Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Now, for something completely different....

Now, for something completely different.  It seems funny that I use the most modern of technology: iMac and internet to share my love of all things retro.  My home was wi-fi, hi-fi, cell phones, 2 lap tops, an iMac, an iPad, Wii and a very very old playstation.  I am not gloating, its just the way life has evolved.  My job like many others,  requires a computer and a phone.  When the internet goes down work grinds to a halt.  My daughter expects to play on the computer, the iPad, or the Wii - I might add her time on these things is rationed!!!  She taught me to play Angry Birds.  I taught her to play Solitaire.  She is teaching me to play tennis on the Wii.  I am teaching her to sew and she can knit very neatly.  However like many children of her generation she knows more about technology and entertainment than either of her parents, almost single-handedly set up the Wii, assisted with the iPad set up, can play all 3 games on my old cell phone, and is mastering Angry Birds.   

I should also add, that as much as she loves technology, one of her favourite toys is a wooden dagger and sword made for her by her Daddy.

So when my mother asked me if I wanted an old game from my childhood I had my doubts about whether it would be of any interest.  Well, was I in for a surprise.

Here it is: a skill ball game made by Chad Valley which used to below to my mother's older sister.  My mother can date it from around 1950.  

Skill Ball by Chad Valley - game instructions

I remember playing this as a child - in the 1970s - in the hall way.

Skill Ball by Chad Valley dating from around 1950 and still used in 2012!!

I also recall that we lent it to the Church Fair one year.  For such a simple game it is a lot of fun.  I have spent quite a while googling "Chad Valley" and Skill Ball but have not found any other games exactly like this one.  Chad Valley also made Teddy Bears and other toys. 

Essentially the aim of the game is to roll a ball into one of the coloured holes.  Scoring is based on the colour of the 4 balls and the colours of the holes.  Our lounge is not very big, so we only have a couple of metres for the "green".  There is a wedge at the top which is on a screw which turns so you can prop the game up slightly.  This makes the balls "sit" in the holes, and if you get enough speed on your ball you can make it go right around the top of the game and come out like a bagatelle.  

The four accompanying balls are of different colours - red, blue, green and yellow - and are hand turned so they are not perfect spheres.  Coupled with the normal bits and bobs which are on the carpet at any time, this means that accurately getting the ball in the coloured hoops is more difficult than you would think.

Have you any favourite toys from your childhood?  


  1. I've never seen that game before, but it looks great (wood not plastic, halleluhyah!). we dont have any of our toys from childhood, mum was a big thrower-outer, but i always really loved matermind (i think because it was the only one i could beat everyone at!) x

  2. This looks like a really great game!

  3. Chad Valley toys hail from Birmingham, less than 7 miles down the road from me! Most of us 40-somethings grew up with their games in the UK. x

  4. O,I'm rather envious of your Osti frock last post!!!
    I hadn't heard of this Skill Ball game!! I remember loving Mouse Trap as a 5 year old,otherwise I've always loved good old Monopoly.Can't think of any games that aren't board games that I was into........there must have been some!!! XXX


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