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THE YOUNG TAXIDERMIST.—See page 298.


THE BOY’S OWN BOOK
OF
INDOOR GAMES AND RECREATIONS

A Popular Encyclopædia for Boys

BY

Dr. GORDON STABLES, R.N., C. STANSFELD HICKS, J. N. MASKELYNE,
Rev. HARRY JONES, M.A., Dr. STRADLING, Captain CRAWLEY,
Rev. A. N. MALAN, M.A., F.G.S., AND MANY OTHERS

Edited by G. A. HUTCHISON

WITH OVER SEVEN HUNDRED ILLUSTRATIONS

PHILADELPHIA:
J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.
1890.


ornament

[5]

chapter heading
boy with toy ship

In presenting to American youth this carefully-edited volume of home amusements, the publishers are happy in their belief that in the selection and treatment of the subjects chosen the Editor and the accomplished experts who have contributed to its pages have successfully combined, to a degree not commonly found in books prepared for the young, much sound scientific instruction and a large amount of that recreative amusement that seldom fails to awaken an interest both in the youthful mind and in the minds of “children of a larger growth.” In the language of the accomplished Editor, as expressed in his prefatory note to the English edition, the volume is “a veritable[6] recreative text-book, prepared by experts in their several subjects, and treated with sufficient amplitude of detail and thoroughness of exposition to render their respective contributions of very real and permanent educational value. Mere ‘rule of thumb’ is scrupulously avoided, and underlying principles are clearly and intelligently explained. The tyro is led on pleasantly step by step, and almost unconsciously learns many lessons that should stand him in good stead in the battle of life. The wealth of graphic illustrations—of clever pictures that really illustrate—is another and not, we think, the least noteworthy feature of the book.

“In the numerous and greatly diversified sections, it will be seen, the work is carefully graduated in the natural order—from the simpler to the more complex and difficult tasks. We have also endeavoured wherever practicable—as in the model-making chapters—to afford, by means of alternative plans, instructions likely to cause little or no tax upon the pocket, as well as some that necessarily involve more or less expenditure for tools and material. Thus, boys of all ages and conditions—at home or at school; with leisure and ample opportunities, or already closely engaged in the sterner duties of bread-winning; boys to whom a considerable preliminary outlay may be of trifling moment, and others who rarely have a shilling to spare,—may alike turn to the different chapters with the certainty of finding something for each, calculated to afford both pleasure and profit in those spare hours that are the gold-dust of time.

“It will be pretty generally admitted, we presume, that a pronounced characteristic of the age is the daily increasing attention given to Athletics and Technical Training.... This book seeks to give that class of instruction in the most attractive guise. The subjects in which boys naturally feel peculiar interest are skilfully treated by writers of proved capacity and aptitude for the task; and hence considerable space is devoted to those essentially boys’ topics that are not only of recreative value in themselves, but[7] incidentally afford invaluable training to eye and hand.... Nor is the moral and spiritual side of boy-nature overlooked. Games dominated by elements of ‘chance’ or ‘luck,’ as well as those of questionable or evil associations, are of course scrupulously ignored. But this negative claim to confidence is also supplemented by the positive influence exerted towards the building up of a true, robust Christian manhood. It were indeed a grievous thing if, while learning from this book how to use wisely many of the ingenious tools and contrivances described, any boy should neglect to learn how to control and direct to the most useful work in the service of God and of man the marvellous and complex machinery of his own moral and spiritual nature. To every reader, therefore, we make bold to speak that direct, manly word, that no true-hearted boy will resent. It is Dr. Cuyler, if we mistake not, who remarks that Samson builded better than he knew when he uttered his famous riddle, ‘Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness;’ for the pathway of life has many a lion in it, and our success and happiness depend not a little on the way we meet the foe. Thus Hedley Vicars encountered quite a shower of scoffs from his brother officers in the Crimean army when he was first converted. But he put his Bible on his table in his tent, and stood by his colours. Henceforth the lion was not only slain, but there was rich honey in the carcase when his religious influence became a power in his regiment. In the carcase of a slain temptation, also, millions besides Joseph have found delicious honey. ‘There is not a peril, or a trouble, or a spiritual foe of any kind but may be vanquished by the help of Samson’s God. Life’s sweetest enjoyments are gathered from the victories of faith. Out of slain lions come forth meat; out of conquered foes to the soul come its sweetest honeycombs. One of the joys of heaven will be the remembrance of victories won during our earthly conflicts.’ In Christ’s name and power, try it, boys!”

