Tiddly Winks; what’s in a name?

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Golf is tiddlywinks played while standing up and wearing a hat. — Florence King, American author

This isn’t tiddlywinks, where you flip your tiddly over another player’s tiddly and an old man winks at you because he thought it was a good move. This isn’t that at all. — Jack Handey, "This Is No Game", The New Yorker, January 1, 2006

Tiddlywinks – A game in which players try to get small plastic discs into a cup by pressing one piece against another to make it fly through the air. – – Cambridge Dictionary
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I never think about Tiddly Winks; do you? So, why write about it? Probably because I never think about it and maybe think that I should. After all, its been around since 1889 and it does call for some skill, I mean there is a learning curve. So, here is what I found out.

The name Tiddly Winks or Tiddlywinks derives from the combination of "Tiddly" which apparently was once slang for a small thing and "wink" which of course indicated a sly, amusing secret. Whatever the background, when it took off in the 1890s,  trademarked as TIDDLY-WINKS, it did so as a major fad among adults (note that the hand on the box as imaged above appears to be that of an adult). It eventually became a game associated with small children who (I one of them) generally played it poorly because they lacked the commensurate fine motor skills.

There is, however, still an adult following as can be attested to by the existence of NATwA, the North American Tiddlywinks Association.  In addition, there is also an ETwA, English Tiddlywinks Association, as well as, I suppose the ultimate authority, the IFTwA, the International Federation of Tiddlywink Associations. In addition, there are a number of competitions with the London Open taking place this coming September at The Turk's Head in Twickenham.

I think the Toy Association should invite the Tiddlywink federations to hold a world championship during Toy Fair in New York. It would add an element of fun and remind us all that child's play and adult's play really aren't so far apart.

 

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