History of The Game



PICHENOTTE is generally associated with French-Canadians and French-Americans,
referring to any game in which the players ‘flick’ a game piece. Examples are the two similar square games of carrom and pitchnut and also the games with a round inner circle known as American Southwest Pichenotte or Canadian-American Crokinole. The latter two games feature a round inner playing surface, outer rails that are often circular or octagonal, a recessed center hole and playing pieces are not on the gameboard at the start of the game. The square games of  Carrom and Pichnut do not have a recessed center hole, and play begins with the playing pieces on the board.

CROKINOLE is generally associated with English-Canadians and English-Americans, referring only to the game with a round inner playing surface, and not the square games. The outer rails are often circular or octagonal.
The word ‘crokinole’ is probably derived from the French ‘croquignole’ which has several definitions, including ‘snap’ or ‘flick’. It also refers to a woman’s hair bun, and also to a type of biscuit or cookie. The oldest known crokinole board dates to around 1876, made by Meister Eckhardt Wettlaufer of Ontario, Canada. (See photo below)

KNIPS-BRAT is associated with German culture. It means ‘flicking board’ in German and is used by the Mennonites among others to refer to the game with a round inner playing surface.

Connections between CARROM and other flicking games.
It is very likely that the game of carrom was brought to Canada from Southeast Asian countries, and that folks experimented with it by adding post ‘hazard’s and a recessed center hole. In some cases, there were several recessed holes on the game boards.
CARROM yesterday and today
Carrom is an ancient game played on a square board with pockets in the four corners, that has remained popular and has a widespread professional following with many professional carrom tournaments hosted all over the world. The rules are standardized by the International Carrom Federation.
Many historians believe that from Carrom, there also evolved the games of pocket billiards ‘aka’ pool, snooker, pichenotte, pitchnut, crokinole, novuss, and knips-brat.

We are not aware of any documentation proving a single person invented pichenotte, crokinole or carrom. The games themselves are in the ‘public domain’, although some of the names are trademarked, such as PITCHNUT® owned by Lee Larcheveque and PICHENOTTE®, which we own. The games themselves are here to be enjoyed by all, for free, forever. The games probably evolved over time with people combining ideas from games like shuffleboard, curling, lawn bowling and billiards. Perhaps in the future evidence will be found that a single person invented a particular game. The bottom line is they are all fun games.

Games that players shoot for the center of the board:
Pichenotte, croquignole, crokinole, knips-brat, croki-curl, and skelly (played on the street)

Games that players shoot for the outer pockets of the board:
Carrom, pocket billiards, pool, and snooker

More Pichenotte History Facts:

In the mid 1980’s, our writer/scholar/brother Paul Lagasse came across an unusual photograph while working at the University of New Mexico  Center for Southwest Research in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is reprinted below with their permission.

Sen. Coffin & Great-Grandson 1900 Albuquerque |Pichenotte Games

“Senator George Coffin (Kansas) and his grandson, Percy Gillette Cornish, Jr.” Albuquerque, NM circa 1900

    The Museum shows an octagonal board and refers to it as carroms, but most knowledgeable game player are aware that the game being played is not carroms. It is called Pichenotte or Crokinole. We are working to get the caption corrected. In any case, we wanted to find out more about this photograph, at least partly because it was the very first time we saw the game being played by someone other than our family.

So we began our internet sleuthing. We found the The Quebec Museum of Civilization had documentation relative to the existence of pichenotte. The entry has since been removed, but it was shown with many spellings, back in 1999. Also known to them as ‘pichenolle’.  Apparently someone didn’t cross the “t’s”, since there is no such word as pichenolle in the dictionary. Or perhaps someone made up a new name.

We have since seen many spellings for Pichenotte:
Pichenotte – pronounced “peash’-nut”
Pichenette – pronounced “peash’-net”
Pichenolle – pronounced “peash-noal”
Pichenelle   – pronounced “peash-nel”
Pichenot   – pronounced “peash-noh’ ”
Pichenet   – pronounced “peash-nay’ “

At the Museum of Civilisation in Quebec, there is a round as well as square version of Pichenotte


The Pichenotte Parlor |Pichenotte Games

Our web-sleuthing also led us to our good friend, Wayne Kelly, who had written The Crokinole Book. Wayne passed away in May of 2016. May God bless him and his family……
He was an enthusiastic and never-ending generous source of information about crokinole. We traveled to meet him in Ontario in 1999 and participated in the first World Crokinole Tournament, where we donated several our boards to the first place winners and a few to our new found friends. They were most gracious in accepting those ‘crazy Quebec’ brothers from the American Southwest. ” Are you guys really from Mexico ?” …. We made lasting friendships. We didn’t do well in the tournament, but we had a lot of fun !

