YoYoJam’s president and owner, Dale Bell, has been in the plastic injection molding business for over thirty years and is a master tool & die maker. Dale owns and operates Advanced Air International, Inc. — a world-wide leader in the production of injection molded fans, blower wheels and related equipment. Advanced Air’s name is synonomous with high-technology and quality in the field. It’s customer base include quality, brand-name corporations such as Whirlpool, John Deere, and Honeywell/Envirocare.

Dale also happens to be an avid car collector and enthusiast. While attending a car show in July of 1999, a friend handed him a yoyo and said “this wobbles, I bet you could make one that’s balanced.” Always intrigued by a challenged, Dale went back to his tool room and did just that. His friend offered to give Dale his yoyo to use as a model, but Dale refused saying that he wanted to come up with his own design. To this day, Dale refuses any offer to receive another yoyo. All of his designs are completely original and are conceived by Dale with the input of world-class yoyo players.

The first YoYoJam prototypes were hand turned by Dale in his tool room at Advanced Air. Realizing that his all metal yoyos were much too heavy, Dale made a mold to match his hand tooled models. After several trials and errors in the molding room, Dale came up with the original SpinJammer.

At first, he just played with the yoyo himself and gave a few to friends — it was fun. But Dale wanted to know more about the “world of yo”. So, he went to his daughter, Valerie, and asked her to do an internet search for yoyos to see what she could find. (To this day Dale still doesn’t operate a computer!). Valerie searched the internet and found that the World YoYo Contest was being held in Hawaii — road trip!

Curious to see what real players would think of his creation, Dale inquired about a sponsorship. But his new yoyo needed a name. Among Dale’s many interests is music. He has even set up a small music studio in his factory where he can go for stress relief. At the time Dale and some of his friends, including singer/ songwriter R.B. Johnson, were “jamming” on a regular basis. They decided to write a song about yoyos which they aptly named, “YoYoJam”. Thus, the name of his new product.

Dale also asked the folks at HPK if they could direct him to anyone in Florida who played competitively. HPK sent him to David Brunner a.k.a “Bandit” and his yoyo club. David helped Dale find Payden Southerland and another local player to test the products and to represent the newly forming Team YoYoJam at the 1999 Worlds.

David also taught Dale about the different types of yoyos and suggested that he make a concave shaped yoyo — thus the birth of what was then called the Dragonfly. Due to a copyright conflict (which did not appear in initial copyright searches), the yoyo was later renamed the DragonJam.

The SpinJammer was met with lukewarm reception at the Worlds but Payden, using the Dragonfly/DragonJam, nailed his compulsories and was on stage for the freestyle finals. Even though he failed to finish in the top ten, it was a tremendous achievement for a brand new company.

But perhaps more important than the excellent reception the DragonJam recieved, was the people Dale met at the Worlds. Linda Sengpiel and Bill de Boisblanc were both judges and were both very intrested in Dale’s new products. Both spent quite a bit of time talking to Dale, and it wasn’t long after that Dale agreed to create a signature yoyo for Linda. Input from Linda, Bill, and other prominant players lead to the creation of the SpinFaKtor.

The rest, as they say, is history! The SpinFaKtor series has become the leading choice of World Champion Single A players. In fact, nine of the top fifteen players at the 2001 Worlds (including all top 6 players) used a SpinFaKtor series yoyo. In addition, Rick Wyatt’s Signature Series Mega SpinFaKtor holds the official AYYA World Record for the longest sleeping yoyo. And we aren’t done yet. YoYoJam continues to introduce revolutionary new designs on a regular basis. We plan to “Jam On” for a long time!

Team Losi

This history was given by Steve Brown, I would like to thank him for his input and help on the history of Team Losi as pertaining to yoyo’s

Why they got into yo-yos? I have no idea. They had already made the Da Bomb when I started with them. My guess would be the same reason that lots of other people got into it…they saw that it was selling hard and fast.

Team Losi was started in the late 70s, early 80s, manufacturing RC Cars. Really, really nice ones. They have led the industry pretty much since day one.

