in the preface
and the verses of a poem by Henry Adamson
The game was (and still is, in Scotland and Scottish-settled regions like southern New Zealand)
Is also known as “the roaring game” because of the
sound the stones make while traveling over the pebble
(droplets of water applied to the playing surface).
The verbal noun curling is formed from the verb curl, which describes the motion of the stone.
In the early history of curling, the playing stones (or rocks)
were simply flat-bottomed river stones
that were sometimes notched or shaped;
the thrower, unlike those of today,
had little control over the stone,
and relied more on luck than on skill and strategy.
because of the variance and inconsistency
found in the size of river stones,
the velocity of so-called ‘curls’ varied hugely.
The stones they used were the heavy stone weights from the weavers’ “warp beams,”
fitted with a detachable handle for the purpose.
Many a wife would keep her husband’s brass curling stone handle on the mantelpiece,
brightly polished until the next time it was needed.
A key part of the preparation of the playing surface is the spraying
of water droplets onto the ice, which form pebble on freezing.
The pebbled ice surface resembles an orange peel,
and the stone moves on top of the pebbled ice
As the stone moves over the pebble, any rotation of the stone
causes it to curl to the inside or outside.
The amount of curl (commonly referred to as the feet of curl)
can change during a game as the pebble wears; the ice maker must monitor this
and be prepared to scrape and re-pebble the surface prior to each game.
The curling stone (also sometimes called a rock
in North America) is made of granite
… .weight between 38 and 44 pounds.
… maximum circumference of 36 inches
… a minimum height of 4.5 inches
The granite for the stones comes from two sources: Ailsa Craig
an island off the Ayrshire
coast of Scotland and the Trefor
Granite Quarry in Wales.
Ailsa Craig is the traditional source and produces two types of granite,
Blue Hone and Ailsa Craig Common Green.
Blue Hone has very low water absorption,
which prevents the action of repeatedly freezing water from eroding the stone.
Ailsa Craig Common Green is a lesser quality granite than Blue Hone.
In the past,
most curling stones were made from Blue Hone
but the island is now a wildlife reserve
and the quarry is restricted by environmental conditions that exclude blasting.
The last “harvest” of Ailsa Craig granite
by Kays took place in 2013, after a hiatus of 11 years;
2,000 tons were harvested,
sufficient to fill anticipated orders through at least 2020.
Trefor granite comes in shades of pink, blue and grey. The quarry supplies
curling stone granite exclusively to the Canadian,
The only part of the stone in contact with the ice is the running surface,
a narrow, flat annulus or ring, 0.25 to 0.50 inches
wide and about 5 inches (130 mm) in diameter
The sides of the stone bulge convex down to the ring
and the inside of the ring is hollowed concave to clear the ice.
A handle is attached by a bolt running vertically through a hole
in the centre of the stone.’
The handle allows the stone to be gripped and rotated upon release;
on properly prepared ice
the rotation will bend (curl) the path of the stone in the direction
in which the front edge of the stone is turning,
especially as the stone slows.
Handles are coloured to identify each team;
two popular colours in major tournaments being red and yellow.
In competition, an electronic handle known as the eye on the hog
may be fitted to detect hog line violations, the game’s most frequent cause of controversy.
The curling broom, or brush, is used to sweep the ice surface in the path of the stone,
and is also often used as a balancing aid during delivery of the stone.
Prior to the 1950s, most curling brooms were made of corn strands
and were similar to household brooms of the day
Modern curling brush handles are usually
instead of a solid length of wooden dowel
These hollow tube handles are lighter and stronger than wooden handles,
allowing faster sweeping
and also enabling more downward force to be applied
to the broom head with reduced shaft flex.
Curling shoes are similar to ordinary athletic shoes except that they have dissimilar soles;
the slider shoe is designed for the off foot (or sliding foot) and the non-sliding shoe for the hack foot.
The slider shoe is designed to slide and typically has a Teflon sole.
It is worn by the thrower during delivery from the hack and by sweepers
or the skip to glide down the ice when sweeping or otherwise traveling down the sheet quickly
The non-sliding shoe, or hack foot shoe, is worn by the thrower on the hack foot
during delivery and is designed to grip.
It may have a normal athletic shoe sole or a special layer of rubbery material applied
to the sole of a thickness to match the sliding shoe.
The toe of the hack foot shoe may also have a rubberised coating on the top surface
or a flap that hangs over the toe to reduce wear on the top of the shoe
as it drags on the ice behind the thrower.
Other equipment include:
- Curling pants, made to be stretchy to accommodate the curling delivery.
- A stopwatch to time the stones while sweeping to get a feel of the speed of the stone.
- Stopwatches can be attached either to clothing or the broom itself.
- Curling gloves and mittens, to keep the hands warm and improve grip on the broom.
More to follow…this is the most I can absorb at one time…
before the curling begins, hope to learn the rest !