Yoyo history-the complete story you never knew!
The yoyo history is one of the most fascinating ones due to the fact that the toy is considered to be so old, being second only to the doll. In this article, I will present you the complete history of the yoyo from its supposed beginnings in Ancient China and Ancient Greece to the present(2019). I will also present some aspects related to the Diablo, a similar yoyo type.To see more about the yoyo name origins you can scroll down to Pedro Flores title.
How yoyos appeared in ancient China
The ancient Chinese yoyo has a history spanning almost two millennia. The first documentary mention or artistic piece that describes the fascinating bamboo toy is the “Rapsody of Kongzhu”( “Kongzhu Fu” original) by the famous general and poet Cao Cao(pronounced “Sao Sao “).
The name of Kongzu practically means “Hollow Yoyo” and is derived from this style of the yoyo.
He lived in the Three Kingdoms Era in Chinese history which spanned 6 decades from around 220 AD to 280 AD, more exactly from 155 to 220 AD.
The toy consisted of two bamboo cylinders with rectangular holes in them connected through another smaller cylinder with a gap in the middle/shaft on which the string sat.
The man/woman playing with this toy uses two sticks attached to the string. The left hand is raised than the right hand is raised and the left hand is lowered at the same time. The motion was repeated until the yoyo started spinning sufficiently fast to do tricks.
It also existed a one-sided version of the yoyo. What do I mean by that? There was just one large cylinder empty inside with rectangular cuts for holes in it. This part was tied to another thinner cylinder with a shaft for the string.
Playing with that yoyo was significantly harder, but not impossible. In fact, it was quite fun to play with.
The mechanics of the variation of Ancient Chinese yoyo is similar to the nowadays spin top.
One object-multiple names
There are so many names for the yoyo as there are many different denominations for the same object in different regions In China.
One of the most recognizable names related to Chinese yoyo is Kongzhong which means “Hollow bell” (for the one-sided version of the bamboo toy). It isn’t because of the one-sided configuration, but because of the whistling sound, this Kongzong makes when spun.
Other 2 popular nicknames for the yoyo derive from the ability of the toy to make sounds as it spins. The first one is the Xianghuang which means to “make the sound of the woodwind” making reference to the reed in certain instruments. The other name for the Chinese yoyo is Cheling meaning “pull bell”.
New yoyo models on the market
Newer Chinese yoyos are made of plastic because they spin faster, they don’t break as easy and don’t have problems when it is a bit of rain of them, unlike bamboo yoyos.
At Chinese festivals, you can purchase original bamboo yoyos and plastic yoyos depending on your taste.
Any option is OK, but the plastic one is better because of the reasons mentioned above.
The legacy of the Chinese yoyo continued and newer mentions of it appeared throughout the Ming Dynasty which lasted from 1386 to 1644. This humble toy was an integral part of Chinese culture.
Performers of this toy could be found on street entertainment in the Chinese festivals. It also was a popular pastime among people in the northern region of China during the springtime.
Since then, the yoyo has survived hundreds of years and has barely changed its appearance over time, the most important change was the material (plastic). Despite the changes, the traditional Chinese yoyo still remains popular today
Ancient Greece Origins
It is thought that the yoyos appeared even before the Chinese yoyos. The first ever mention of yoyos is thought to be around 500 BC more exactly.
The yoyo was a popular toy among Greek children. Although most of the yoyos were made of wood, no such objects have survived the test of time. There have been found yoyos of bronze or terra cotta but we, unfortunately, don’t know the original name of the yoyo in Greek.
As most of the yoyos preserved were made of terra cotta we can only suppose that these toys had a rather ceremonial role. The kids starting adulthood played down the object in front of a protective deity chosen by them.
A kid is depicted in on the vase supposedly holding a yoyo. Such vases and terra cotta discs can be found in the National Museum of Athens, Greece.
Not everyone agrees with the meaning of the representation of the yoyo. Some others like Doc Lucky Meisenheimer consider that the depiction is misinterpreted for another object present in Ancient Greek culture such as the Aryballos a rounded flask with the purpose of holding perfume into it.
Aryballos is on the vase, not a yoyo!
Photos have appeared with the pottery object displaying the “boy playing with a yoyo “ in numerous history books and yoyo history articles and the Museum of Athens continues to describe the image as representing a yoyo.