I don’t know anything about how they designed the Da Bomb, only that when I came on board I changed the axles from two nuts and an axle screw, to a nut and bolt.

The Cherry Bomb was designed when I told them that I needed a concave yo-yo. I gave them a list of features, and they brought me CAD drawings for approval to the 98 Worlds. This was the first time i’d met any of them…they flew me out to compete with the Da Bomb, which I did, and I took 4th in Single A. I approved the drawings, and had protos in my hand within a couple weeks. There were 3 generations before they were released to the public, but the changes from proto to production were very minor. I think I have one or two of the proto halves…sadly, I did not think to keep most of my TL stuff. This was before I considered modern yo-yos to be really collectible, and I deeply regret some of the things that I traded or gave away.

Anyway, after the Cherry Bomb was released, problems began with the starburst wearing out. Lots of people really liked the weight of the ABS, but it wasn’t tough enough. I began working on a design for a combination bearing spacer/metal starburst, but they didn’t like it. Never got to the prototype stage. No idea why. Would have been great. Anyway, my insistence that they make the plastic stronger led to the A-Line. One of the hobby stores that carried the line sent them a couple of Da Bombs that had been painted chrome with model paint, and we began working on the Silver Series. This presented a ton of problems…the chrome platers had never had to maintain balance on an object they were plating, and we had some really bad parts. This led to me hand testing the entire first batch as they came off the assembly line. No kidding. I sat in a warehouse in Chino, CA and hand-tested about 3,000 yo-yos. It was the most boring thing i’ve ever done. But I insisted…I didn’t want bad ones to get through. The platers spent some time and managed to solve the problem on their end, which freed me up for alot.

Mid-99 I was offered to Variflex to promote the yo-yos that Losi was making for them, and to do an instructional video for them. I had all kinds of grand plans for this video, all of which were shot down. It was shot in the TL warehouse, and everything was done on the first or second take. I was never paid for it, and nearly lost my job in the process of trying to be. Variflex is a bunch of suits, and I was just glad to never have to deal with them again. As a side note, Peter Wagonhurst, and Marketing Director for Variflex, never even bothered to show up for the video shoot. He was supposed to bring me a VFX shirt to wear, and never came. So we ran out to Old Navy, and bought me a red sweatshirt. We used the vinyl cutting machine and an image off the prototype yo- yo packaging to make a white vinyl sticker, which is what we put on my shirt. Ghetto fabulous.

With the Silver Series, A-Line, and Regular Line out, sales weren’t bad. We shipped a lot of stuff. I developed the Hybrid Bomb shape, and they handed it off to VFX to use for their X-Games yo-yo. I was mercilessly pissed about that one. VFX even got the proto before I did. This was about the point where my relationship with TL deteriorated. Not because of anything on TL’s end, but because I kept getting saddled with Variflex, and those guys were a bunch of soulless corporate monkeys. We made two protos of the Hybrid shape with a black chrome coating, and it was going to be my signature model, the Black Magic. It never happened, and I never even got a proto to keep. While I was on Warped Tour 99, Duncan offered me a job once my Losi contract was up, and I took it mainly because I knew it would mean i’d never have to deal with VFX again. That, and the additional money, were my main motivations. I thought Duncan’s yo- yos needed some work, but figured it would be a fun job nonetheless. Heck, i’ll try anything twice. 😉

Gil Losi Sr. sold the company to Horizon Hobbies, their largest distributor, sometime in 2001. Horizon has decided to discontinue the yo-yo line indefinately. Damn shame. With a little work, the TL line could easily snake back in and compete with anyone else’s product. Looks like that’s never going to happen.


The birth of Spintastics Skill Toys actually began with the birth of the Technic yo-yo in the summer of 1995. Dale Oliver’s dream of producing the perfect player’s yo-yo – one that was not only perfect for the beginner, but also perfect for the professional player, and at the perfectly affordable price had just become a reality. Designed predominantly for his renowned Yo-Yo Fun and the Science of Spin TM (YYF/SoS) program, to be best for kids, now was catching the eye of professional and competitive players as well.

