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Games with tops
Title : Games with tops Games with tops View More Images
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Creator : Clarke, William, 1800-1838
Source : The boy's own book : a complete encyclopedia of all the diversions, athletic, scientific, and recreative of boyhood and youth
Place Of Creation : London
Publisher : D. Bogue
Date of creation : [1849]
Format : Book
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

Tops have an ancient history and also cross many cultures. Possibly developed as a result of observing the motion of certain seed pods of trees, or by adapting the movement of fire-drills, tops in one or the other of their many forms have remained a popular and affordable toy across the world.

The Boy's own book in its section on 'Games with tops' discusses whip tops, humming tops (which require 'very little art') and peg tops. Various options for playing with these are set out. Elsewhere, the book discusses marbles as well as dealing with the more athletic outdoor sports such as cricket and sailing and also scientific recreations.

Joseph Verco in his Recollections wrote: 'But the top par excellence was known as the 'gummy'. It was turned out of a piece of the heart wood of the South Australian red gum tree, and was very heavy...the preference was generally for a rather narrow pear-shaped form, and provided with a peg made from a steel screw, the head of which was removed and its end filed to a rather sharp point. This top in the hand of a dexterous player was a formidable weapon;...' (Verco, p. 70)
Further reading :

'A Colonial Boy-hood: some recollections of Sir Joseph Cooke Verco, 1858-1867', South Australiana, volume 2, number 2, September 1963, pp. 70-71 [refers to tops]

Crabtree, Harold. An elementary treatment of the theory of spinning tops and gyroscopic motion, London: Longmans, Green, 1914

Gould, Douglas W. The top: universal toy, enduring pastime, Folkestone: Bailey and Swinfen, 1975

Jaffe, Deborah. The history of toys: from spinning tops to robots, Stroud [England]: Sutton, 2006

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