[8]

This volume will be followed by another, prepared on similar principles, devoted to outdoor sports and recreations; and the two, it is believed, will form a very complete encyclopædia of amusements adapted to the youth of all ages and circumstances.

J. B. Lippincott Company.

boy leaning against table

[9]

chapter heading
      PAGE
PREFATORY NOTE 5
SECTION I.
Gymnastics, Indian Clubs, Dumbbells, and Juggling with Balls.
CHAPTER I.—Gymnastics. By a Member of the London Athletic Club.
  I.— Preliminary Hints as to Dress, Diet, and Exercises without Apparatus 19
  II.— Exercises without Apparatus 20
  Leg Movements 21
  III.— Exercises with Apparatus 21
  The Horizontal Bar 22
  Hanging on the Bar and the Walk 22
  Breasting the Bar 23
  The Short Circle 23
  Getting on to the Bar 24
  The Leg Swing (Backwards) 24
  To Sit on the Bar 25
  Sit Swing (Backward) 26
  Hanging by the Legs 27
  The Clear Circle 27
  The Muscle Grind 28
  Hanging by the Toes 28
  The Hock Swing[10] 28
  The Upstart 29
  The Slow Pull-up 29
  Horizontal (Back and Front) 30
  The Splits 30
  The Long Swing 30
  Combinations 31
  The Parallel Bars 31
  Exercises 32
  Vaulting Horse 35
  Leg Spring 36
  Horse Jumping 37
  Saddle Vaulting 37
  Flying over the Horse 38
  The Hand-rings or Stirrups 39
  Climbing 41
  The Ladder 42
  IV.— How to make Gymnastic Apparatus. By Charles Spencer, Author of The Modern Gymnast, &c. 42
  Horizontal Bar 43
  Portable Horizontal Bar 44
  Lawn Gymnasium 45
  Portable Frame for Trapeze, Rings, or Swing 46
  Jumping Stands 47
  The Pan-Gymnasticon 48
  Other Useful Apparatus 48
CHAPTER II.—Indian Clubs and How to use them. By a Member of the London Athletic Club 50
  Weight of the Clubs 51
Hints as to Dress, etc. 53
Exercises for Light Clubs 54
Single or Heavy Club Exercise 58
CHAPTER III.—Dumbbells, and How to use them. By W. J. Gordon 60
CHAPTER IV.—Juggling with Balls. By a Practical Gymnast 68
  The Vertical Fall 69
The Inside and Outside Falls 70
The Parallel Fall 70
The Outside and Inside Fall from Right Hand to Left 70
The Horizontal Pass 71
The Double Vertical Fall 71
The Double Inside Fall 71
The Triple Pass 72
The Triple Over and Under Pass 73
The Single Over and Double Under Pass 73
The Shower 73
The Triple Shower 74
The Quadruple Shower 74
The Fountain 74
The Double Fountain 74
The Double Fountain Change 75
SECTION II.[11]
Model-making—Moving and Otherwise.
CHAPTER V.—Some Simple Models for Beginners.  
  I.— How to Make a Boat with a Screw Propeller. By F. Chasemore 79
  II.— How to Make a small Marine Engine for a Boat four or five feet long. By Frank Chasemore 81
CHAPTER VI.—The American Dancing Nigger. By C. Stansfeld-Hicks 94
CHAPTER VII.—Moving Models, and How to Make Them; or, ‘Drop a Penny in the Box and the Model will Work.’ By Frank Chasemore 97
  A Model Windmill 97
A Model Cutter Yacht 101
Dancing ‘Niggers’ 104
A Real Water-wheel 106
How to make a Cheap Clock 109
CHAPTER VIII.—How we Made a Christmas Ship. By C. Stansfeld-Hicks, Author of Yacht and Canoe Building, &c. &c. 111
CHAPTER IX.—Model Steam-Engines, and How to Make them. By Paul N. Hasluck, Author of Lathe-work, &c.  
  I.— Principles of the Steam-Engine 117
  II.— A Simple Toy Engine 120
  III.— Small Model Engines 123
  IV.— The Horizontal Engine 127
  V.— The Oscillating Engine 131
  VI.— Model Boilers and their Construction 134
CHAPTER X.—The Boy’s Own Model Launch Engine. By H. F. Hobden 138
CHAPTER XI.—The Boy’s Own Model Locomotive, and How to Build it. By H. F. Hobden 144