It did not take long for the retail market to take notice, or for Dale to realize that with his extensive travel schedule presenting the YYF/SoS program to over 40,000 elementary and middle school students nationwide per year, he needed to expand his one man operation. In 1996, he decided to offer his most successful YYF/SoS demonstrator, Valerie Krantz, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, the opportunity to join talents and form Spintastics Skill Toys, Inc. As well as yo-yo and demonstration skills, Valerie brought with her a Business Administration degree and over fifteen years of computer and management experience. This, teamed up with Dale’s world class performance style, teaching ability and his remarkable foresight in research and development, quickly placed Spintastics in the top 5 U.S. yo-yo manufacturers, making it the only manufacturer of a yo-yo owned and designed by a world champion player himself.

Spintastics’ first purpose was to further develop and market its YYF/SoS program. A full Interdisciplinary Yo-Yo Curriculum was written, carrying yo-yoing into the educational disciplines of Social Studies (history), Language Arts, Physical Education, Math and Science. Demonstrators were trained and supported nationwide, producing a consistent and educational program to schools across the country. The success of this program since 1989 has proven its steadfast appeal to schools and children, regardless of the cyclical popularity of yo-yos through the retail setting. This basic focus forms a solid foundation for Spintastics, assuring its presence in the years to come.

Spintastics’ second purpose was to develop, market and sell the highest quality and most reasonably priced yo-yos on the market. Dale designed Dale Oliver’s Signature line including the Technic, Tornado, TigerShark and Torch yo-yos with incredible success. New products ensued, including the auto-return SpinWizard, and a full line of spinning tops.

As word of mouth spread the name of Spintastics, staff and shipping locations increased in the Midwest. In 1997, Spintastics relocated and is now a Texas corporation based in Euless, Texas. Now all under one roof, it maintains a full office staff and shipping department, as well as supporting territorial marketing reps throughout the country. Spintastics shares a building and has formed a working partnership with one of their major contract suppliers, R. L. Davis & Associates, providing in-house services of die-cutting, thermal-forming, lamination, foil stamping, and professional graphic arts. This has allowed Spintastics to respond quickly to market needs, as well as to expand into the custom logo market, providing customized side disks which are able to be produced in a timely manner and installed quickly into Spintastics’ yo-yos.

In addition to its U.S. based manufacturing facilities, Spintastics now manufacturers yo-yos in Taiwan and mainland China and is now marketing Spintastics’ yo-yos worldwide with distributions throughout western Europe, Australia, South America, Canada and Japan.


Joe was born Dec. 29th, 1908 in Quezon City, Philippines, the youngest son of Marcello and Perpetua Radovan. Joe’s parents were merchants and raised him on their rice and sugar cane plantation. After graduating from high school, Joe’s dream was to attend college in America. Joe and his friend Ruben Delagana arrived in Los Angeles in 1929. The stock market crashed and Joe’s plans for an education ended. Ruben and Joe parted ways looking for work.

Joe headed for Wisconsin looking for his childhood friend Pedro Flores. Pedro had sold his yo-yo company to entrepreneur and inventor Donald Duncan. The yo-yo was new to America but the Filipinos were quite skillful in playing yo-yo. Duncan hired numerous Filipino men to demonstrate their skill with the yo-yo. These young men performed like a vaudeville act, traveling the world performing yo-yo tricks. Living like celebrities, the demonstrators traveled in new cars, wore tailor made suits, ate in the finest restaurants and lived in the best hotels during the depression years. The yo-yo had become an international craze. Duncan sent these young men all over the United States, Europe, South and Central America. At one time in his life, Joe spoke eleven languages. He performed for Royalty while in Europe, perhaps this is where he got the name Royal.

