Curling History

The origins of curling are unknown with claims for both Scotland and Holland,
in which evidence appears to favor Scotland. The game dates to the early 16th
century. Paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in the Low Countries dating from
about the same time are evidence that the game was also played there, but it was
Scotland that promoted the game worldwide. The Grand Caledonian Curling club
dates back to 25th July 1838 when the Grand Caledonian Curling Club was formed
in the Waterloo Hotel, Edinburgh – John Cairnie of Curlinghall, Largs being
the first president. The Queen graciously granted the Club the title of the
Royal Caledonian Curling Club, following a visit, which her Majesty and the
Prince Consort made to Scone Palace in 1842. On that day, the Earl of Mansfield
gave his Royal visitors a demonstration of curling on the ballroom floor. The
principle object of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club is

“To make sure that the Royal Club has branches and affiliated associations
and clubs in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France,
Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa,
Spain, Switzerland, United States of America and Wales which all look to the
Royal Caledonian as the mother club.” (Millport, 3)

The rink is 44m (49 yards) long and 4.7m (5 yards) wide. The houses are 3.7m
(12 feet) in diameter, their centers being 34.7m (38 yards) from each other. The
stone weights and average of 18.1 kg (40 pounds) and cannot exceed 19.9 kg (44
pounds) with a circumference of not more than 91.4 cm (36 inches) and are
concave on both sides. The height averages about 11.4 cm (4.5 inches).

Teams of four compete in bonspiels (competitions) on a rink. Each player
curls two stones per end (round), with the players alternating by team. A game
usually lasts 10 ends, played in alternating directions. Players not involved in
delivering or sweeping should stand along the sides of the sheet, well out of
the play. When you finish sweeping, walk along the sides of the sheet as you
return to the hogline at the throwing end. Only skips and vice-skips (third,mate)
are allowed to congregate behind the tee line. They should stay still and ensure
their brooms are not on the ice when the opposition is preparing to throw. At
the conclusion of an end, all players should remain outside of the rings until
the opposing vice skips have agreed upon the score.

There is a lot of necessary equipment that a curler needs to compete. To be
able to deliver a stone correctly, a curler requires a proper sliding shoe: one
having slick, low friction material, that covers the whole sole and heel. There
are various slider types available. Some are made of hard; durable, synthetic
materials, which are very “fast,” others, are made of a softer material
which tend to be “slower.” The sliding shoe can only worn on the ice, as if
it is worn off the ice it will get damaged. While the slider is very essential,
it is also important that the non-sliding foot is equipped with a surface that
will grip the ice well to ensure proper balance. Grippers are soles made of a
pebble type of rubber, or those made of a soft crepe like rubber.

Before the 1980’s the common tool used in Canada to sweep was most
exclusively the corn broom, or a broom modeled after the corn type. During the
80’s the brush increased and is now used by over 95% of Canadian curlers. The
initial reason for the chance of brushes rather than brooms was due to the
success at the National and International level of competition by a few of our
best curlers. Most brushes are made with either hog hair or horsehair. Hog
hairbrushes are slightly more durable and higher in cost. Synthetic brushes are
available and are becoming more popular with curlers today. The synthetic
brushes are usually made of nylon fabric that covers the brush head.
Manufactures have also introduced different handle shapes to make sweeping with
a brush easier and more effective.

Brush heads come in a wide variety of sizes. The most common being six or
eight inches (15-20cm) in width. The smaller the brush head, the greater is the
pressure that has to be put on the ice. The usual width for an offset-handle
brush is ten inches (25cm). Brush handles come in different sizes but common
dimensions are forty-eight inches (2.8cm) in diameter.

The choice of gloves is important, as they provide warmth and protection for