Curling: History in Stone

music
ambience: general curling sounds, sweeping, shouts from team members

Curling was invented centuries ago. What started as an informal game has grown into an International Olympic sport with well-established rules. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Curlers slide smooth granite stones towards a bullseye on the ice trying to knock their opponents’ stones out of the way and get as close to the center of the target as possible. Peter Murphy is with the Ardsley Curling Club in New York.

“From what I know about curling, it began over 400 years ago on the ponds and lakes in Scotland. People would be sliding rocks around. When it came to the United States in about the 1860s, they had many different clubs and they curled on ponds and lakes all over the United States, where they froze in the wintertime. And it really wasn’t until the 1920s, when refrigeration came in, that real clubs came along that were in buildings that had refrigeration, so that they could have their own sheets of ice.”

And although the curlers no longer play on frozen ponds, the granite stones are one aspect of the game that hasn’t changed. For more than 240 years, they’ve used regulation stones weighing 42 pounds, and each one has come from Ailsa Craig Island, off the coast of Scotland. Curler Geoffrey Broadhurst explains.

“The Ailsa Craig is an old volcano, and there’s nothing there except this old volcano, They quarry the rock there, and it happens to be absolutely the hardest rock you can get. There’s no pores in it, and these stones can crash into each other, and there’s not a chip. These stones here have been going since 1967 and they’re absolutely in great shape. They don’t have any pores in it, so therefore the frost doesn’t get in there to chip the stones either, so it’s an amazing structure.”

More on curling in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Curling: History in Stone

What originated as a 17th century Scottish game of sliding rocks around on ice is now an international Olympic sport.
Air Date:10/27/2004
Scientist:
Transcript:


music
ambience: general curling sounds, sweeping, shouts from team members

Curling was invented centuries ago. What started as an informal game has grown into an International Olympic sport with well-established rules. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Curlers slide smooth granite stones towards a bullseye on the ice trying to knock their opponents' stones out of the way and get as close to the center of the target as possible. Peter Murphy is with the Ardsley Curling Club in New York.

"From what I know about curling, it began over 400 years ago on the ponds and lakes in Scotland. People would be sliding rocks around. When it came to the United States in about the 1860s, they had many different clubs and they curled on ponds and lakes all over the United States, where they froze in the wintertime. And it really wasn’t until the 1920s, when refrigeration came in, that real clubs came along that were in buildings that had refrigeration, so that they could have their own sheets of ice."

And although the curlers no longer play on frozen ponds, the granite stones are one aspect of the game that hasn't changed. For more than 240 years, they've used regulation stones weighing 42 pounds, and each one has come from Ailsa Craig Island, off the coast of Scotland. Curler Geoffrey Broadhurst explains.

"The Ailsa Craig is an old volcano, and there’s nothing there except this old volcano, They quarry the rock there, and it happens to be absolutely the hardest rock you can get. There’s no pores in it, and these stones can crash into each other, and there’s not a chip. These stones here have been going since 1967 and they’re absolutely in great shape. They don’t have any pores in it, so therefore the frost doesn’t get in there to chip the stones either, so it’s an amazing structure."

More on curling in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music