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9 Unique Facts About Crokinole History

9 Unique Facts About Crokinole History

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Crokinole is a board game that originated in Ontario, Canada, in the late 19th century and has a rich history with some fun, unusual facts. It is a table game where two to four participants sit across each other with a crokinole board, flicking discs from the outer edge of their section of the board to gain points. People enjoy playing this game in their homes, public areas, and in tournaments. There are many unique facts about crokinole history, as the widely popular 100-year-old game continues today.

How Crokinole History Came to Be

The oldest known crokinole board was created in 1876 by a craftsman named Eckhardt Wettlaufer In Perth County, Ontario. Mr. Wettlaufer was visiting friends in New York State when he observed an unusual parlor game that some guests were playing. When he returned to his home in Canada, he recreated the game board as a gift for his son Adam who was turning five. Some say that a man named Mr. M.B. Ross is the actual originator who patented the game in New York in 1880 and may have traveled to Ontario only to bring the game to the United States. Today, there is still speculation on who the original inventor was. 

What We Know About the Crokinole Game Origin

The crokinole game history is said to originate from Amish or Mennonite communities. However, there is no evidence to support it. In the late 19th century, the game was frowned upon by religious groups who considered it an unsavory pastime similar to playing cards and dancing. The game of crokinole dates back to the 1860s and has a similar playing style of games like carrom from South Asia and Britain.

Where the Crokinole Name Came From

The crokinole name comes from the French word croquignole, a name for a french cookie or, in French Canada, a small pastry similar to a doughnut. In Britain, the name translates to a biscuit. Croquignole also translates to flicking with a finger, which is why the name relates well to the game action in crokinole. The English word "crokinole" is simply an offspring of the French word. The reason for this is that in Webster's Third New International Dictionary, inside the brackets is the etymological term "fillip," which is another word for croquignole and refers to flicking with a finger and thumb with force.

What the Crokinole Rules Decide

Two to four players typically play the game of crokinole. Players each take turns flipping a disc from the outer edge of their portion of the game board. The shooting of the disc happens by flicking a finger, but sometimes players will use a small cue stick to achieve the same result. The game can be very competitive when a player has the task of making contact with another disc to avoid a "foul."The game has some strategy and depth, so the more experience a player gathers, the better they will become as they strive to win each game. 

How Crokinole Evolved

It is unknown how Eckhardt Wettlaufer came up with the idea of the game, but crokinole likely derives from the game of carrom, which has an Indian origin and plays like a game of table billiards. Over time, crokinole was popular enough that large US companies like Montgomery Ward and Sears-Roebuck chose to deliver to homes commercially through the mail. They would advertise the game in their catalogs as a new and exciting game for everyone. Crokinole was fast becoming more accepted, was no longer frowned upon and became one of the most popular games in North America.

How Crokinole Became What It Is Now

Crokinole was a family game by nature in the late 19th century and was known as an alternative to objectionable entertainment such as gambling. Before radio and television, families and friends would play the game with neighbors as a fun way to pass the time. Crokinole continued to be a top-rated game that stands the test of time. In 1999, the World Crokinole Championship was born in Tavistock, Ontario, Canada and still holds an annual tournament with players that attend from all over the globe.

Why Crokinole Hosts a World Tournament

For over 130 years, crokinole continued its popularity and small tournaments were in full swing. Small groups would form clubs and play the game in town halls, church basements and fire halls. The village of Tavistock, Ontario, Canada, is the birthplace of the crokinole board creator Eckhardt Wettlaufer and was the perfect place to host the first World Crokinole Championship. The first Saturday in June of each year brings people of all ages to play for fun, prizes and the joy of playing the game. The tournament continues to gain notoriety and is a well-known event worldwide.

How to View the Original Crokinole Board

Eckhardt Wettlaufer's original board remains intact and in pristine condition. The colorful details on the board indicate the excellent painting skills Mr. Wettlaufer put to use on the board. It is currently on display at the Joseph Schneider Haus in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Many think it is in such good condition because the family rarely played the game. It spent most of its time hanging on the bedroom wall of Eckhardt's son Adam.

Where Crokinole History Connects Generations

Crokinole game boards are in many game rooms, attics and cabins for people of all ages to play. In Canada, families would play a game of crokinole as an alternative to a hockey game, which was easier on the body. Due to the game's long history, it has now become a fantastic opportunity for parents and grandparents to introduce young people to the game. It is becoming more mainstream, with many clubs and tournaments starting with younger players worldwide.

With all of the uniqueness of crokinole history, it is no surprise that the game of crokinole is still a family pastime and will be for years to come. It is more than a winter Canadian passion and is a joy to play for all ages any time of the year.


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