Vintage Fun: Balla-Rolla

Happy Labor Day! Barbecues, backyard parties, friends, family and some games are probably on the agenda for many. Today’s games are often ladder golf, corn hole (or some beanbag toss), bocce, badminton; but what about some of the more classic games like croquet? And as a kid who else loved hula hoops (or still loves hula hoops)? Pogo sticks? Skip-it? How about this one: a Balla-Rolla.

A Balla-Rolla. Stand on this board, atop a cylinder and balance.

The Balla-Rolla was made by Carrom Industries, Inc. in the 1950s and 1960s.  (See this blog post by Rue 21 for additional photos and information.) The Carrom Company began in 1889 and continued to make board games and other amusements throughout the 20th century. Here’s a decade by decade history.

Close up of the logo. The drawing depicts how to use this toy.

The instructions say: “Roller is set at center in frame under platform. Place one foot on low end of board, other foot on high end and then start balancing.” Simple enough, right? Well the concept is simple, but the balancing takes a lot of practice. Just ask my sisters and my cousins.

The board has a textured surface to help you with your balancing act.

For those interested in the underside: the cylinder rolled back and forth in the frame.

We had a lot of fun using this toy over the years. For as long as I can remember, my sisters and I would play with it in my aunt & uncle’s basement, standing next to the bar or a wall to give ourselves additional training balance, while trying not to fall into anything. Unfortunately, we no longer have the cylinder (it was swiped from my sister’s dorm room) so if you know of a replacement option, let me know.

What vintage toys do you have or remember? Can you find them today? Would you re-introduce these toys to your family and friends?