Glass souvenir snow domes generally date back to the 1930's, and maybe even earlier. The bases were often ceramic or bakelite. Many have a generic figure inside and maybe a souvenir decal on the base. Over time, the decals often wore off. The more interesting have figues that are representative of the location.
This is representative of the older Atlas Crystal domes, where the ceramic base was made in either Trenton, NJ or Covington, KY. Here, the image inside is unique. The King (or Rex) of the Mardi Gras is shown. As often occurs, the decal has some wear.
Buildings were a favorite subject for souvenir snow domes. Number two to the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center seemed to be the most popular. Two versions are shown--one with the typical ceramic base and the other using the advertising style popularized by Progressive Products. The red base is hard molded plastic and the legend is stenciled on.
Oh, the Italians! The unquestioned leaders in snow dome technology. Many souvenir snow domes in Italy were made with elaborate bases having shells & pebbles. While there is often a representative image inside the water balls, some of the more unusual ones have other appendiges that expand upon the souvenir appeal. (This shell base occasionally found its way into domes for US tourist sites.) While technology and costs have limited the variety in today's market, this older snow dome is a good example of craftmanship. But even the mass produced Italian snow domes today are quite unique in terms of shape and variety.
The French always have their own way of doing things. Their domestic snow dome industry currently relies heavily upon flat graphic portrayals of the tourist site in a generic plastic dome. But before 'plasticization', older glass ones were in shape of an egg, anchored on a small pyramidal base.
This snow dome portrays a tram that runs on Mt. Fuji in Japan. Some Kanji characters are visible on the side of the tram. There are surprisingly few souvenir snow domes from Japan and this is one of the more unusual.