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Arcade | Jacks Set | Jack Stones

play set | game

The ancients of Greece and Rome reportedly devised games using a ball and jacks. Game rules and variations have multiplied through the centuries. By the early years of the 20th century, American kids played jacks on door stoops, street corners, and playgrounds. A handful of the game variations include: Eggs in the Basket, Toad in the Hole, Fivestones, Haystacks, Cart before the Horse, Interference, and Split Jack. Regardless of the name or rules, the game was pretty much the same: gathering the jacks in one hand, the player tosses the jacks onto the playing surface. With the toss of the ball in the air, the player grabs the requisite number of jacks from where they have scattered before the ball bounces more than once. With the first throw, the player gathers one jack; on the second toss, two jacks, then three, four, and more, until all the jacks are collected or the ball bounces more than once before the player can gather up the correct number. When a player misses, the ball and jacks are passed onto the next player to repeat the action. The game remained popular for decades among American kids because it is a sociable pastime in which players got to show off their manual dexterity. The game remains a classic activity of American childhood.

  • Material: metal | fabric | wood
  • Origin: USA
  • Object ID: 109.11559
  • Credit Line: Gift of Doug & Randi Olin and Marc & Jill Olin in memory of Stephen Olin
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