The lack of evidence for the existence of yoyos is outweighed by the plethora of examples of the omnipresent aryballos within the Greek society from more than 2000 years ago. The aryballos containing oil or perfume was attached to the leather cord.
There are some notable examples of aryballos depicted in Ancient Greek pottery like the ones below:
Other objects, such as bobbins, which had a decorative role from the start were also confused with an ancient yoyo. Note the two drills dug into the object for hanging it to the wall. It is clear that such an object couldn’t have done any tricks due to its fragility.
Two ceramic bobbins were discovered from 500 BC in Ancient Greece and have been mistakenly been described as yoyos. The fault most likely belongs to the archaeologist Ludwig Ross who lived in the 19th century/
He noted that the shape was similar to the bandalore (the predecessor of the yoyo and he thought that the picture onto the bowl was the definitive proof of the existence of the yoyo throughout Greece more than 2000 years ago. This error has been continued and spread until today.
Ross himself realized that something didn’t work with the theory because he couldn’t possibly understand the use of terracotta for making a working yoyo. The cylinder shaft didn’t have a hole for attaching the string to the yoyo as people living in the 19th century used to do.
The subjects depicted on bobbins put even more doubt into the use of the ceramic discs. Just look at the bobbin showing the Greek deity Eros! Why on earth would you put such thing on a children’s toy!
On 2 other similar objects, we can find depictions of “adventures with women on both specimens” as Otto Benndorf pointed out in his book “Greek and Sicilian” Vase Pictures.
Also, there is no clear evidence or documentation that the hypothesis of the ceremonial usage of the yoyos as the right of passage to adulthood is credible.
Plus bobbins were discovered in grave sites and one of them was found in a female adult hand. We can clearly see that the use of the bobbins was completely different than the use as an object of entertainment.
Doc Lucky also says that there is no substantial evidence for the affirmation that the yoyo is the second oldest toy in the world. Furthermore, it is thought that the whole greek story is just a marketing strategy that Mr Donald Duncan used when promoting the yoyos.
Introduction to Europe
French” bandaleurs” and the French Revolution
Many historians believe that the yoyos were introduced in Europe in the late 18th century by missionaries most likely coming from the Orient bringing new ideas to the table. Unfortunately, we don’t know many things about yoyos throughout the Middle Ages. This put the following question: “Were these toys present in the society but were poorly documented?”.
As we read old manuscripts before the 18 century we can barely know anything about the toy because the people in those times didn’t consider to document children’s past time.
The yoyo was very popular amongst noblemen in the 18th century. The most common name for the toy was “bandaleur”.The English used the name “bandalore” derived from French among with the term “Quiz” to identify the skill toy.
Other names included “l’emigrette”(leave the country ), Coblenz(City were French nobility refuged) and “Incroyable”(dandy name). These terms have an important connection with the French Revolution as the toy was trendy in the guillotine time.
When the peasant uprising/revolution started, the noble members of the aristocracy were executed by the guillotine. the Remaining nobility had to emigrate(“emigrette”) to other regions to be safe from execution. In their trip to safety, they also took their “bandaleur” to have fun with it and distress themselves.
The most iconic painting from the 18th century regarding yoyos was the portrait of Louis the XVII at the age of four playing with the emigrette. The yoyos made at that time were mostly made of ivory and brass and weren’t so durable.
There are other satirical cartoons of General Lafayette leading a procession of soldiers playing with yoyos and the general Mirabeau with the soldiers behind him flinging their emigrettes.
In 1792 the toy is also shown by the playwright Beaumarchais in “the marriage of Figaro” as a stress reliever. When asked what is the emigrette good for, Figaro responds “it is a noble toy which dispels the fatigue of thinking”.
Bandalores in England
The yoyos from France quickly spread to England firstly through the Peckham Fair in 1789 where quizzes were sold to people in the region.
Bandalores in English politics
Later on, the yoyos were referenced in political satire displaying adults playing with the toy as opposed to children who didn’t appear in drawings or other documents.
The English edition of the “The Travels and surprising adventures of Baron Munchausen” made reference to the yoyos as quizzes and the usage of it was called “quizzing”.
