History of Curling

The game was played on frozen marshes in Scotland, using “channel stones” that had been worn smooth by the action of water, while the Dutch curled on the same frozen canals where ice skating flourished.

As with golf, the question of where curling was “invented” will probably never be answered, but the Scots certainly have to be credited both with developing the modern version of the sport and with promoting the game in America.

Scottish immigrants organized the Royal Montreal Curling Club in 1807 and the Orchard Lake, Michigan, Club in 1832. The Grand Caledonian Curling Club (later the Royal Caledonian Curling Club) was founded in 1838 at Edinburgh to become Scotland’s national governing body and to standardize rules for international play.

A branch of the Royal Caledonian was established in Canada in 1852 and the Grand National Curling Club of America, also an affiliate of the Royal Caledonian, was founded in 1867.

However, curling was primarily a local and regional sport until 1927, when the first Canadian national championship was held. A tremendous growth in the sport after World War II led to the founding of the U. S. Women’s Curling Association in 1947, the first U. S. national championships in 1957, and the organization of the U. S. Curling Association, a federation of 125 clubs, in 1958.

The first world championship tournament was held in 1958. Canadian teams have dominated the event, which is now conducted by the International Curling Federation (ICF), founded in 1966 and based in Edinburgh.

There are more than 30 nations in the ICF, which estimates that about 2 million people worldwide regularly participate in curling.

Curling has been a demonstration or exhibition sport at several Olympics. It became a full-fledged Olympic sport at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.