Gilbert Marsh and George T. Rankin began Akro Agate to manufacture glass marbles in the early 1900s. The company grew quickly, and in 1914 the company relocated from Ohio to West Virginia. By the 1920s, the Akro Agate Company had become the largest glass-marble manufacturer in the world. When the company began facing competition in the 1930s, the company began to manufacture ashtrays, small glass containers, flowerpots and children's dishes along with its well-known marbles. The widespread use of plastic after WWII dramatically reduced the company's market and its profits. Akro Agate ceased production in 1949, although the company continued to sell surplus stock until 1951.