Robert Eisenstadt's
Antique Gambling Chips &  Gambling Memorabilia Web Site



Put and Takes/Teetotums Timeline in Pictures


Click here to see my main Put & Take web page.


100 B.C.
ptBoneTeetot032412.jpg
Ancient.  "According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origin of the game of  "Dreidel" is the "Teetotum"  (drawing at the far left), a gambling top that was known in ancient Greece and the Hashemonean kingdom [the ruling dynasty of Kingdom of Judah and surrounding regions during classical antiquity, c. 140 and c. 116 BCE]. David Parlett, The Oxford History of Board Games, 1999, pages 29-30, states that the Teetotum was originally a cubic die threaded on a spindle so that only one of its sides where capable of showing after it was spun." Source: Virtual Museum of Games.

The picture to the right is from an auction in March 2012.
1500's

Dreidel.  In Germany in the 16th century, under the name "Kreisel" (to spin), the Dreidel evolved as a device to be used during the Hanukkah Festival - the Jewish festival commemorating the event that happened in Jerusalem in the year 165 BC.  Source: Waterloo.

Here are artistic/fanciful depictions of dreidels.  Note the one made out of a bullet.
1560

Teetotum.  A girl holding up a four-sided teetotum on Pieter Brueghel's painting "Children's Games" (1560).  Source: Wikipedia.

Here is the a link to the full painting.  The girl holding the teetotum is at the lower left.
1738

"Child with a Teetotum" (1738).  Giclee Print
by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin.

A Child with a Teetotum

Author : JEAN-BAPTISTE-SIMEON CHARDIN
Date :1738
Technique :Oil on canvas, 67 x 76 cm
Type :portrait
Form :painting
Location :Mus?e du Louvre, Paris

c.
1800













Put and Take.  Earliest  Put and Take I know of --  pictured here -- 18th-19th century, per auction house.  I thank Marianne Jager, of the Netherlands, for the picture of her ancient Put and Take spinner and the following informatrion.  She says, "In the Netherlands 18th 19th century they made spinners from silver, like in the picture. The letters and text are old Dutch. Lengh 3.2 cm, weight 6.8 gram
"The letters on each of the 6 sides:
A - only take
B - to pay
N - nothing to take
T - take
D - double put
S put."

She adds, "The letters on the sides are difficult to read, old fashioned Dutch," so she is giving an approximate translation. "Anyway, the letters stand for put and take, inclusive: nothing (spin again?) and double.... , like the spinners we all know. That much is for sure."
1920-
1940

Patents.  Click here to see five U.S. patents that were filed and issued for Put and Takes between 1920 and 1940.
1921
ptMovie032815.jpg 
Movie.  There was a "Put and Take" silent movie in 1921.

To the left is a glass slide, used in the theaters to advertise "coming attractions." It is an advertisement for that same upcoming Percy and Ferdie "Put and Take" 1921 Hollywood movie (actually a "comedy short") featuring Sid Smith produced by the Hallroom Boys Photoplay Inc.,  A Federated Exchanges Release.

Note that there is a white object on the table, pointed to via my red arrow.  It is a Put & Take top!
1921
ptNaugHead04_13.jpg
June 29, 1921 Naugatuck, [Connecticut,] Daily News.  Menace and craze of Put & Take has not reached Naugatuck yet.

Read full article here.

Highlights of the article"
no gambling arrests here yet for gambling "Chicago tops," also known as "Put & Take" tops.
the "Put & Take" "craze seems to be sweeping the country."  Some places have gone "loony" with the game.  Tops are being sold "by the thousand."
local high school students have returned from New York with such tops.
the tops can be "fixed" just as dice have been here. "A small manicure file" is used to shave certain sides to fix the tops.
the police will arrest those caught playing "Put & Take."


1921

Oct. 21, 1921 New York Times article on Put & Take menace. The New York Woman's Christian Temperance Union voted to "condemn" the spinners as "gambling."
1921

Article.  A full page in the Dec. 10, 1921, Illustrated London News -- picture and article entitled "PUT AND TAKE CRAZE : A SUBSITUTE FOR PITCH AND TOSS."

