Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005
Crokinole boards being delivered - with checkerboard on the back - in rural Pennsylvania, in 1908.
This fabulous piece of furniture shows how important crokinole was in Victorian American and Canadian society, where entertainment was mostly home based.
This crokinole table was patented in 1880 in New York only four years after it was invented.
Discs were slightly concave to make them slide better.
The hole edges would sometimes be beveled somewhat to prevent hang ups of discs that refused to slide all the way. They could then be shot off by the next player shooting a snappy disc. If he or she failed the next player could tip it in by tapping it slightly.
The posts with rubber buffers were obstacles to test your skill at shooting around them while trying to hit an opponent's discs. If you hit the posts too hard the discs would karroom off into the gutter.
Lots of laughter and cheery voices were heard by this table over the past 120 years, at Saturday get-togethers, or at Christmas time, while some sat around watching, and others sang around the piano.
All Canadian memories now sadly long departed.
Right is Eckhardt Wettlaufer's original board from 1876.
Eckhardt built this crokinole board in the shop behind his house below as a birthday present for his five year old son in 1876.
At 66 cm it is not as large as the one above.
Eckhardt's board was only played with on special occasions; for most of its life it hung on a peg in the bedroom of the house below.
Most toys used by children in 19th century Canada were built at home by men who were often master craftsmen in wood, metal, and leather. It wasn't till early in the 20th century that commercially produced toys made it to the rural areas where most people lived.
In fact the crokinole board became a commercial production and caught on like wildfire across Canada and the US.
It did not take long for the board to become octagonal to prevent it from rolling away when you put it against the wall for storage.
Eckhardt and his wife Catharine (d 1892) are shown standing in front of their house with son Adam about the time the crokinole board was built. They were active members of the Lutheran church that stood behind their property - roofline behind. They are buried in the cemetery there below.
Their buildings are all razed today.
Nobody passing by this vacant corner of the Sebastopol junction today, knows that on this lot stood a pioneer house where crokinole was invented, a game which revolutionized Victorian parlour game playing in Canada and the United States.
|Great Canadian Heritage Treasure||
A fabulous discovery from the time when Canadians were inventive geniuses, and immensely creative, in little towns and cities that are today, too often, decaying backwaters and the hideouts for people with regressive political beliefs.
Fabulous game boards like this deluxe hand-painted antique are impossible to find anymore.
This heritage treasure dates from the period when the game of crokinole was invented (1876), by Eckhardt Wettlaufer (d 1919) of Sebastopol, near Tavistock, Ontario. The world championships are held in Tavistock annually in his honour.
Two people, or teams of two, played it, shooting little discs of maple - 12 light and 12 black - from behind the outer circle, with the snaps of their forefinger.
The first player would try to get a hole-in-one; if he or she failed, the next opponent would try to shoot that disc off the board and into the gutter.
Scoring was done by counting up values for discs left in the zones of 5 (outer), 10, and 15 (inner) circles. A hole-in-one was worth 20.
|Crokinole Board, c 1880|
|Orig. board - Size - 79 x 79 cm
Found - Milton, ON
It remained popular into the 1960s when it gradually lost out to plastic, battery operated, and electronic toys, and the advent of television.
Crokinole boomed because, unlike card playing and the drinking that accompanied it, which were the work of the devil, among Catholics and Protestants alike, this game found favour in God's eyes.
And children could be just as skilled as adults.
Experts could shoot off an opponent's discs, and score a 20, all at the same time...