Just to cite the piece of writing, I will present it here” The matrons, instead of their tongues, had other instruments to convey their ideas: each of them had three quizzes, one quiz pendant from the string that sewed up her mouth, and another quiz in either hand. When she wished to express her negative, she darted and recoiled the quizzes in her right and left hand; and when she desired to express her affirmative, she, nodding, made the quiz pendant from her mouth flow down and recoil again.”
In 1791 a print depicting Prince of Wales, the future George IV whirling his bandalore circulated throughout England. The bandalore soon became known as Prince of Wales toy and began used by any person of fashion. This was partly due to the toy’s popularity and Prince George ability to sell
Two young lads terrify an old woman with quizzes(bandalores)
The toy’s popularity is shown as late as 1862 when an illustration appeared showing two young lads throwing their quizzes terrifying the older woman.
Philippines yoyo history
The story began more than 400 years ago when Spanish colonists first stepped foot on the shores of the Philippines in the 16th century.
Filipino historians recollect that spin tops were introduced to local tribes to describe the shape of the earth and show how it spins around its axis and ho it revolves around the sun.
It has also been believed that ancient Filipino hunters-gatherers would climb trees, wait for the animals to appear and then throw rocks or other objects tied to 20—foot-long cords at them. Then they repeated the process until they managed to hit the animal and successfully kill the target. However, there is no clear evidence to sustain suppositions.
The United States the introduction of yoyos from Europe
The date the yoyo was introduced to North America is unknown, unfortunately. However, the first mention of the toy was in a patent for a bandalore made by James L. Haven and Charles Hettrick for another kind of yoyo that introduced a central rivet to hold the two halves together.
Patent for yoyos
This aspect allowed the yoyo to be made of metal. The Bandalore term continued to be used most often throughout the US until the 1910s. Over the next 50 years appeared other patents for different variations of the original yoyo.
One model was described in the Scientific American Supplement called “Filippino Toys” and gave instructions on how to make such toy using the term “yoyo “ for the first time in an American publication.
The Filipino yoyo introduction to the US
In 1899 the Spanish conquerors were convinced to leave the Philippines by the US forces who offered them large sums of money for the island acquisition for strategic purposes in order to expand their area of influence in the Pacific Ocean.
After the acquisition process, the Americans started documenting the archipelago and the people living on it.
In the set of books “Our Islands and their People “ published in 1899, we learn that the Tagalog tribe had become modern under 300 years or so of Spanish occupation.
Later, there was set up the Philippine School of Arts and Trades with the intent of promoting the hand-carved wooden objects to the modern world through mass production techniques.
For example, the yoyos that were initially carved of Filippino Water Buffalo horns could be mass produced from a piece of wood sitting on a lathe.
Pedro Flores steps on stage
The name was forgotten and the bandalore name continued to be used until Pedro Flores, remembering the toy he played with when he was just a child, replicated the practices he mastered at the School of Arts and Trades and set up a Shop in Los Angeles.
Before launching his shop he started teaching the game to neighbourhood kids in San Francisco and then started the mass production of “Flores yoyos” in LA.
The new yoyo shape had a string gap so narrow that you could put just a thin string/loop around the yoyo axle and twist it rather than making a knot as people in the 19th century did.
This non-tethered cord allowed the yoyo to spin freely(to sleep) even though it didn’t last so long because of the friction between the string and the wooden axle.
Flores didn’t coin the term himself because there was the original name of the toy from the Philippines coming from the Tagalog tribe language.
The “yoyo” name meant “come-come” in Tagalog tribe language.
The term “yoyo” became trendy among the press and in the American culture in the 1930s.
Later, Flores started promoting his yoyos through diverse competitions, yoyo demonstrations that appeared throughout America.
He hosted the first yoyo contest in Santa Barbara California during 1928 which was only the starting point for the absolute craze that followed for more than 3 decades.
This yoyo madness made the yoyo one of the most popular toys in the 20th century. So popular that the famous magazine of that time Popular Mechanics published an article with the instructions for making the yoyo.
Later on, Flores obtained the trademark “Flores yoyo” in 1930 but he didn’t invent the yoyo himself or ever have a patent of the yoyo.
This patent confusion made some yoyo makers put on their seal” Pat. Pending “ as a discouragement tactic for other toy producers to not venture into the manufacturing of new yoyos.
