Alternative Name(s): American Jacks

Seven metal jacks with a small rubber ball (or taw), purchased in 1981. This is a typical form of jacks in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Jacks is an ancient game, dating back to prehistoric times. The first jacks were natural materials - animal bones, stones, seeds and shells, and when the game became a popular part of children's culture, manufacturers began mass-producing them from plastic and metal. In Australia, jacks are mostly shaped like sheep's knucklebones, but overseas there are also ceramic cubes and 'star'-shaped metal pieces. These stones are an example of the natural materials used by children to play jacks in the United States in the early 20th century.

Part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC). The ACFC is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklore across Australia and in other countries reaching back to the 1870s. The Collection has a strong component of research material relating to Victoria.

Physical Description

Seven metal jacks with a small rubber ball. The ball is white with blue, red and green marbled patterning on the surface. Each jack has six spikes, four of which have rounded ends like little balls. Four jacks are uncoloured, two are metallic gold-coloured and one is metallic red, though the colour is worn. All jacks are of identical size.

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