Although some authorities believe curling to have originated on the Continent, there is better evidence that it had its beginning in Scotland where it has been played for about four centuries.
It is played on ico, a suitable stretch of a length of 42 yards being necessary, but a suitable rink not less than 32 yards in length can be used. The ico should be hard and smooth, keen and clean as the players call it.
Two tees are drawn on the rink at a distance apart of 38 yards, and around each tee three concentrio circles are marked, the innermost having a rndius of 2 ½ feet, the middle circle a radius of 4 feet and the outer one a radius of 7 feet. These circles, called the house, are drawn by an implement called the tee-ringer. One-sixth of the length of the rink from the tee, a line called the hog-score is drawn.
The game is usually played by sides of four players in opposition, and each player is supplied with two curling-stones, sixteen stones in all, the object being to send the stones as near to the tee as possible, and incidentally to obstruct the curling-stones of the opposing players.
The stones are flattened polished disks of granite or other hard stone, each furnished with a handle which can be fitted to either side of the stone, and weighing usually from 35 lb. To 40 lb., bub in no event more than 44 lb. The circumference of the stones may not be more than 36 inches, and in height they must not be less than one-eighth of the circumference.
The players send down a stone alternately, from an iron footboard called a crampit, situated just behind a tee. When all of the sixteen stones have been played the score is taken, all stones of one side, within the outer circle, that are nearer to the teo than the nearest of the opposing side, counting one point each. Although an extremely rare ocourrenco, it is possible for one side to score eight points in one innings, or at one head. Any stono that fails to cross the hog-score is a hog, and has to be removed from the rink. Stones which pass right through the house are also dead and have to be removed,
As in the game of bowls, a bias can be given to the stones, but whereas in bowls the bias is actually in the bowl or wood, in curling it is imparted to the stones by the player giving it a twist in sending it down the rink. By this means it is possible to avoid an obstructing stone, or guard.
An important part of the game is sooping, or sweeping, which is undertaken by the players on the instruction of the leader or skip of each side. The sooper sweeps away the ice-dust from before the stone while it is in motion and thus prolongs its progress.