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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Color of Curling Stone Handles

A Club member asked:  "Have the handles on the curling stones always been red and yellow?" Secondly:  "Why are they red and yellow?"

Red and White handles were the most popular.  I am told that someone somewhere did a study to determine which colors people were able to distinguish at a distance.  Red & White were predominant.  White has been replaced by Yellow (or Maize) because it shows up better on TV coverage against the white ice background. 

Full Lexan (plastic) handles have been around since the mid-1970s.  Prior handles were chrome plated iron.  They had the capability to change a plastic colored insert to a variety of colors.  Secondly the leather or plastic washer between the handle and the stone could be a different color.

Let us not forget that prior to the 1940s most people owned their own pair of stones.  Identification could be engraved wooden hands; decals on the rock or something homemade - like the deer antler handle below.

When we go back further in time, we find that brass handles had little means of identification.  Though at in this time-frame ‘my pair’ probably differed quite a bit from ‘your pair’.  Iron stones have the advantage that they can be repainted from time to time.


The oldest stones were handmade.  You could just chisel your name or initials into the rock.

Another means to individuality, is to tie a ribbon or a bow on the handle.  This was very popular at ladies’ and mixed bonspiels in the 1950s thru the 1980s.

But wait!  The only reason stones are identified is for the spectators.  The skips can tell which is which and whose is whose.  The person delivering the next rock doesn’t really need to know.  The skip says:  “Take this out”; “Tap this stone”; “Come around this one”.  As the thrower I shouldn’t care whose stone it is.  I should just do what the all wise and powerful skip tells me to do.

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