SECTION III.
Games of Skill, etc.
CHAPTER XII.—Chess—Single and Double, etc.  
  I.— Chess for Beginners.—By Herr Meyer 165
  The Universal Notation 165
  II.— A New Chess Game—‘The Jubilee.’ By Herr Meyer 171
  III.— Another Jubilee Game 172
  IV.— The Game of Double Chess. By the late Captain Crawley and Herbert Mooney 173
  Circular Chess 180
CHAPTER XIII.—Draughts. By the late Captain Crawley[12]  
  I.— All About the Game 181
  II.— The Losing Game 190
  III.— Polish Draughts 191
  The Openings 192
CHAPTER XIV.—Solitaire. By the late Captain Crawley 199
CHAPTER XV.—Fox and Geese. By the late Captain Crawley 202
CHAPTER XVI.—Go-ban. By Herr Meyer 204
CHAPTER XVII.—The Malagasy Game of Fanòrona. By W. Montgomery 208
CHAPTER XVIII.—The American Puzzles 212
CHAPTER XIX.—Some Minor Games  
  I.— A New Indoor Game 214
  II.— Knuckle Bones. By Captain A. S. Harrison 215
SECTION IV.
The Magic-Lantern, and all about it.
CHAPTER XX.—The Magic Lantern and all about it.  
  I.— Pleasant Hours with the Magic Lantern. By A. A. Wood, F.C.S. 219
  1.— All about Lanterns 219
2.— Various Kinds of Lanterns 219
3.— The Phantasmagoria Lantern 220
4.— The Euphaneron Lantern 221
5.— Dissolving Views 223
6.— The Lime-light 224
7.— Oxyhydrogen Jet 226
8.— The Gas and Gas-Bags 227
9.— Oxygen and Hydrogen 228
10.— Slide Painting, etc. 229
  II.— How to make a Cheap Magic Lantern. By Frank Chasemore 231
  III.— How to make the Slides for a Magic Lantern 240
  IV.— Revolving Slides for the Magic Lantern, without Rack-work. By F. Chasemore 245
  V.— Screen Frame for the Magic Lantern. By Frank Chasemore 247
  VI.— Magic Lantern for Opaque Slides. By W. J. Gordon 250
CHAPTER XXI.—How to make an Aphengescope, or Apparatus for exhibiting Photographs, Opaque Pictures, and Living Insects in the Magic Lantern. By Frank Chasemore 252
CHAPTER XXII.—Ingenious Adaptations for the Lantern. By W. J. Gordon  
  I.— Chromatropes and Paper Fireworks 257
  II.— The Lantern and the Kaleidoscope 259
  III.— The Lantern Praxinoscope 260
SECTION V.[13]
How to Build Boats, Punts, Canoes, etc.
CHAPTER XXIII.—The Building of the Swallow; or, How to Make a Boat. By E. Henry Davies, C.E. 265
CHAPTER XXIV.—How to Make a Canvas Canoe. By E. T. Littlewood, M.A. 273
CHAPTER XXV.—Canadian, Indian, Birch-Bark and other Light Canoes. By C. Stansfeld-Hicks.  
  I.— Canadian and Birch-Bark Canoes 279
  II.— Paper and other Typical Canoes 283
CHAPTER XXVI.—How to Build a Punt. By the Rev. Harry Jones, M.A. 287
CHAPTER XXVII.—Rafts and Catamarans, and How to Make them. By W. J. Gordon and W. W. L. Alden 291
SECTION VI.
Pleasant and Profitable Occupations for Spare Hours.
CHAPTER XXVIII.—Practical Hints on Taxidermy. By Lieut.-Colonel Cuthell  
  I.— Catching and Setting Butterflies 299
  II.— How to Cure and Set up a Bird’s Skin 302
  III.— On Preserving the Skins and Heads of Animals 305
CHAPTER XXIX.—Hints on Polishing Horn, Bone, Shells, Stones, Etc. By Gordon Stables, C.M., M.D., R.N. 308
CHAPTER XXX.—British Pebbles. By the Rev. A. N. Malan, M.A., F.G.S.  
  I.— The Pebbles and How to Find them 314
  II.— The Lapidary’s Bench 320
  III.— How to Polish a Pebble 322
  IV.— How to Cut a Pebble 325
  A Postscript 329
CHAPTER XXXI.—Graphs and Graph-making. By Theodore Wood 330
CHAPTER XXXII.—Cryptograph, or Cipher. By a Naval Surgeon 333
CHAPTER XXXIII.—Hammock-making and Netting.  
  I.— Hammocks and Hammock-making 337
  II.— Netting, and How to Net 339