(Pitch and Toss: "Any number of players line up a fixed distance away from a wall. The players each take a coin of common denomination and take turns tossing them towards the wall. The objective is to toss the coins such that they land as close to the wall as possible. Some forms of Pitch and Toss require the coin to hit the wall to be a valid throw.

"In most variations this is a gambling game, with the winner collecting all the losing players' coins from the ground. Other variations include the game ending in "tips", where the player whose coin lands closest to the wall collects all of the coins and flicks them all into the air. Before the coins land, the player would shout "heads" or "tails" and be entitled to claim those coins landing the corresponding way. The remaining coins (if any) would then be gathered by the player whose coin landed second closest to the wall, who would repeat the tossing and calling of heads or tails. This process would continue until all the coins have been picked up."

[Lots of other rules if a coin lands at an angle against the wall, hits another coin, rolls after landing, etc.]  Source: Wikipedia. )

You might enjoy these links:
typed text of the bottom of this Illustrated London News page.
enlargement of the text at the bottom of that page.



1921
milwaulki article
"Ripley's Believe or Not" December 14, 1921  newspaper column and drawing  had some wrong historical information, but said, "Of course you play that new game of the spinning top called Put and Take?  It is the newest and latest craze to tempt our gambling instinct, and is all the rage all over the country.  Well, you will be surprised to know that it is one of the very oldest games in the world." Click here for larger picture of the "cartoon."

Here is the text of the article.
1921

Sheet Music.  Wonderful Put and Take theme on a sheet music cover, on eBay August 2009, bid up to $106.00.  I don't own it, came in second. "Sheet music. PUT AND TAKE is a song about gambling away his money playing Put and Take. Copyright 1921. 1/2" tear through all pages top left (in the "U"). Light fold in the center. Six pages."
1921
ptOneStp052513Sm.jpg
1921 One-Step.  Composition by George Linus Cobb  (1886-1942), American rag composer and Tin Pan Alley songwriter.  Click here to see the entire composition.  Click here to hear it!

""Put and Take" appears to celebrate that same-named ancient gambling spun dice game once played at home, in pubs or at social gatherings around the world. ... Although a little long, it may be interpreted as a descriptive composition reflecting the various aspects of the gaming with the dice/spinning tops in particular, placing the stakes, spinning the dice and finally winning or losing. Please take your pick!
Put and Take was published in Melody by Walter Jacobs, Boston, Massachusetts, USA."


1922
ptDukeLaw050413.jpg
NYS Duke law outlaws Put & Takes, April 14, 1922. Governor Nathan L. Miller signed the law designed to banish Put & Takes by specifically prohibiting the sale of any instruments in which there is an element of chance for winning or losing money.
(Article from The Cornell [New York] Daily Sun, April 15, 1922.)

Thanks to Marianne Jager for locating this and the other news articles on this page.
1922
ptNewZ052513.jpg
Advertisement (May 13, 1922) for Put and Take tops in New Zealand paper, "NZ Truth." 1921 and 1922 seem to be big years for the "craze," the term used here and elsewhere.  Note that the ad says 25 million of the tops were sold in "America." (Thanks to Marianne Jager for finding this ad and other items on these pages.)
1922
ptMerc042913.jpg
South Australian Christian Endeavour Union demands that Put & Take game be criminalized. June 1, 1922, The Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, June 1, 1922), p. 6.   The Union denounces the "craze." The article is quoted in full below:

"That harmless-looking little piece of metal, which has set Hobart, Australia, as well as other parts of the Commonwealth on a gambling craze, "Put-and-Take," is destined before  very  long to have prohibition applied to it by legislative enactment. In Hobart it has ousted cigarette-card throwing amongst the small fry, and it seriously threatens the "two-up" schools and even ladies' bridge parties. They are beginning to grip "Put-and Take" in South Australia, where, at a recent meeting of the Adelaide executive of the South Australian Christian Endeavour Union, a discussion on its evil influences brought from one speaker the remark that he had been credibly informed that a man had lost 60 in a few minutes. The game was played with a little metal spinning top. The side of the top which falls upwards indicates whether the player has to put or take.. The Rev. J. E. Creswell moved the following resolution, which was carried unanimously: "That this union, being of opinion that the game known as "Put-and-Take" is an insidious and dangerous form of gambling, requests the Attorney-General to obtain an opinion from the Crown Law Department on whether the game should be put under the present provisions of the Lottery and Gaming Act, and, if,not, that he take the necessary, action to have that done at the earliest moment; we also urge endeavours  to discourage in every way in their power the playing of the game." "
1922

"Put and Take," (1922; composer, Silberman; Conductor, G W Byng) delightful Music Hall-type ditty -- lyrics and instrumentals -- sung by Harry Fay.  You can hear it on YouTube here.

"Put and take, put and take, put and take, what a funny little game is put and take. First you lose, then you win; that's the time when you GRIN, then you have another little spin... .. Yes, that is the game that keeps you wide awake.  What a game, never fails, all the convicts in the jail, they all play put and take" -- words from the song.  You can read all the words to the complete song here.

Ubiquitous recording artist, Harry Fay made hundreds of records, mainly for Zonophone, Cinch, Parlophone and Imperial labels.
1922
ptPollardSm112612.jpg
Fanciful story of the "inventor" of the Put and Take top.  Maybe Pollard and his Birmingham, England, foundry were famous in manufacturing the tops in 1922, and the story grew as to him inventing them.

 Click here to see an enlarged picture.  Note the names on the sides of the tops at the top of the page.

Source: Excerpts from the Daily Express Newspaper as published in 1938 in book form. More specifically:  "These Tremendous Years: 1919-1938." A Daily Express Publication, London and Northampton, 1938, p. 42.

1922

Movie lobby card.  This is the only movie lobby card I know of that shows a put and take, and two are shown on the lobby card!  It is from the 1922 silent film, "Forsaking All Others."

Click here to see close up of the Put & Takes.   Nothing can be read from the lower left (white) put and take, but the upper right one's two sides can be read.  You can read them too if you look close -- "TAKE ALL" and "PUT 3."
1929

"Put and Take" jazz-swing musical composition.

Wow, click here to hear this YouTube jazz-gypsy swing sound  composition by Joe Venuti's Blue Four's  group: "Put and Take" (1929),  Eddie Lang on the guitar.  It is tune #4, side 2,  on the record label pictured to the left.

It is on Volume 7 of the Odeon Swing Music Series.

You may buy "Put And Take" on Google Play, iTunes, eMusic, and AmazonMP3.
1931

"Put and Take" coin-op trade stimulator by W. C. Steel Ball Table Co., 1931.  Source.

The top of the machine says "Test Your Skill For."  That is just an attempt to call it a non-gambling game, which would be illegal in most places at that time.  Uner that, in a circle, is the name of the game: "Put & Take."  Below that is, "Insert penny.  Push down on lever and release."  There are 8 sections on the large dial.  I can make out these sections: Take All (with star), P1, T3, P2, All Put, T2.... .  It looks like there are beads on a wire, below -- to keep score?  I see there is no auctomatic coin payout.  Not sure how it would work.
1934
ptPinBall083012.jpg
"Put 'n' Take" pinball machine.  1934 advertisement.  $57.50 for de luxe size: 42" x 10."  Says: 1 Ball, 1 Shot. ... Automatic Pay-Out ... Adjustable pay-out percentage ... anti-tilt,"  etc.
1938
ptPunch101814.jpg
N. Shure Co., Chicago, 1938 catalog page.

Offering Put and Take punch boards.
1956
ptSchlao013017.jpg

Game by  W. H. Schaper Mfg. Co. Inc., Minneapolis 11, Minn, copyright 1956. ... ... .. About 9 x 11 x 3".



2012 by Robert Eisenstadt
all rights reserved