Among our favorite nostalgic family possessions is a ‘pichenotte’ board made by our Canadian grandfather, Lucien Rajotte. He grew up in Drummondville, Quebec and as a child, he played pichenotte on an octagonal game board. He moved his young family to Bristol, Connecticut in the early 1920’s and began operating a grocery store and managing an apartment building. He soon made a pichenotte board for off-hours fun, using wood slats from starch crates. You can still read the original stenciling on the back of the board.

Lucien's Board | Pichenotte Games

For many family occasions, the pichenotte board games were an event to look forward to, with all the bragging rights, fun, teasing and friendly competition which was sure to take place. Drinking a few beers was part of the fun. During the Winter Holidays, the board was in constant use by pichenotte players of all ages. Pichenotte Games, LLC is a result of our desire to pass on the tradition we grew up with to all who might be interested.
Hockey being a major sport and pastime in Canada, naturally our grandfather played in Quebec and Connecticut.
He is pictured on the right in the photo below.

Lucien Rajotte on the Right |Pichenotte Games

There seems to be a strong unspoken connection between hockey and pichenotte. Something about shooting a puck across a fast surface. Curling is another winter sport that is very similar to pichenotte. Skillfully sliding a large stone puck across the ice is a serious Olympic sport. And now, we understand, there is a new ice game called Croki-Curl, combining curling and crokinole.
For many years we didn’t know if our grand-father had invented the game of pichenotte, or where it might have originated. In some ways, it didn’t really matter, but we became curious.

Crokinole Game Cover |Pichenotte Games While looking up the name pichenotte, we came across a few other French synonyms like ‘chiquenaude‘, ‘croquet‘ and ‘croquignole‘. These words also mean “to flick” or “to strike”. Croquignole refers to flicking someone on or about the head. It seems the French had assigned unique names to flicking different parts of the body!  The ‘croquignole’ definition also led us to the game known as ‘crokinole‘, perhaps an Anglicized form of the word ‘croquignole’, this new word has been used to describe a game identical to pichenotte. It also is the word for biscuit and a woman’s hair bun.

Crokinole’s origins, myths and legends are well documented in a book by our good friend, Mr. Wayne Kelly of Ontario, Canada. The book is appropriately titled, “The Crokinole Book”. The third edition was the final version, and it seems to be out of print. For more information about the book, use the CONTACT PAGE for your questions.

Common spellings for Crokinole that we’ve seen:
Crokinole – pronounced – kroa’- ki-noal
Croquignole – pronounced – kroa’-kee-nul
Croquinole – pronounced – kroa’-kee-nul
Krokinole – pronounced – kroa’-ki-noal
Corkinole – infamous misspelling from turn of the century mail order catalog.
In some regions, the name stuck.

Wayne Kelly, father, author and entrepreneur
God bless him, Wayne passed away in 2016. His son Caleb is carrying on the business.

Crokinole has a much more documented history than “pichenotte”, as we were about to find out.
And the guy wearing the turban ? Well, he’s from India, where a game similar to pichenotte originated during the Mogul period, a game called Carrom.


Our board 1

That game known as Carrom is similar to pocket billiards. A square wooden board with four corner pockets; the object is to pocket all your carroms before your opponent does. You use a ‘striker’ or ‘cue’ piece to do that. And you shoot by flicking the ‘striker’. Carrom is often thought of as the precursor to pocket billiards or pool as we know it. Carrom has a world wide following with international standards and tournaments.

Traditional Carrom Game |Pichenotte Games

Carrom like pichenotte, has many spellings:
Carom – pronounced – kair’ -um
Carrom – pronounced – kair’ -um
Karum – pronounced – ka – room’
Karrum – pronounced – ka – room’
Karom – pronounced – ka – roam’

Do you have stories to share about the game, or questions ? Email or call us today !