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Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Switch to Granite

The Orchard Lake Curling Club in the 1830s used wooden curling stones for lack of granite.  The Detroit City; The Granite and The Thistle Curling Clubs in Detroit during the same time-frame used iron stones.  The iron stones were at least 15 pounds heavier than the wooden blocks.  Below is a picture of an iron stone once used in Detroit.  It is currently in storage at The Detroit Historical Society.  (Just a tad rusty).

The switch to granite stones began in 1868 when members of the Detroit Thistle Club began to “rapidly substitute their barbarous cast-iron decoy-duck, teapot looking amazements with real stones, polished out of the hardest granite, obtained from experienced makers in Gault County, Waterloo, Ontario.” 

Today curlers around the world cherish the granite from Ailsa Craig.  But, in 1868 one author wrote:  “A few specimens of Ailsa Craig stones have recently been introduced to the ice.  They are tolerably keen runners, but light in proportion to their bulk”. 

The concave bottom or running surface of the stone was not proposed until the 1870s.  So, the first stones (iron and granite) in Detroit were the flat bottom variety. 

My, oh my.  How times have changed.

Good Curling, Angus.

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