Donald Duncan era
After a while, Pedro Flores sold his trademark and company to Donald F Duncan Compan which was a competitor for the Philippines man. Duncan needed the trademark from Flores in order to market his products as yoyos.
As a struggling entrepreneur, he had to pull some strings. He went to San Simeon mansion where the newspaper magnate Randolph Hearst lives.
Duncan has just started the business that manufactured yoyos and he needed a way to make his company know. He then entered a room to meet Hearst and explain to him the business idea.
Duncan detailed his plan to sell both newspapers and yoyos. Hearst’s newspapers would advertise you competitions where kids can win bikes and other sporting equipment. In return, Duncan would require 3 more subscriptions to the newspapers owned by Hearst as an entry fee.
The magnate liked the business plan and later on the public acceptance was outstanding!. A 30-day campaign In the newspaper in Philadelphia sold more than 3 million yoyos. Newspapers started publishing photos of yoyo celebrities like Jack Benny dangling yoyos from their fingers.
Duncan also hired a team of yoyo players to go around the world and promote the products. The Imperials, Tournaments and Butterflies were assembled crazy fast in the factories to face the exponential increase of the demand. Donald Duncan soon became filthy rich almost overnight.
However, he just refined the yoyo design. He discovered Pedro Flores in 1927 when began entertaining guests with the yoyos he learned to make in his native Philippines. Duncan just bought him out along with his trademark: Flores yoyo”.
In 1932 the US Patent Office issued Duncan a trademark for the term” yoyo” coming from the Tagalog tribe language meaning “come come”.
The competitors were thus forced to call their products differently. Such names were Whirl-a-Gigs, Cheerios or Royal Return Tops.
The royal company was formed in 1935 by Joe Radovan, a Philippino coming to the US who also was good friend with Pedro Flores.
He initially was a yoyo demonstrator for Duncan, but he left the company to form his own manufacturing facilities. He set up his yoyo company with Ruben Delagano in the industrial district of New York, purchasing real estate and warehouses.
The Royal tops sold in cheap stores and did product demonstrations near schools, directing the kids to the closest shop. The strategy worked and the Royal products were being sold in most of the locations like Duncan.
1962 was the best year in Duncan’s history. He managed to sell more than 45 million yoyos in a country with only 40 million kids.
After this year, Duncan filed suit against the Royal for the use of the word “yoyo”.the battle escalated to the US Supreme Court after 3 years with the decision made in Royal’s favour. The final decision was made about the slogan” if it isn’t a Duncan: it isn’t a yoyo”.in which Duncan defined the name of the toy as a yoyo.
After this expensive verdict, the Federal Court of Appeals stated that the trademark was invalid as the yoyo was the name for the toy itself.
In 1965 Duncan’s company was forced to file for Bankruptcy, drained by the legal expenses and advertising costs. What was left of Duncan company was purchased by Flambeau Plastics Inc which continues to manufacture yoyos.
Flambeau Inc. was founded in 1947 as a manufacturer of all kinds of plastic products. They entered the yoyo market by being contracted by Duncan to make plastic yoyos to slowly replace the wooden line of yoyos.
After the purchase by Duncan still remains a division of the Flambeau Plastics. The latter company is also owned by the Nordic Group of Companies.
Donald Duncan Jr who started his own yoyo company Playmaxx said that “The mistake we made was trying to fight the trademark battle. We spent thousands trying to keep it.”
Political facets of the yoyo in the ’60s and ’70s
In 1968 the antiwar activist Abbie Hoffman made a walk the dog yoyo trick while testifying before a congressional committee.
In 1974 President Richard Nixon visited Ray Acuff at Grand Ole Opry. Nixon learned how to throw the yoyo and do tricks and photos of him playing with the yoyo were released by the major media publications.If you want to see him playing with the yoyo you can go here.
Tom Kuhn innovations
He introduced the “No-Jive 3 in 1” take-apart yoyo. The man also produced the worlds largest yoyo at the time weighing around 240 pounds. This yoyo was listed in the 1981 “Guinness Book of World Records”.
Other design improvements
Playmazxx took the innovations further and brought a weighed rim design and brass axle for longer spin times. Mike Caffery released in 1984 the “Yomega yoyo with a brain”.
