite a spectacle to see! Beautiful! +
jivetalkinrobot, Aug 29 2003

       How about an exercise in chaos and make the falls with rubber balls?
Cedar Park, Aug 29 2003

       /rubber balls /   

       Ah, the kinky version ....
8th of 7, Aug 29 2003

       If we could somehow integrate ketchup and shower marbles into this device...
DeathNinja, Aug 29 2003

       Superballs? Or better - ball bearings! Or maybe just surplus chromed nuts - less likely to get out of the fountain and underfoot.
bungston, Aug 29 2003

       This is too cool.
If you were to couple this with [Shift]’s Fun doorbell idea you could have a scenic doorway with waterfalls that flow when someone rings the bell.

       Plus, for the noise. Double plus for marbles on sheet metal.
sartep, Aug 30 2003

       Anyone see the structure that somewhat resembles this idea at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle? It would pick up a huge number of marbles by conveyor and lift them to fill a large collection of towers. When the columns were full the bottoms of the towers would open in rapid succession. It was cyclical rather than continuous but it had a waterfall feel. The marbles appeared to be bluish hard rubber or maybe a thin coating of rubber over steel and probably to reduce noise.
bristolz, Aug 30 2003

       Yea, [bris], they are surplus mouse balls from Microsoft.
Cedar Park, Aug 30 2003

       Couldn’t resist. <link>
Shz, Aug 30 2003

       Nah. This thing pre-dates Microsoft by about 12-13 years. It was built for the 1962 World's Fair. It was dismantled a few years ago.   

       [shz] I'm betting that that MS ball joke is phony despite the claim that it's "actual." It's too far-fetched.
bristolz, Aug 30 2003

       Yes, as many point out, noise would be a problem, maybe less if it were outside. [DN]'s shower marbles suggestion may be best if they are quiet. I can't seem to find that bag of blue marbles I had, but I'll look again. Glass marbles are cheap, something like one cent per, so that is good, but disadvantages are the breakage as [po] mentioned (and hazard from that). Plus you wouldn't want loose balls on the floor where somebody could slip on them. Soft enough ones that wouldn't roll under your feet would help there.
flypaper, Aug 30 2003

       Wow, the light blue...sounds quite beautiful.
boneheadmx, Aug 30 2003

       do you have names (in the US) for the different size / type marbles?
po, Aug 30 2003

       Used to, but the previous generation took them all away when they grew up.
k_sra, Aug 30 2003

       what is bb?   

       oh stop that bris.
po, Aug 30 2003

       I agree [bz], “actual” is likely just part of the joke.
Shz, Aug 30 2003

       foresees the future - back to work on monday... :(   

       bris, the present is the only important time really.
po, Aug 30 2003

       Well, the future is good to look forward to.
bristolz, Aug 30 2003

       I'll drink to that.
po, Aug 30 2003

       There's a form of silica gel dessicant [link] that's spherical, and about 1/8" (3mm) diameter. It's transparent, very light, bounces on concrete, and sounds like rain (or a "rain stick") when poured. Dried corn kernels, wheat, beans, or other seeds might also work.
Amos Kito, Aug 30 2003

       [po] I posted one marble source, can't find the one-cent source I had couple of years ago.
flypaper, Aug 31 2003

       Seen this somewhere in underwater waterfalls (tacky aquarium decorations). I'll see if I can find a link.
squeak, Sep 01 2003

       See linky. These work by cycling small beads of something to give the effect of a waterfall underwater! Extremely tastefull. I've seen these all over the place unfortunately but could only find this linl.
squeak, Sep 01 2003

       I like it. The noise would be a big issue in many installations. Rubber balls would solve a lot of that, but most rubber balls seem to be built to maximize the return of energy (bounce) which could be a problem here. I can't find a source, but I have seen rubber balls that were explicitly designed not to bounce.   

       <background rambling>The ones I saw were on the order of 3" in diameter and were used for demonstration of a tomato harvesting machine that gathered the green balls and kicked the red ones back out on the ground. I suppose I could search for "tomato simulator". So very disappointed were those who stole balls from the demonstration, slammed them hard against the floor and watched them bounce back maybe 2mm. Not sure what happened to the one my brother had.</background rambling>
half, Sep 01 2003

       <The conveyor capable of lifting this many heavy marbles such a distance would be a mechanical nightmare of sorts. >

Screw em.

       Shot or sand filled rubber marbles?
bristolz, Sep 01 2003

       Even if the glass marbles don't break per se, they will certainly chip and shed dust from the friction. Jellybeans would also slowly self-destruct. Wooden beads with various stains, perhaps? Gummybears, as previously suggested for earplugs, would also hold up better. A croissant anyway, as this is a wonderfully appealing concept.
Elvisatehere, Sep 02 2003

       Well, the "Velvety Rocks" could be just that, big soft foam blocks covered in felt or velvet. That way it would reduce the noise and save the marbles from total destruction. I like the idea as it is.
barnzenen, Sep 02 2003

       But if they were opaque, it would detract from the glassy, ethereal look of it all.   

       By the way, how would the fish be realised?
Detly, Sep 02 2003

       nobody's mentioned custard-filled balls for the solution to cushioning (sorry, had to do that) I would go for gunpowder filled balls--ahh, the more noise, the better. It could also be used as a crime deterrent. "Don't move, or we'll shoot"
benlevi7, Sep 03 2003

       Ice balls (hail) would be nice. Broken and melted balls could be re-frozen.
FarmerJohn, Sep 03 2003

       I like the hail solution. However, breaking marbles wouldn't be a big problem if the breaking was somewhat infrequent - just provide a screen at the bottom to let the shards drop away.
Worldgineer, Sep 03 2003

       i think you should do it with those balls that are coated with some kind of gunpowder or something and when you bang em together they make a pop and a spark, like a cap gun. did anyone else have those as a kid?   

       that would be awesomely loud.   

       edit: just saw [benlevi7]s annotation... but... i still think mine's different enough to stay.
SquidInk, Sep 03 2003

       My staticky line keeps dropping out, but some comments: [Detly] the fish might be solid glass weighted at bottom to avoid floating dead-fish-like along the top. But might sink to bottom and not be seen. How to make head in direction of flow I wonder. [FarmerJohn] Your ice balls idea I like, could be quieter yet still sparkle. Might freeze together as ice cube sometimes do. [squeak] oh, I see the link. baked (at least for underwater). Would be pretty quiet underwater.
flypaper, Sep 03 2003

       Or use pennys! If they got corroded, they'd even look bluish-green!
my-nep, Nov 24 2003

DesertFox, Jun 28 2004

       This is extremely bourgeois. But bourgeois people have esthetic needs too. So + for your compassion with these people.
django, Jun 28 2004


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