In 1935, Joe and Mr. Duncan parted ways. Joe opened his own company, Royal Tops Manufacturing Company based out of Long Island City, NY. It was then that Joe located his old buddy Ruben to become his partner. Ruben and Joe set up a yo-yo factory in the industrial district, eventually buying real estate rental property and warehouses. The partners worked in tandem; Ruben managed the factory and real estate. Joe worked sales, promotion and marketing traveling the world.

While on a sales trip to Jacksonville, Florida, Joe met his wife to be Alice Louise Sanchez. They married on May 1st, 1948. The following year, Jo Ann was born and Joe moved his family to New York. Two years later, Tom was born. Royal Yo-Yo and Royal Spin Tops continued to prosper in the early 1950’s. Joe patented his new line of Chico Yo-Yo. Tragically in 1955, Joe lost his wife in an accident. He focused on taking care of his young children and building Royal Yo-Yo.

The yo-yo business flourished. Joe made regular appearances on live television, The Ed Sullivan Show, Name That Tune, What’s My Line and later, The Johnny Carson Show. He also made numerous appearances on BOZO the Clown and several other children’s programs. Joe also ran commercial spots on local TV where he ran campaigns.

Joe traveled extensively running two-month yo-yo campaigns along the East Coast. For the most part, Joe worked alone. He periodically hired demonstrators in certain locals to follow up with sales. His strategy was to approach Five & Dime retailers and candy stores to purchase his yo-yos. He offered the managers a money back guarantee to purchase back any left over inventory. He parked outside an elementary school and began to play yo- yo. He gathered a sizeable crowd of children who wanted to purchase yo-yos and then directed the children to the nearest retailer. With his commercial spots running and weekly contests Joe made phenomenal sales. Joe worked diligently year after year often times selling in the same cities as Duncan. Eventually, Joe began to work in Duncan’s market area.

1962 was the biggest year ever for Royal Yo-Yo. Every yo-yo in every warehouse was sold including the rejects. Duncan filed a lawsuit against Royal over the product name “yo-yo”. Joe insisted that the word “yo-yo” was a generic Philippine word. The battle raged for three years, eventually escalating to the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The decision was in Royal’s favor because of Duncan’s slogan “If it isn’t a Duncan, it isn’t a yo-yo”. Duncan actually defined the yo-yo to be the name of the toy. Royal won the legal war over Goliath Duncan but in the end both sides lost. The yo-yo business never recovered to its former days. Duncan sold out to Flambeau. Royal continued to be in business for the next ten years.

The two friends and business partners were getting on in years. Ruben passed away in 1973. Joe continued working for a couple of years longer but finally retired in Miami, Florida in 1975. Joe lived a full life in retirement traveling the world and living near his son Tom and daughter-in-law Mary and their two children John and Emily. He made numerous trips to Texas to visit Jo Ann and grandchildren Brian, Casey and Kristen. Joe spent his final years enjoying what he always loved the most … being with children.

Joe lived a long and fruitful and prosperous life. He left a wonderful legacy by putting smiles on children’s faces.


In 1947 Jack Russell, a professional yo-yo player and world champion, took a simple idea and turned it into a company. The company’s name was The Jack Russell Company and for over 50 years he promoted name brand products, linking them directly to his promotions. These promotions were based on a simple yet profound premise. Take a simple toy such as the yo-yo that is easy to learn but difficult to master and create a fad around it. Then link other brands directly to the activities surrounding the yo-yo event. By doing just that, Jack Russell was able to achieve incredible sales results for his clients. Now in its 55th year Russell Promotions, Inc. is still going strong The name was changed to reflect the over all makeup of the company which now included Jack’s family. We have expanded the types of products we offer, keeping with the tradition of “easy to learn but difficult to master” skill related sports. Our clientele has also grown and so have our abilities to market their products. Our long history has also provided us with a recognized brand name enabling us to better market our Clients products. To date we have run successful promotions in over 95 countries, worldwide and will continue to see that number grow as we expand the scope and reach of our timeless products. Russell Promotions, Inc. is located in Stuart, Florida


