Question About 1830s Game


Well-Known Member
I have a family heirloom from the 1830s, a spool cabinet. The cabinet was made by my 4th (or 5th?) Great Grandmother's student, as a forfeit to some game they played at the little Ohio schoolhouse where she taught. There's a note from my 2nd great grandmother, but she failed to mention what game they played. I'm assuming something like checkers by the looks of the "winning" game piece:

Game Piece.JPG

Spool Cabinet.JPG

I've tried to find information about games that were played during that time, but haven't found anything.

The spools are held in place by square nails.


Well-Known Member
That's spool cabinet is a really interesting piece! As for the game it's hard to tell based off of such a nondescript piece. Backgammon is another possibility.


Well-Known Member
Thanks, that makes a lot of sense, because backgammon would be more of a tournament game than checkers, and backgammon dates back five thousand years.

From what I just found it sounds like they would have used a teetotum instead of a dice for playing backgammon in the 1830s.


Board games:

"Chess, checkers, and backgammon have been pastimes for older children and adults for hundreds of years. In the 1800s, new board games became popular. They were designed to be played by the entire family.

Teetotum - When people played board games in settler times, they did not use dice because dice were associated with gambling. Instead they used a teetotum, a top with numbers along the side. When the teetotum stopped spinning and fell on its side, the number facing up was the number of moves the player was allowed to make."


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