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Le Diable

We found the period description of this toy interesting. The name we use is French but the Spanish form would be El Diablo. The translation is "The Devil" but the American Boy's Book of Sports and Games (1864) declined to provide that translation.

Playing with the toy is easier to show than to describe. To start, the hourglass shaped piece (we'll call the rotor) is placed on the ground so that the long axis is parallel to the groud. the sticks are held in each hand and the string hands down in an arc. The string is then slipped under the rotor and the string tightened until it is under the narrow part of the rotor. The toy is then lifted off the ground and balanced on the string. By lifting one stick higher, the rotor will begin to spin. To keep it spinning, the lowest stick stick is jerked quickly up and the highest stick is lowered at the same time, thus becoming the lowest stick. This new lowest stick is now raised again to spin the rotor some more.

The instructions that accompany the toy mention that, if the rotor falls off the string either forward or backward, you need to adjust how you are holding the sticks. If the string is not exactly perpendicular to the axis of the rotor, the rotor will fall off the string.

After learning basic spinning, the user can get fancy and do some tricks, e.g., tossing the rotor in the air and catching it again on the string. Obviously, such manuvers take some practice!

The rotor is about 3 1/4" long and about 2" in diameter. The sticks are about 11 1/2" long.

The cost of le diable is $6.25

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