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Jacob's Ladder Is Still a Fun Toy ... Even After All These Years

Updated on August 28, 2014

Jacob's Ladder


My First Jacob's Ladder

When I was a kid, my family spent a day of our vacation at Sturbridge Village in Massachuetts. This was one of those living history sites where visitors could walk from building to building and see a village functioning as it would have 200 years ago.

In a gift shop there, I spotted a Jacob's Ladder, and I begged my mother for it. It being 1987, and the toy being priced at $8, I was told no. My mother said it was just way too much money for a stack of wood. I accepted that. We didn't have much money, and I didn't ask for a lot.

We returned to our camper in the parking lot for dinner and my father went for a walk while my mother was cooking. When he returned a while later, he told me to close my eyes and put out my hands. When I opened them, I was holding the Jacob's Ladder, and I was so happy. He had walked almost two miles to get it for me from the other side of the park.

I still have that toy. And that memory.

Playing with a Jacob's Ladder

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5 stars for Jacob's Ladder

Even the Next Generation Loves It

Last week, I scored huge in a yard sale. At least in my opinion. I got a Jacob's Ladder for a quarter!

I decided I would keep it in my car. I like to keep things like in the pockets of my car doors for children or anyone who might be riding along to keep their hands busy. I already have things like medal puzzles, a Rubic's Snake, and some puzzle balls. I thought a Jacob's Ladder would be a great addition, especially at that price.

It's already a hit. My niece (8) and nephew (12) had a great time learning the tricks and ways of Jacob's Ladder, and actually chose to bring it into the restaurant and to the show to play with as they waited. I think I might just need to get a second one for the car!

It just goes to show, this toy is timeless.

Antique Jacob's Ladder with Optical Illusion

Why's it named a Jacob's Ladder? Who was Jacob, anyway?

This Jacob is the one from the Bible. Genesis specifically. Genesis 28:12 tells of a dream that Jacob had in which there was a ladder that went from earth into Heaven, and that there were angels ascending and descending on it.

Who actually connected the term with this toy is unknown, but you can see how a ladder may have been a natural name for it, being tall and skinny, separated into rectangles.

These toys have been around in various forms for hundreds of years. They are simple and easy to make, and yet mesmerizing with each use.


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    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 3 years ago from Perth UK

      My son has one of these - I think they're very special.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I don't think I've ever heard of the Jacob's Ladder toy before, but you certainly make it sound intriguing.

    • profile image

      Nancy Hardin 3 years ago

      Sounds like a fun thing to me. Much more imaginative than electronic gadgets.