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MR: Hoop game

Poster: edh@ascc01.ascc.lucent.com (Alfredo el Bufon)

I happened across this definition in the OED:

  The graces (= F. _le_jeu_des_graces_): a game played
  with hoops and pairs of slender rods, so called
  (according to Littre) because it develops graceful
  movement of the arms.  One of the players takes a
  hoop upon two rods, held one in each hand; he then
  draws the rods rapidly across each other, with the
  effect of sending the hoop into the air to be caught
  by another player on his pair of rods.
  1842 A. Combe _Princ._Physiol._ (ed. 11) 185
    The play called the graces is also well adapted
    for expanding the chest, and giving strength to
    the muscles of the back.
  1855 in Ogilvie, Suppl [1871 M. Collins _Mrq_&_Merch_
    III vii. 189 The younger members...were laughing
    over a game of _les_Graces_.]

Now, it happens that I own a game that seems to fit
this definition perfectly; I bought it from a mail-
order company called "World-Wide Games".  They called
the game "French Hoops", but my wife and I usually
refer to it as "Florentine Circlets".

The hoop provided is _exactly_ like the inner part
of an embroiderer's hoop.  The rods are wooden dowels
that taper to a blunt point on one end, rather like
stout knitting needles (the other end is set in a
lathe-turned handle).  I have sometimes brought this
game to events on the principle that it was likely
re-invented throughout history wherever embroidery
and knitting was done near children.

My question is:
Is there any reference to this game (by some other name)
before the XIXth century?

Perhaps someone with access to the online OED can
do a search for definitions that include "hoop"
and "rods", or something like that; it is possible
to do that with my hard-copy OED, but very time-

-- Alfredo
Alfredo el Bufon
Elvegast, Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
   -- Dr. Robert Schuller

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