What is Skittleball?

“Devil Amongst the Tailors” or “Skittle Ball”

On 15 August 1805, a play called The Tailors: A Tragedy for Warm Weather, was presented at a London theatre. The local tailors took exception to this satire on their craft, and thousands rioted, both inside and outside the theatre. Constables were helpless against the overwhelming odds, so a troop of Life Guards was called. Sixteen prisoners were taken and the rest dispersed. The Life Guards did their job so effectively that it was likened to a skittle ball ploughing through the skittles. Thereafter, the game of Table Skittles was often referred to as ‘Devil Amongst the Tailors.’ In the picturesque name, the ‘devil’ refers to the ball and the ‘tailors’ are the skittles.

Rules of the Game:

  1. The game may be played by any number of players.
  2. Assemble the board as illustration herewith when the chain should allow the ball to clear the edge of the frame.
  3. The block should be placed so that the ball just touches the top right-hand skittles.
  4. The ball is to be propelled forward outside the pole from the left-hand corner of the board so that it strikes on the return swing.
  5. Each player is to have three turns and each pin knocked down counts one point. 101 points being recognized as a complete game. Should any fallen skittles remain on the board, they should be removed before the next swing is taken.
  6. Should any player knock down the whole of the nine skittles with his first or second swing, he is entitled to a full board for his second or third swing.
  7. To win a game, the exact number of 101 must be scored, e.g. the player having 99 points with one throw to go, must only score 2.