The ProYo� was developed and patented in (1974). Playmaxx was started in 1976 by Donald F. Duncan, Jr. The original name was “Duncraft”. This name existed for about 6 months and was changed to “Duracraft” at the request of the “Duncan YoYo Co.” as they felt it was too close to their name/trademark. In 1988, Duracraft was changed to Playmaxx as it remains today. The original ProYo was produced until October 1996 when it was replaced by the ProYo II. The ProYo is considered, by aficionados, to be the father of most of the modern yo-yos. It is the most copied high tech yo-yo on the market today. The main features of this yoyo were the central spool that set the parallelism of the two side members and the undercuts on the side members that allowed the use of advertising side caps. This was also an early example of the use of rim weighted design in a plastic yoyo.

Another significant feature was the shape. This “modern” shape is what has made it the father of the modern yo-yo.

The original Duncraft ProYo as produced in 1976. This was produced unchanged except for the name until 1996. In October of 1996, with the introduction of the ProYo II. The ProYo II axle design was also patented as well as several other features like the ability to display POGs in one side.

ProYo II axle design is like having a miniature wood one-piece yoyo mounted inside a rim-weighted plastic shell. Therefore, bringing together the best of both worlds, wood and plastic.

The Following is from the Proyo litrature for the Turbo Bumble Bee:

In October of 1997, Playmaxx introduced the perfect “Bumble Bee” ball bearing ProYo. The perfect yo-yo should SLEEP for an inordinate amount of time, “BEE” absolutely smooth on string tricks without snagging, and return on command without hesitation. This describes the new Turbo Bumble Bee, the only ball bearing yo-yo that performs “right out of the box”, requires NO string gap adjustments and is independent of string tension.

Enhancing the use of Brake Pad technology, Playmaxx introduced the Cold Fusion in October of 1998. The Coldfusion sold retail for 150.00.

In November of 2001, the assets of Playmaxx Inc. were purchased by Duncan� Toys Co. At the helm of Duncan for this momentus purchase were Jason Sauey (President), Mike Burke (National Sales & Marketing Manager), and Steve Brown (Marketing & Promotions Coordinator). With this addition, the already strong Duncan line of yo-yos has become the only complete line of yo-yos from a single manufacturer.

All three of the acknowledged world records for yo-yos with fixed axles as listed by the American Yo-Yo Association (AYYA) are held by the Original ProYo by Playmaxx.

  • Longest spinner – to extinction : 51 seconds – Original ProYo
  • Fastest spinner : 11,400 RPM – Original ProYo
  • Around the Worlds : 26 – Original ProYo

On October 3rd at the 1998 US National Championships, the Cold Fusion slept for an unprecedented 7 minutes and 8 seconds, nearly doubling the previous record. On May 16, 1999, at 7:10 PM Kate Miller broke the World Sleep Record of 7:08 with a time of 8 minutes and 21 seconds in the company of the staff from Golden Apple Comics. Time was witnessed and verified on two separate chronographs.

Company Profile – One Drop Yo-Yos

One Drop Design was started in 2001 by Shawn Nelson and David Metz as a contracting machine shop with the eventual goal of having their own product line. They knew that when you own a machine shop, you get ideas pitched to you all the time and you need to be ready to move when the right idea walks through the door. The right idea might not be obvious so they kept their eyes and minds open.

In 2002 they briefly considered making yoyos after David saw some of the early metal bearing yo-yos at a kite shop on the Oregon coast. Having been into yo-yos as a child, metal yoyos was an exciting prospect, but ultimately the idea was rejected because at that time One Drop Design only owned a CNC Mill which is not the ideal machine for making a yo-yo.