The Yomega yoyo possessed a clutch mechanism containing yoyo springs that brought the internal pieces closer to the yoyo centre, thus creating friction between the components and the yoyo axle. If the yoyo didn’t have enough spin, the system would rub and stop the yoyo from sleeping making it come back automatically to the player hands.
The first ball-bearing yoyo was manufactured by Svenska Kallagerfabriken which completely changed the way the yoyos play due to the increased spin time.
Coca Cola and Russel business partnership.
Russel Company was founded by Jack Russel, a professional yoyo player and he started to promote yoyos in partnership with Coca-Cola. He created another yoyo craze that swept across the globe in the 1980s.
In that period, Russel demonstrators took the craze to 95 countries and the most prominent trend was in the UK. All yoyos were reflecting the Coca-Cola company and other subdivisions of it like Fanta.
This wide manufacturing and promotion lead to less expensive and higher quality yoyos throughout the world. Aa a result of the yoyo craze, Coca Cola increased their sales and literally put their logos into the youth’s hands. In a ten-week campaign, there were sold more than 4 million Coca-Cola yoyos.
Coca-Cola video embed
Yoyos in space
A Duncan Imperial became the first yoyo in space on 12 April of 1985. It was part of an experiment series(“Toys in space “) to study how toys react in a microgravity environment.
It was observed that the yoyo doesn’t untwist itself when letting free(due to the absence of gravity). Just think about:’Where is the down in space?”.
The astronaut David Griggs needed to do a good throw to make the yoyo spin. The yoyo experiment was made in the Discovery Space Shuttle’s mission.
On July,31st 1992 a Silver Bullet yoyo was sent up into the space shuttle “Atlantis” for “Around the World “ ride. The astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman put the yoyo through zero-gravity manoeuvres.
That yoyo had a 3,321,007 mile trip and made 127 revolutions around the world before returning to the Earth.
The 1990’s-the yoyos are trendy again
The 1990s saw a resurgence of yoyos popularity to levels surpassing the yoyo craze.during his time yoyo contests appeared again.
One of the major changes in yoyo competition was the introduction of transaxle yoyos. These allowed for longer spin times which sparked the creativity among yoyo players.
The record sleep time for fixed-axle yoyo was 51 seconds and the sleep record from transaxle yoyo was 13 minutes and 5 seconds, which is a dramatic increase. This already great spin time record was broken by C3yoyodesign BTH yoyo model which spun for around 30 minutes.
The first modern National Yoyo Championships were held in Califonia in 1993, more exactly in Chico under the direction of Bob Maloney who later became the director of National Yoyo Museum in Chico.
Freestyle play was firstly introduced in competitions by Alex Garcia who won the freestyle championship at Us Nationals.
Late, the yoyo plays evolved with the introduction of offstring stricks in which the yoyo is no longer attached to the string. The usage of the yoyo is similar to the Diablo with the difference that there are no sticks used.
Another innovation in yoyo play was the introduction of “Freehand” play(5A) by Steve Brown. The yoyo string is no longer attached to the finger, but to a counterweight which may be a dice or a ball with a hole in the middle or a groove for the slipknot.
Yoyo Craze in the USA in 97’
The newer yoyo craze swept all across the US between 1997 and 1999 bringing the yoyo back into the children’s hands.
This time, the most popular yoyo models were from Yomega, Henry’s and Duncan. The Yomega Raider, fireball and X-brain.were the most popular models in that time.
Chances are that if you are 30 years old of age or so, you should have had at some time a Yomega Yoyo or at least a Duncan imperial in your childhood when you were in Elementary School.
You might have shown your latest tricks with your friends like Rock the Baby, Walk the dog. If you did the elevator yoyo trick or the Man on the Flying trapeze you were the best guy or girl in your gang at yoyo play.
Maybe you asked your parents at some time to buy a Turbo Bumble Bee yoyo which had each side coloured differently.
Why everything that is popular has to be banned at school?
From my intensive research, I found out that the kids in the ’90s were banned from bringing their yoyos to school. If you were one of those kids tell me down in the comments! It would be great to show more about your experience with yoyos
From the end of 1998 to 1999, there was announced the yoyo ban at the school assembly, probably because it happened that somebody was doing looping tricks and the string snapped and someone was hit and hurt.