CHAPTER XXXIV.—A Perpetual Calendar. By Herr H. F. L. Meyer[14] 342
CHAPTER XXXV.—How to make a Sundial. By F. Chasemore  
  I.— The Horizontal Dial 347
  II.— The Equatorial Dial 349
  Table of Minutes 354
CHAPTER XXXVI.—The Camera Obscura: How to make and use it. By Gordon Stables, C.M., M.D., R.N. 355
SECTION VII.
The Boy’s Own Workshop.
CHAPTER XXXVII.—Cardboard-Modelling and Wood Modelling.  
  I.— How the Reedham Boys make their Cardboard Models.—By the Head Master 361
  II.— A Home-Made Humming-Top 374
CHAPTER XXXVIII.—Artificial Wood: How to Make it and what to make of it. By the late Dr. Scoffern 375
CHAPTER XXXIX.—How to Make an Astronomical Telescope. By Frank Chasemore 380
CHAPTER XL.—The Kaleidoscope, and How to Make it. By W. J. Gordon 385
CHAPTER XLI.—How to Make a Portable Stage and Figures for the Living Marionettes. By F. Chasemore 388
CHAPTER XLII.—How to Make a Pantagraph 391
CHAPTER XLIII.—My Flagstaff, and How I Rigged it 393
CHAPTER XLIV.—How to Make a Pocket Compass and Timepiece. By F. Chasemore 396
CHAPTER XLV.—Wood-Working and Carving; or, Walking-Sticks and how to treat them 398
CHAPTER XLVI.—Cages and Hutches: and How to Make them. By Gordon Stables, C.M., M.D., R.N.  
  I.— The Tools and Materials—Useful Hints 403
  II.— Canary Breeding-cages, German and English 405
  III.— Nests and Nest-Boxes—The German method of Breeding—Hutches for Rabbits, Guinea-Pigs, Rats, and Squirrels 408
CHAPTER XLVII.—How to Make a Cage for White Mice. By W. G. Campbell 410
SECTION VIII.[15]
Music and Musical Instruments and Toys.—How to Make Them and How to Play Them.
CHAPTER XLVIII.—Musical Glasses and the Wood Harmonicon.  
  I.— The Glass Harmonicon 417
  II.— Musical Tumblers 419
  III.— A Wood Harmonicon 420
CHAPTER XLIX.—Æolian Harps, and How to Make Them 422
CHAPTER L.—The Penny Whistle, and How to Play it. By W. J. Gordon 425
SECTION IX.
Electricity, and How to Use it in Play and Earnest.
CHAPTER LI.—Curiosities of Electricity. By Dr. Arthur Stradling 431
CHAPTER LII.—The Leyden Jar, and How to Make it 434
CHAPTER LIII.—The Electrical Machine, and How to Make it 437
CHAPTER LIV.—A Storm in a Teacup 443
SECTION X.
Conjurers and Conjuring—Ventriloquism and Spiritualism, etc.
CHAPTER LV.—Mystery and Mummery; or, Houdin and the Arabs. By John Nevil Maskelyne, of the Egyptian Hall 449
CHAPTER LVI.—Ventriloquism, and How to Acquire the Art. By William Crompton 454
CHAPTER LVII.—Second Sight 457
CHAPTER LVIII.—Spiritualism at Home. By Dr. Stradling 470
SECTION XI.[16]
Diversified Diversions.
CHAPTER LIX.—Fire-Balloons and Gas-Balloons: How to Make and Use them. By the late Dr. Scoffern.  
  I.— The Principle of Ballooning 481
  II.— Fire-Balloons and their Construction 483
  III.— On Gases and Gas-Balloons 491
  IV.— How to prepare Hydrogen Gas 492
  V.— The Construction of the Balloon 493
CHAPTER LX.—Model Balloons and all about them. By a Professional Aëronaut and Balloon Maker 497
  How to make a Model Balloon 503
  The Netting 506
The Gas 507
Cost 508
CHAPTER LXI.—Smudgeography; or, How to Tell the Character by Handwriting 509
CHAPTER LXII.—The Ludion. By the late Dr. Scoffern 512
CHAPTER LXIII.—Mechanical and other Puzzles.  
  I.— Some Mechanical Puzzles. By F. Chasemore 515
  II.— Thought-Guessing 516
  III.— An Improved Ring-Puzzle. By Herr Meyer 517
  IV.— Aërial Rings 518
  V.— Bubble Blowing 520
  VI.— Marionettes 521
  VII.— Model Wrestlers 522
CHAPTER LXIV.—Keeping the Balance. By the Rev. T. S. Millington, M.A. 524

