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Nine Pins (with cloth bag)

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Historic Nine Pin Photo by Mic MillerContinued from product description on Traditional Games' Page Two...

Historical Background: Bowling games are among the oldest games in the world. Archeologists have found stone bowling pins and balls buried with the mummified remains of a child in Egypt who died around 5000 B.C. Cavemen probably bowled at targets to increase their skills at hunting. Ula Maika, an ancient Polynesian game, was played with stone pins and balls. An ancient Roman version of this game became known as "boccie," which is an Italian form of what the British refer to as "lawn bowls." In 12th-century England, lawn bowling was a popular pastime.

Indoor bowling began in German monasteries. The peasants who attended church always carried their big clubs called "kegels" with them. When they attended religious services, the monks had the peasants place their kegels at the end of a long narrow hallway. In order to be absolved of sin, the peasant would have to roll a round rock and knock down their club, which represented the Devil. If they missed, they would have to mend their ways and repent. The monks eventually made a fun game of this activity. The word "kegling" is still used today for bowling and "keglers" for bowlers.

Eventually, rolling stones at kegels lost its religious significance and the wealthy adopted this game as a favorite pastime. Martin Luther, who translated the Bible into German during the 16th-century, was one such bowling enthusiast who encouraged a uniform set of rules. The game was officially called Kegelspiel or Nine-pins. Soon the game spread from Germany to Holland and the Dutch brought it with them when they settled in New Amsterdam (now New York City). The earliest Virginia colonists loved the game so much it interfered with their work. After Captain James Smith returned to Jamestown, bowling was declared illegal and punishable by up to three weeks in the stocks!

During the early 1800s, Nine Pins was such a favorite game that it was played in many basements and back rooms of taverns. Heavy gambling and betting were associated with the game and soon it was outlawed. People, however, still enjoyed playing this game. So, to get around the new law, they added another pin and "ten pin bowling" was born. By 1895, the American Bowling Congress was formed and they established official rules and regulations.

Tabletop games rose in popularity when playing on the floor of pubs and taverns was no longer feasible. Special tables were made for games such as Skittles, Carom, and Crokinole. The table game of Bagatelle (from the French word meaning "a trifle" or "small thing") was also a popular game in the 19th century. By 1920, Bagatelle evolved into the pinball machine.

Fun Fact: By the 14th century, bowling was such a favorite gambling activity that King Edward III banned the game so it would not interfere with archery practice.

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Nine Pins (with cloth bag)
Nine Pins (with cloth bag)
Item Number 3007

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