Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Going Off the Barrel

The whiskey barrel boat I used in my art show at the gallery is now moored in the Castle in the Air office, and my younger daughter has been having fun sitting in it and having adventures "out to sea," as she puts it.

Perhaps the fun she's been having with the barrel made my discovery today of "tub tilting" that much more exciting. It's a game outlined in our copy of How To Do Things, a compendium of practical crafts
and fun games published by The Farm Journal in 1919. Here are the instructions (or "destructions," as we sometimes call them) on how to play tub tilting, along with a few more diversions you might try this summer.

Tub tilting on land is equally as exciting and requires just as much skill as tilting on the water.

Secure two barrels, about flour-barrel size, and two poles. Each pole should be from eight to ten feet long, of the lightest possible wood, with a big soft pad on the end. These are spears for attacking. The barrels are set level, exactly at poles' length apart, center to center. Each contestant takes his place on a barrel, and he must try to put the o
ther fellow off. The umpire stands alongside, near the middle. For safety's sake it is a good idea to have some one stand behind each player to act as a catcher in case of accident.

It is counted a foul to push the other player below the knees, to use the spear as a club, to push the barrel, or to take hold of your opponent's spear with your hand. A foul gives the round to the other boy. A round is up when one boy goes off his barrel. If one drops his spear and can recover it without getting or falling off, it is all right.

A battle usually lasts for about seven or eight rounds. The best players gain their points by wriggling their bodies and keeping in continual motion. The
re is a lot of fun and excitement in keeping your balance.

This target allows shot to be used over and over, dozens of times. With it the air rifle can be used in the house without any danger of injuring the walls, furniture, etc. Upon a wooden support forty-eight inches high place a box built in the shape shown in Fig. 1. This may be made any size desired. I built this one with the front, or target, twenty-four inches square. The slanting back is thirty-six inches, base twelve inches, and the tapered conductor, which runs the shot into the can has its sides sixteen inches long.

The back and sides of the conductor are lined with felt. The target is a bull's-eye drawn on a cardboard twenty-four inches square, and the cardboard is tacked upon the front of the target box. The dotted lines show how a B. B. shot passes through the cardboard, hits the slanting back, bounds against the conductor side and drops into the can behind the target. The slanting back, with its felt lining, kills the force of the shot without battering it, and so the same shot can be used dozens of times.

The apparatus can easily be made and should be in every community playground. It is the next best thing to flying. A strong old wagon-wheel, a pole eighteen feet long and five inches in diameter at the smallest end, and sixty feet of one-inch manila rope are needed. In almost every district some one will provide the wheel, and the pole can be cut in the woods. If the wheel has a wooden axle hub, remove the axle from the skein, which is the metal sleeve surrounding the axle spindle to protect it from wear. Shape the top of the pole to fit into the axle skein, then fasten the skein securely in place.

If the wheel has a metal axle, get, if possible, a blacksmith to help you. Have the axle cut off about a foot from the hub and sharpen it to a point. Into the middle of the small end of the pole bore a two-inch hole six inches deep and drive the axle into it. Then have an iron collar shrunk around the pole to prevent it from splitting. An all-metal wheel and axle is better than a wooden one.

Cut the manila rope into four lengths of fifteen feet each, and with copper wire or by splicing attach the four ropes to the hub. Knot each rope every two feet from the bottom for a distance of six or eight feet. Set the pole securely four feet in the ground in concrete. Cover the hub with a tin shield to protect it from the weather. Have the ground around base of stride free from stones.

How to use the giant stride: Catch hold of the rope, start to run around the pole, and the momentum will soon take you off your feet.


Caron Dunn said...

I see now that before you all became so litigious in this country, you were a wild and crazy bunch! shooting airguns in the house into that big homemade target! If I was a mum back then this page would have been accidentally eaten by mice.

Castle in the Air said...

It's actually from Mr. Marsh's childhood bookshelf!