In that time, kids used to play with the yoyos at school to teach each other how to do tricks or just to show off with their new fancy throw. Everyone needed to have a yoyo, otherwise, they were rejected from the group. There wasn’t the Internet to communicate so easily, YouTube was launched only in 2005, so they couldn’t watch any tutorials.
New things-New trends
The trend started to slowly die out over time. The things that meant the end of the yoyo boom were Pokemon and the Star Wars Phantom Menace)(+Jar Jar Bing). Like any other trend, the yoyo boom simply disappeared.
It was time for kids to play Pokemon on their Gameboy console or exchange between them Pokemon cards that appeared in shops.
The commercials for Star wars replaced the ones for yoyos. Those toys were replaced in stores with Star Wars merchandise and there was barely a sign of yoyo existence at all.
New companies on the rise-early 2000s
YoYoJam was a yoyo manufacturer in the US run by Dale Bell as a hobby. It entered the yoyo scene in 200 with Spinfactor yoyo and since then it has produced many yoyo models such as Dark magic and Big Yo.
Dark magic yoyo
The team of players for YoYoJam had reputable names such as Andre Boulay, Rei Iwakura and Ben Conde who used the yoyos and performed with them in competitions or demonstrations.
You might have learned how to do yoyo tricks from Andre when you were younger.
YoYoJam used the same yoyo bearing dimensions for all of their yoyos. The size of the bearing was so popular that other manufacturers made yoyos with “YoYoJam” size bearings.
The innovations brought by YoYoJam were the O-ring response system and annular metal weight rigs on plastic yoyos. Until 2007 YoYoJam models have been used in many competitions in the US and Worldwide. After that year, the YoyoFactory 888 series entered the market and YoYoJam became less prominent on the competition scene.
If you want to know who is Dale Bell go here and scroll down to the year 2015.
The founder Dale Bell eventually announced on the business Facebook Page that YoYo Jam would close its doors by the end of 2015 due to the fact that Dale had health issues. As the business was closed there are slight chances of getting one of those yoyos in any specialized online store.
This is a yoyo manufacturer that was founded by Benjamin McPhee and Hans Van Dan Elzen (YoHans) around 2003-2004. The first yoyo made by the company was the F.A.S.T 201 which stands for (Fully adjustable Starburst technology which allowed the yoyo to modify the height of the starburst system by twisting or untwisting the halves of the yoyo.
Later on, the YoyoFactory Contest Team was started and new competitions were launched.
Lately, Yoyofactory started a budget line for yoyos which cost from $40 to $60. To provide players with the best option for the price, unlike other manufacturers which sell yoyos starting from $80 dollars.
One Drop yoyos
The company was created in 2007 by Shawn Nelson and David Mets and they released their first yoyo model in 2007 called “The project” The One Drop yoyos are machined n Eugene, Oregon, USA. They decided to keep the quality of yoyo manufacturing by keeping their manufacturing facilities in the US and not outsource the production to China.
This has an effect on the price, increasing it, but the end result is top-notch and you don’t have reasons to complain about the high-quality yoyos they make.
The major innovation brought on the table by OneDrop was the SideEffects axle system in which you can change the axle and the hub to modify the weight distribution and the shape of the yoyo. These are all interchangeable for several models like the following ones:
- One Drop 54
- One Drop CODE1
- One Drop Dietz
- One Drop CODE2
- One Drop DANG
- One Drop Cascade
- One Drop Yelets
- One Drop/CLYW Summit
- One Drop/ILYY Sakura SE
- One Drop Chik!
- One Drop Benchmark Series 2013
- One Drop Gradient
- One Drop Markmont. Classic
- One Drop Benchmark Series 2014
- One Drop Downbeat
- One Drop Rebirth
- One Drop Terrarian
- One Drop Benchmark Series 2016
- One Drop Prescription
- One Drop Küntosh
- One Drop Legendary Terrarian
- One Drop 1to1
CLYW was started by Chris Mikulin and the National Yoyo master Steve Brown in 2004, the same guy who introduced Freehand Play.
ClYW is a premium yoyo company in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Chris uses his mechanical engineering expertise to create the most elegant yoyo designs and best performing yoyos in the world.