[17]

SECTION I.
GYMNASTICS, INDIAN CLUBS, DUMBBELLS, AND JUGGLING WITH BALLS.

[18]

workshop scenes

[19]

THE BOY’S OWN BOOK
OF
INDOOR GAMES AND RECREATIONS.


CHAPTER I.—GYMNASTICS.
By a Member of the London Athletic Club.

I.—Preliminary Hints as to Dress, Diet, and Exercises without Apparatus.

That fine old Latin motto, ‘Mens sana in corpore sano’ (‘A vigorous mind in a sound body’), has stood the test of years, and happily its truth is day by day more forcibly asserting itself. The feeling is becoming general that body and mind ought to be developed to the utmost, for they are both gifts to us, divinely bestowed, and for the proper use of them we are responsible.

The benefits of judicious exercise to the human frame cannot be over-estimated. In these days of sedentary occupations, it becomes an absolute necessity, an antidote, in fact, to the labours of the brain. By its use the balance between mind and body is preserved.

Irrespective of the increased health that gymnastics impart, and the spring which they give to the mind, they possess one great advantage, namely, that they endow the gymnast with presence of mind in difficulties. In positions of danger how much better chance of escape those who have trained themselves to use their limbs will have over those who have not!

Foremost as we stand among nations, it is surprising that such indifference should have hitherto prevailed with regard to the development of the body. In many continental countries (Germany and Switzerland more especially) gymnastics form part of a boy’s education; here, at any rate until quite recently, they were indulged in only as an accessory, and often without the aid and direction of an experienced teacher. Boys are allowed to enter the gymnasium, make their own choice of apparatus (and they generally select that which requires the greatest skill), and, in imitation of some expert gymnast whose performances they have witnessed, attempt feats far beyond their strength, which can only be successfully accomplished after a systematic course of practice. The result is often positive injury, and always discouragement.

