Since the 1870's crokinole players, especially in rural communities, have gathered around
kitchen tables for evening fun. Crokinole, a popular social activity for the entire family,
encouraged co-operation as players made suggestions on various possible moves. People
realized that unlike some activities such as card games, which were associated with gambling,
crokinole was a clean game suitable for family enjoyment.
This game, relatively unchanged since the 1870's, continues to provide enjoyment for all
seasons and all ages. For one family in the heart of Mennonite country in south-central
Ontario, crokinole has become an integral part of their roots. In 1970 Manasseh Martin first
began crafting circular crokinole boards one at a time. These boards provided many wholesome
hours of camaraderie and competition for his family and friends. Manasseh's boards became
very popular and soon this hobby was far-reaching. At the age of 83 Manasseh, upon
retirement, encouraged his son to continue the craft.
Willard worked with his father for 3 years (1990 to 1993) learning the finer points of making a good, high quality crokinole board. In 1993 when Manasseh retired, Willard began the crokinole game board manufacturing on his own as his Dad had taught him.
Willard worked on creating a crokinole board with professional features and has been making the WILLARD brand since 1997.
Four generations of Martins playing crokinole.
Clockwise from top: Manasseh, granddaughter Heather, great granddaughter Victoria, and son Willard