The earliest known crokinole board was made by craftsman Eckhardt Wettlaufer in 1876 in Perth County, Ontario, Canada. Several other home-made boards of southwestern Ontario origin, and dating from the 1870s, have been discovered since the 1990s. It seems to have been patented on April 20, 1880, in New York City by Joshua K. Ingalls.
Crokinole is often believed to be of Mennonite or Amish origins, but there is no factual data to support such a claim. The reason for this misconception may be due to its popularity in Mennonite and Amish groups. The game was viewed as a rather innocuous pastime – unlike the perception that diversions such as card playing or dancing were considered "works of the Devil" as held by many 19th-century Protestant groups. The oldest roots of crokinole, from the 1860s, suggest the British and South Asian games are the most likely antecedents of what became crokinole.