Little Bits of History

What a Yo-Yo

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 20, 2010

Patent drawing for the new toy

November 20, 1866: James L. Haven and Charles Hittrick of Cincinnati, Ohio receive a patent for improved manufacturing of a toy called “whirlgig” which was an improved bandalore.  This is important for two reasons, the first of which is it led the way for patenting the process and improvements of the manufacturing of items. The second is that it brought the world’s second oldest toy to the United States.

Only dolls predate this toy, which shows a history dating back to at least 500 BC where there are vases of Greek design showing a boy playing with it. In the early nineteenth century, the French called the toy a bandalore while the English called it a quiz. The toy consists of two equally sized and weighted discs held together by an axle to which a string is wound.

There are unsubstantiated rumors that the bandalore was originally a weapon, at least in the ancient past. But the physics of the toy negate this. It is simply a toy that has traveled around the world and stood the test of time. Usually enjoyed by children, those same children can become very adept at its control and execute tricks with the whirlgig.

A Filipino-American named Pedro Flores began with a handful of handmade toys in 1928 in California. He turned his business into a successful operation and a year later had two factories with 600 employees turning out 300,000 units daily. The next year, Donald D. bought the concern for $250,000 – depression era dollars, a truly vast sum of money. Although the toy was never a weapon Mr. Duncan who marketed the toy as Duncan Yo-yos made a killing.

“Toys were lots of fun before they became capitalist tools.” – Beth Copeland

“The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.” – Sam Levenson

“The intellect is a very nice whirligig toy, but how people take it seriously is more than I can understand.” – Ezra Pound

“Of audiences: they were really tough – they used to tie their tomatoes on the end of a yo-yo, so they could hit you twice.” – Bob Hope

Also on this day, in 1992 part of Windsor Castle burned. Part being about 100 rooms.

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