Everyone of us has had one at one time or another. When you go into a shop that has them, almost nobody can resist a good shake and ooohing and ahhhing about how pretty the snow is all trapped up in that glass and falling on the little scene glued to the bottom. A gaggle of little hands are eager to shake their very own. Santa got the messaged.
Ah, but there is a history to these little gems (courtesy of Wiki):
"When the first snow globe exactly became well-known remains uncertain, but seemingly dates to the early 19th century in France. They may have appeared as a successor to the glass paperweight, which became popular a few years earlier. Snow globes appeared at the Paris Universal Expo of 1878, and by 1879 at least five or more companies were producing snow globes and selling them throughout Europe.
In 1889, a snow globe containing a model of the newly built Eiffel Tower was produced to commemorate the International Exposition in Paris, which marked the centenary of the French Revolution. Snow globes became popular in England during the Victorian era and, in the early 1920s, crossed the Atlantic to the United States of America where they became a popular collectors item. Many of these globes were produced by Atlas Crystal Works, which had factories in Germany and America.
At the end of the 19th century Erwin Perzy, a producer of surgical instruments, invented the so-called Schneekugel (snow globe) and got the first patent for it. Originally his goal was to develop an extra bright lightsource for use as a surgical lamp. As he tried to intensify the candlepower of a so-called Schusterkugel (a water filled flask used to focus light since the Middle Ages) with particles made out of different materials for reflection purpose, the effect reminded him of snowfall and it's said that by this he got the idea for a snow globe. He then built his first actual globe with the basilica of Mariazell as a model in it. Because of the great request for his snow globes, Perzy, along with his brother Ludwig opened a shop in Vienna, where the production continues until today as a family business.Today the globes get exported throughout the world; the material out of which the "snow" is made is handed down from generation to generation as a production secret (it should float as long as possible in the water before sinking down).
In the United States, the first snow globe-related patent was granted in 1927 to Joseph Garaja of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1929, Garaja convinced Novelty Pool Ornaments to manufacture a fish version underwater."
There you go. You are so armed with knowledge that you can hardly stand it.