As in other things, there is no royal road to gymnastics. The learner must begin with simple and gentle exercises if he wishes to acquire a graceful and easy style, increasing them in difficulty in regular degree, according to his strength and progress. The extra time and trouble devoted to the simple exercises, in which lies the groundwork of the most ‘taking’ feats, will be acknowledged to[20] have been well expended, and the acquirement of a cool, easy, and elegant style will prove sufficient recompense for having assiduously practised them.

The best material for dress is undoubtedly white flannel. A pair of trousers made to fit the legs tolerably closely, with plenty of room in the seat (not ‘baggy,’ of course), a close-fitting ordinary under jersey, minus the sleeves (to give freedom to the arms), and a pair of canvas shoes without heels, are all that are necessary for wear during actual practice. Add to these a loose jacket of medium thickness to slip on during intervals of rest, and you have your costume complete.

Upon the question of wearing a belt opinions are divided. Many gymnasts approve of it, and assert that it affords them support; but our view, in which we are confirmed by medical authority, is that artificial support should be avoided. All that is necessary is that the trousers should be made to fit well over the hips, with a waistband about 212 in. in width, and a strap and buckle behind. Be sure that the flannel is well shrunk (by immersion in water for about thirty-six hours) previous to making up.

Before proceeding to describe the exercises, we have a word to say with regard to the time at which they can be most beneficially practised. Let it be a golden rule never to attempt work directly after a meal. The digestive organs require time to fulfil their functions, and exercise upon a full stomach only impairs and weakens them. Food should not be taken immediately after practice; a short time—say half an hour—should elapse before eating.

It is of importance that these directions should be observed, for with impaired digestion the muscles, instead of being strengthened and developed by exercise, are really weakened and reduced, in consequence of not having received the nourishment which digestion alone can extract from food.

Light practice before breakfast may be taken with advantage, but a dry biscuit or crust of bread should be eaten on rising.

II.—Exercises without Apparatus.

No. 1. Place the heels together, toes pointing outwards, stand perfectly upright, as at attention, chest expanded. Raise the arms, and stretch them out in front, hands open, palms touching. Keeping the hands at the same level, throw them as far behind the back as you can. Do not bend the body. Continue this exercise until you feel you have had enough.

No. 2. Stand as before. Clench the hands and throw them out in front. Bring them back sharply to the sides, throw them out again, and continue.

No. 3. Again same position. Raise the fists to the shoulders, knuckles turned outwards, strike upwards. Bring the fists down again to the shoulders.

No. 4. Extend the arms at full length on each side, hands open, palms upwards. Bend from the elbow, bringing the tips of the fingers to the shoulders, then straighten out again. This is fine exercise for the biceps.

Now combine these four exercises, doing them in succession.

No. 5. Stand with the legs a little apart, toes pointing outwards. Arms straight, and hanging in front. Describe a circle in front of you with each hand, alternately keeping the fist shut and arms perfectly straight. First one way, the[21] hands going outwards, then the other coming inwards. Keep up this ‘windmill’ action for some time.

These extension exercises will give ease and pliancy to the arms and their joints.

Leg Movements.

No. 1. Place the hands on the hips, and stand upright, heels together. Raise each leg alternatively, as high as possible, straight out in front of you, toes pointed, leg perfectly still.

This should not be done too slowly, but with a slight swing, as in the act of kicking.

No. 2. In addition to the forward movement, swing the leg behind you, do not bend the body over, and mind your balance. Keep up this pendulum movement, first with one leg, then with the other, counting 1, 2, 3, 4. 1, leg out in front; 2, swing behind; 3, in front again; 4, foot to ground to first position; then do the same with the other leg.

No. 3. Stand as in No. 1, and throw each knee up alternately, endeavouring to strike the chest. Do not stoop forward. This exercise loosens the knee joints.

No. 4. When in the position described last, with the knee raised, throw the leg out in front, and straighten it before bringing the foot to the ground. This is part of No. 1.

