What is Jacob's Ladder?
Jacob's ladder can have different meanings in German (maybe
in English, too). It can also be
|Jacob's ladder is an old toy made of six blocks of wood,
which are connected by ribbons.
If you take only the top piece and turn it, then the pieces
under it turn alternately to the left and to the right and fall down. This
is surprising. The event repeats, if you turn the top piece upside down.
- ladder to Heaven (1.Moses 28,12f.)
- a plant
- a ladder of ropes and round wooden bars
- a composition by Arnold Schönberg
- a painting by Ernst Wilhelm Nay
|- a quilt pattern
| - a figure in a string game
|If you put two blocks on each other, then they have two
hinges. You can open them on the left or right. How does it work?
|Perhaps you should make a simple model with two pieces
to understand the mechanism. You take two CDs, which you connect with insulating
tape as shown in the drawing.
|You must only stick together the last ends (in the drawing
green for good eyes).
These two ways of folding
are made possible by ribbons, which connect the pieces. Either the two
ribbons (blue), or one ribbon (red) work as a hinge.
|If you would like to make Jacob's ladder, you must have
six blocks of wood. You can hear it clicking only with wood. You can use
ribbons of cloth or synthetic material. The measurements are up to you.
If you connect the pieces, you have to leave some space between the blocks
so that they can fall.
Again: Only glue the short ends.
|A game bought in Crete/Greece has the measurements
8.0cm x 4.7cm x 1.0cm. The ribbons of cloth are 1.5cm wide. There is a
distance of 0.3cm between the blocks.
The scan on the left shows the pile of six pieces.
You see the smallest faces 4.7cm x 1.0cm.
|There is another version of Jacob's ladder with eight
Each block is formed by two halves. The glue places are
Shapes of the
six blocks top
|Shapes made of the six blocks are interesting to small
children. With imagination you can recognize a snake, a giraffe, a horse,
and a house. There are more shapes.
|If you form a cap with Jacob's ladder and move the vertical
blocks up and down, you get waving ears
(Thank you Michael).
Ladder on the Internet top
Claudia Buchczik (kidsweb.de)
Wood Craft Arts
to make the Jacob's ladder
Rüdiger Thiele/Konrad Haase: Der verzauberte Raum,
Urania Verlag, Leipzig, Jena, Berlin 1991 (Seite 16/17)
Rüdiger Thiele/Konrad Haase: Teufelsspiele, Urania
Verlag, Leipzig, Jena, Berlin 1991 (Seite 14)
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page is also available in German.
1999 Jürgen Köller