Issue 5-4-14 Website - page 11

Pigs InClover
4th at 3 pmwe will be opening
a new exhibit at LeRoy House.
I’ve called it “Let’s Play” and
I have put exhibits all over the
house, from the basement to the
secondfloor. Afterashortannual
business meeting, I’ll have a
chance to talk a little about the
exhibit and point out some of
the “gems” that I discovered in
our collections. That includes a
first edition of one of the earliest
American board games, “The
Checkered Game of Life” and a
little marble maze called “Pigs
in Clover.” It’s amazing that
someone didn’t throw it out. It’s
not in very good shape, but now
that I’ve done some research on
it, I’m glad that the Historical
Societyhas it. I’mnot even sure
whodonated it.
Thegame isn’tverybig–about
five inches round. The cover
is very dirty and at sometime,
I should take it to a paper
conservator and have it cleaned.
Thousands of these little games
were sold. It was invented in
1889 by Charles Crandall an
American inventor
and toymaker. He
was only 12when
hestarted to invent
toys. Four years
later, when his
fatherdied in1849,
Crandall took
over his fathers
f a c t o r y i n
Covington, Penn-
In 1866, he
moved the factory
to Mont rose,
Pennsylvania and
went intobusiness
making croquet
balls. When his
children were
recovering from scarlet fever,
he created some special wooden
building pieces with finger-lap
ends. They were very popular
andhemanufacturedmore under
the name of Crandall’s Building
Blocks. We have two sets in the
collection. One is on exhibit.
It is interesting to note, that
Crandall showed them to P.T.
Barnam who was so impressed
with thenovel blocks, that heput
them on display in his museum
for several weeks. The blocks
were an instant hit and thousands
of sets sold.
MosesLyman,Crandallmoved to
Waverly, New York and started
the Waverly Toy Works. His
son, Fred managed the factory
in Montrose which burned in
1886 andwas rebuilt in Elkland,
anewgame. Itwas a simpleball-
named“Pigs inClover.”Thepigs
weremarbles thathad tobe rolled
through a round maze to reach
“home” in thecenter. Itbecamean
instant hit and swept the county.
TheWaverly Free Press
that “The ToyWorks are turning
out eight thousand of ‘Pigs in
Clover’adayandare twentydays
behind inorders.” Itwas reported
that a philanthropist inKingston
orderedenoughpuzzles forevery
inmate in the Ulster County jail
and the almshouses of the city
and county.
The game reportedly was
played inEngland in theCourt of
St. James.MarkTwainmentioned
it in his book, “The American
Claimant.” But themostamusing
part of the story of “Pigs in
Clover” occurred in the United
States Senate. It was reported in
the NewYork Tribune that New
York SenatorWilliamM. Evarts
bought the game from a street
vendorand took thepuzzlehome.
He had such a great time playing
it that he took it with him to the
Senate the next day.
Senator George Graham
Vest saw it on Evarts’ desk and
borrowed it. He showed it to
Senators James Pugh, James
Eustis,EdwardWalthall and John
Kenna. They all wanted one so
they sent out a page tobuymore.
The Tribune
reported that the
Senatorsengaged ina“pigdriving
contest” and about thirtyminutes
later,SenatorVestannounced that
hehad succeeded indrivingall of
his pigs into the pen.
A few days later a political
cartoonappeared in the
March 17, 1889 issue. It
lampooned President Benjamin
Harrisons’s advisors andcabinet
members.Thecaption read, “Will
Mr. Harrison be able to get all
these hungry pigs in the official
pen?” The pen in the center of
the puzzle looked like theWhite
House. Themarbles had faces on
them and resembledpoliticians.
Looking at the little puzzle
in my hand, it amazes me that
it sparked such a political story.
I would have never guessed
but the Internet makes a lot of
information available. Today
we marvel at the new hand-held
games that kids play with. It’s
nothing new.
Pigs inClover
a hand-held game - and it didn’t
need to be recharged!!
to be held at the
at 7pm -
Tuesday,May 13th
Everyone IsWelcomeToAttend.
FoodVendors, ActivityChairs, etc.
Tuesday-Friday 9-6
Acartoon from an 1889newspaper.
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