No. 5. Stand as before. Now sink down slowly, as low as possible, raising the heels from the ground, knees bent at an angle, then rise again. Do this at least twenty times in succession. It will give it to you in the calves and thighs, but it is splendid exercise.

If you practise these exercises for about half an hour every day for a week you will be ready for the more advanced practice which we shall next describe.

III.—Exercises with Apparatus.

The exercises described in the last section do not by any means exhaust the list of extension movements that can be practised. They are sufficient, however, to form a groundwork upon which the reader may begin. Many other exercises will readily suggest themselves to him during practice.

If he has a few friends who will join him in them, it will prove mutually advantageous, the exercises becoming much less monotonous by being performed in company. One should act as director, standing facing the others, and setting the exercises, counting aloud 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on.

This system is practised at all the large gymnasiums, the ‘Mass Exercise,’ as it is called, commencing the evening’s work, and forming a very pretty spectacle. This is notably the case at the German Gymnasium, King’s Cross, where frequently as many as 200 gymnasts, standing at arm’s length from each other and obedient to the word of command from the leader, who occupies a raised platform in front of them, go through the extensions in unison and perfect time. The effect is unique, and must be seen to be appreciated.

After having become accustomed to these movements, they may be practised with light dumb-bells.

[22]

The pupil having passed through the preliminaries, and moulded himself a little into shape, we now proceed to describe the exercises with apparatus. Those on the ‘horizontal bar’ being among the most strengthening of gymnastic performances, and perhaps also the most varied and attractive, we shall treat of them first.

The Horizontal Bar.

Almost every boy is familiar with this apparatus, but for the benefit of the few who may be in ignorance, we give a drawing of it (Fig. 1).

horizontal bar

Fig. 1.

The bar or pole should be of ash, diameter 2 inches, length 6 feet. The more expensive bars have a steel core running through the middle, in which case the diameter can be reduced to 112 inches, and the length increased to 7 feet. This size is decidedly more pleasant for use, as a firmer grip can be obtained than on the thicker bars. The height of the bar from the ground of course varies according to that of the gymnast, who should be able to touch the lower side with both hands (the tips of the fingers) when standing raised on his toes. When hanging by the hands, the toes will then just clear the ground.

horizontal bar

Fig. 2.

Having adjusted the apparatus to the proper height, begin by

Hanging on the Bar and the Walk.

Jump up and seize the bar with both hands, knuckles upwards, the thumbs on the same side as the fingers. Remember (with the exceptions mentioned later on)[23] never to grasp the bar as you would a broomstick, but hook the hand over it. Let the legs hang perfectly straight and together, toes pointed.

Now ‘walk’ with the hands from one end of the bar to the other, and back again. Keep the body steady and avoid swaying (Fig. 2).

Breasting the Bar.

Hang on the bar as before, and slowly draw yourself up, keeping the shoulders square, until the chest is level with the bar (Fig. 3).

horizontal bar

Fig. 3.

Then lower the body until the arms are quite straight again, draw up again, and continue to practise until you can accomplish it from eight to a dozen times in succession. When breasting the bar, repeat the walk in that position.

horizontal bar

Fig. 4.

Now try swinging forward and backward, arms straight, increasing the height with each swing until the body assumes an almost horizontal position. When at the extent of the backward swing, the hands should be shifted slightly round the bar to recover the grip which the forward swing has lessened (Fig. 4).

horizontal bar

Fig. 4A.

Now in the backward swing release your hold of the bar and launch yourself away from it with a slight push and alight on your feet. This will accustom you to leaving the bar neatly and effectively (Fig. 4A).

The Short Circle.

Draw the chest up to the bar, throw the head well back, raising the legs at the same time (keep them straight), and get the toes over the front of the bar, pulling hard with the arms (Fig. 5). This will cause you to revolve half round the bar, and will bring you into position as in Fig. 6.

horizontal bar

Fig. 5.

horizontal bar

Fig. 6.







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  Copyright © Ronald Hunter, 2005. All rights reserved.
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