This is a set of 34 jackstraws. These jackstraws are made of ivory and were used as a toy or game. These specific jackstraws were brought from China to Maine by Captain Oscar Eaton. Jackstraws is a game of both chance and skill. When playing this game, the sticks are held then released and the objective of the game is to remove a stick one by one without disturbing the other sticks in the pile. This game is also known as “pick-up sticks.” It is believed by some that this specific set of jackstraws was used as entertainment for children who were on a ship and didn’t have many other sources of entertainment. It is also said that while onboard ship, children were expected to behave properly and remain quiet, which made simple amusements like jackstraws a perfect option for child’s play.

Credit: Christian Tripodi