According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Mr. Adler was born in Chudnik, Poland, in 1914. When the Germans invaded in 1939, he moved to the area of Poland dominated by what was then the Soviet Union. Sent to a Siberian labor camp, he worked as a lumberjack in Irkutsk for four years, then spent two years in Stalingrad.
After the war, he spent four years in a displaced-persons camp before migrating to the United States in 1949. Afterward, according to Rabbi Fred Kazan, the spiritual leader of Adath Israel, where Mr. Adler was the sexton, Mr. Adler would always say he was 49 years old ``because my life began when I came to this country in 1949.''
(August 12, 1998, Andy Wallace, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER)
Here are Mr. Adler's dreidels - starting with my favorite one made from a golf ball from the Bala Golf Club. (These images are published with permission from the NMAJH and may not be reproduced without their consent).
Here are a couple Myer Adler dreidels currently available on Ebay:
Myer Adler references:
4 plastic dreidels available on Ebay
If you are interested in other ideas for ways to make wood dreidels take a look at these links:
- Making Wood Driedels
- Wooden Dreidel (these directions are missing a few steps - but you can get the idea)
Learn more about antique lead dreidels here...
For more about dreidel top variations - check out my posting on dreidels from around the world.
What is nerdier than an adult that plays dreidel?
One who spends 10 years inventing a new dreidel game! (me)
Introducing... STACCABEES™ an exciting all wood dreidel game for ages 6 and up.
Buy it at www.staccabees.com
Here are some of the basics:
- It involves a little strategy, a little luck, and a lot of poise - be the first person to stack all of your cubes and you win.
- It's an all wooden game made of responsibly harvested North American hard wood.
- Game pieces were assembled by a 100-year old company in Maine.
- STACCABEES™ takes about 20 minutes to play.
- The game is for ages 6 and up, but adults who've played it so far think it's really fun.
- Light weight, durable and portable, STACCABEES™ is easy to tote around to holiday parties and .
- STACCABEES™ can be used for fundraisers. Please email me for details.
After a long search he found a tool and die maker who designed the world's only existing draydel casting machine. Lead is heated in a steel ladel till it melts. The molten lead is then poured into the closed mold. After 15 seconds, the lead sets, at which point the mold is opened and the hot draydel is removed. A good operator like Fannie produced about 75 draydels an hour. The first year was a great success and the exultant duo sold 25,000 lead draydel at 2 cents each, for a total of $500.00 Hallelujah! Life for Asher and Fannie was looking up.
According to the New York Times, Ktav now sells 400,000 dreidels every year. I'm guessing that not of these are lead :).
Cast dreidels are generally well made because the shape of the piece can be precisely controlled. Unfortunately, many of todays cast plastic dreidels are sold with a part line going right across the tip of the dreidel. A part line is the line between the two sides of the casting molds where a bit of material always oozes out. This can be removed but these are cheap dreidels so this extra work is skipped. In contrast, dreidels cast of sterling silver, pewter, brass, bronze, nambe or any other more expensive material typically have had the part line removed - and are are more likely to be well balanced.
Lead is out of vogue these days not only because its more expensive than plastic but also because of health concerns. The dreidels below are remnants of a past era!
Lead Dreidel supposedly from Eastern Europe, late 19th century. Top and bottom are decorated with engraved ornamentation. Measurements : Height: 4.2cm. / 1.65in. Weight : 17.8g. / 0.57oz. Price: $750 (as of 12/16/08). Available from Pasarel.
This vintage Israeli lead dreidel , was hand made by a jewish artist in Israel. Along with the letters are Words in Hebrew that state that the dreidel used to belong to the Bialik school.
Height: 2.54cm/1in. Diameter: 1.25cm/0.50in. Price: $49.99 (as of 12/16/08). Available from Mir-El Antiques.
This early metal dreidel measures about 1" high and about ½ inches in diameter. Each Hebrew letter is embellished by a Star of David. It is unpolished. Price: $35 (as of 12/16/08). Formerly available on Ebay.
These dealers have received a positive review from a reader of this blog who purchased dreidels from them.
I have not heard any reviews about these dealers.
Also useful are these general ebay searches:
Apparently there are lots of fakes available on ebay and the internet - so beware! If you do purchase an antique dreidel, the best way to get help authenticating it is to contact a reputible antique judaica dealer.