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?

A&P Coffee Can

Coffee fuels my preservation thoughts. I love coffee. And yet, hopefully I’m not the only one who did not know that coffee used to come in a can that required a key to open said can. Am I (aside from my youngest sister)? Hmm. What kind of self respecting coffee addict aficionado am I? I must study. When my mother sent me the image below, I wasn’t quite sure what she was talking about. Behold, the unopened coffee can with a key.

Drip Grind A&P Coffee.

The top of the coffee can. It


The bottom of the coffee can. That key comes with the can and it fits in the metal tab on the side.

The side of the coffee can. The key fits into the black spot. Once opened, you have a reusable lid.

Aside from the fun retro factor, my mom is wondering a few things about this coffee can.

(1) When did companies stop making such cans?

(2) How much would something like this be worth?

(3) Does anyone have any information about such cans?

(4) Do you think the coffee is still good?

Ha! Just kidding on that last one; Mom will keep this for fun in her kitchen. She remembers them in the 1950s and 1960s, but not after that. If you could help us out – if you happen to a true coffee aficionado, please fill us in. (These photos are from a cell phone, but if you’d like better quality images, let me know.)

We like to know the stories of our belongings. Who has a good theory as to why this was never opened?

Enjoy! And thanks!