Such examples are the Borealis, Sasquatch and the Peak which are amazing throws for people who want to get the most out of a yoyo.
Now that the players had competitive yoyos it was time to win contests!
Memorable World Yoyo Contest Champions by division
He was one of 2 people to have won multiple 1A titles. His high-scoring speed tricks had proven to be mind-blowing for both yoyo players and outsiders of the yoyo world and brought to him 4 titles. He has a unique fashion style who has made him appear in fashion shows in Germany. Along with this he also performs in restaurants, clubs, music festivals and more.
2A –Shinji Saito
He is the only yoyo player to have won more than 10 championships in 2A and combined division. He also has an 8-year streak of being on the first position. He is considered the most competitive yoyoer ever. That is why he deserves to be mentioned.
He won the worlds for the 3A division for 3 times, being the only one to have won more than World YoYo Contest in 3A. He has a smooth style of play which proved to score high giving trouble to other players in his division. He is the only one who solely relies on flowing style than tech tricks or fast tricks.
4A Rei Iwakura
He is a four-time champion in 4A and Artistic Performance division(it seems that it exists). He knows how to do Soloham trick well beyond others can achieve, being so incredible to watch. His talent and creativity earned his place on the top spots.
5A Takeshi Matsuura
This player is one of the youngest world champions at age 11, demonstrating his skills of Freehand play. He won the World Yoyo Contest for 5A division for 5 times and he was also a 1A champion taking first at Japan Nationals and being on second place at the World championship. He will keep his position for a long time.
These players shown before were the most competitive but the following ones are the most known champions:
He is one of the most iconic players in the yoyo area. Gentry is mostly known for its signature line of yoyos Shutter. You may have heard about it or just own it.
With this yoyo, he won the World Yoyo Contest for 1A division in 2014. He is mostly known for his outstanding accuracy and flashy tricks to wow the audience. He also was the first player to have ever won the US national with a 20 bucks yoyo which was his other signature yoyo the Replay Pro. He also recently won the National Title the 4th time in 2019 in Philadelphia.
He was introduced to yoyo play at the age of just 3 years by his father Alan Nagao who played a major role in the promotion of yoyos in the ’90s. Nagao’s father had a yoyo shop in Hawaii and was responsible for creating the legendary demonstration team which was one of the major factors in the yoyo boom in 97.
He is mostly known for his signature line of yoyos YoyoFactory Edge, US Wedge and other “edgy” variations. He became the 2017 US National 1A champion surpassing Gentry Stein. In 2018 he won the first place in World yoyo Contest for 1A using the Edge Beyond yoyo.
She is another world yoyo champion winning the Women’s Division at Worlds in 2014 and 2017 and second place in 2106. She also won in 1A Women’s Freestyle Division at European Yoyo Championship 2016.
The largest yoyo in the world
In 2012 Beth Johnson made the largest functional yoyo in the world in Cincinnati, Ohio in the US. It measured 3.6 m in diameter and weighed more than 2000 kilos. The yoyo plunged around 36 meters on a rope attached to a massive crane weighing 68 tonnes.
She tested it three times before achieving the record but crashed at each attempt. The fourth attempt was the most successful.
A new type of yoyos- get one made of titanium!
If you have 300-400 dollars to spend fast on something shiny you can get the advantage of the newly made titanium yoyos which have a feature that every yoyo player would want to have on an aluminium yoyo: the sparks.
See, when you hit this kind of yoyo to the ground it makes sparks just as you cut some metal pieces or weld to pieces of steel. That makes a titanium yoyo so special.
Several models include The Shutter Titanium edition or the Titanium dream yoyo from YoyoFactory or the YoyoRecreation Dazzler.
Final thoughts-the history and the future of yoyo
We don’t know for sure the exact origins for the yoyo. The most probable one is from China and the yoyo arrived through different forms to Europe and in the 18th century, we had emigrettes flinging around.
We might never know if the yoyo was coming from Greece or if the Philipino used the yoyo as a weapon. It might have been just a marketing campaign story about yoyos as a weapon specifically made by Duncan to sell more yoyos to the rebellious boys in the 30’s.
What I know for sure is that the yoyo will continue to fascinate every generation o.f children or even adults. As Doc Lucky said,” You can’t have enough yoyos!”