Jacob's Ladder (toy)
A Jacob's ladder is a folk toy consisting of blocks of wood held together by strings or ribbons. When the ladder is held at one end, blocks appear to cascade down the strings. However, this effect is a visual illusion which is the result of one block after another flipping over. Its name Jacob's Ladder comes from the biblical ladder to heaven, mentioned in Genesis 28:12.
The earliest known review for the Jacob's Ladder is a 1889 Scientific American article which tells how it is built and works. Despite urban myths prevalent on the internet, there is no known documentation dating it to King Tut's tomb or ancient Egypt or to the Pilgrims. It has been theorized that its origin is from a Chinese falling-block toy, called "Chinese blocks".
The Japanese polymath Hiraga Gennai 平賀源内 (1729–1779) constructed a Jacob's ladder which later came to be called "Gennai's Wondrous Click-clack" (Gennai no fushigina katakata 源内の不思議なカタカタ).
Read more about Jacob's Ladder (toy): Construction
Famous quotes containing the words ladder and/or jacob:
“O, when degree is shaked,
Which is the ladder of all high designs,
The enterprise is sick. How could communities,
Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities,
Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
The primogeniture and due of birth,
Prerogative of age, crowns, scepters, laurels,
But by degree stand in authentic place?
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And hark what discord follows. Each thing meets
In mere oppugnancy.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“As for me, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are now only the subtlest imaginable essences, which would not stain the morning sky.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)