The Project

Fast forward to 2007 when a young college student approached One Drop to get some mentoring in product design and manufacturing and he was hoping to get one yo-yo made for himself. The idea was once again intriguing but the mill was still a problem. One Drop decided to go ahead and try anyway just to see what would happen. The resulting yo-yo was the prototype of what would eventually be released to the world as the Project. The student was happy with his one yo-yo and One Drop made a run of Projects and they were an instant hit after their initial release at yoyoguy.com. Limitations can often spur creativity and this was no exception. The limitations of making a yo-yo on a mill helped create certain design elements that made the Project stand out and also ultimately a classic. For example the flat rims were necessary to the machining process, but became a stand out feature. The most iconic part of the Project was the hub. Having a machining background, One Drop was skeptical that a steel axle in an aluminum hole was the best way to make a yo-yo. If there was to be stripping, the softer side would give which is the yo-yo half and not the axle. They decided to use a nut capture system. This kind of system had been used on plastic yo-yos previously but not on metal. And when it was used previously it was hidden in the design. One Drop decided to embrace the industrial look and feature the nut capture. The result was an extremely unique and now iconic yo-yo which was released to the World in late 2007. They now went by the name “One Drop Yo-Yos”.


After the success of the Project, One Drop was surprised by the state of the yo-yo market: specifically that high-end yo-yos seemed to be in such short supply and on average very expensive. One Drop decided to try and make a metal yo-yo that was affordable and available in large numbers. The result was the M1: “Metal for Everyone” which retailed for $60 and forever changed the landscape spurring all the other high-end yo-yo companies to have a “budget” metal yo-yo in their line up.

The first two yo-yos (Project and M1) set the tone for what One Drop Yo-Yos would continue to do throughout years: Create innovative yo-yos that provide the best value to the customer with a huge emphasis on quality, durability and availability and always made in the USA.

54 with Side Effects™

One Drop continued to experiment with replaceable axle systems with the release of the Project 2, Y-Factor and Dingo eventually culminating in the 2009 release of the patent pending Side Effects Axle System. Side Effects are a user-replaceable axle system which allows for easy customizing of the weight, feel, look and functionality of the yo-yo. The first yo-yo to have Side Effects was the 54 and since then there have been many models to use the system which is universal: any Side Effect set fits into any Side Effect enabled yo-yo. This system has proven to be extremely easy to use, reliable and robust. Other companies have licensed this technology.


One Drop released their first plastic yo-yo, the Rally in 2013 continuing with their strong belief in making products in the USA. The Rally is molded in the USA and then finished in-house at One Drop including machining all the metal hardware and the plastic body to create a matte surface for excellent grinds.

One Drop has now expanded operations to make yo-yos for other top brands as well.

History of Fli-back

History of Fli-back
by James E Gibson III, grandson of the founder

My Grandfather, James Emory Gibson, was born in Perquimmons County in eastern North Carolina in 1894. He grew up in the Portsmouth area of Virginia and became a grain and feed salesman when he was about 17. Early in his salesman travels he met my grandmother, Rozena Gibson, in High Point North, Carolina. They married around 1915 and had five children, of which my Dad, James Emory Gibson Jr. was born in 1920. My grandfather started the Fliback Company in 1931. It came about when my grand father was suffering thru the depression and trying to find something else to supplement his income. My dad’s oldest sister, Josephine, came home with a toy given away at an ice cream store which was a primitive version of a paddleball. My grandfather thought that this was an item he could easily manufacture and that it had good play value and could be sold cheap.

The end result was that he ended up making millions of them and diversified into other simple toys such as spinning tops, yo-yos, balloons, rubber balls, etc. By the 1950s the Fliback Company was selling world wide and employed several hundred workers. In the early 1960s my father, Emory Gibson Jr., became president of the company and was positioning it to build a new plant and more than double production. Sales and production was at an all time high and new products such as golf balls, footballs, basketballs and other mainline athletic products were being developed for production. Unfortunately my father died in 1963 at the age of 43 and his plans were put on hold. Accordingly, the company was sold to Ohio Art company in 1972 and started a downward spiral. The Hedstrom company was the final owner who eventually closed the factory in North Carolina and moved the remaining production to Mississippi in the 1980s. Apparently Hedstrom has now ceased manufacturing any toys under the Fli-back brand names and may now actually be out of business altogether.

Company Profile – Dif-e-Yo

Hello, my name is Frank Difeo. I’ve made my living as a Tool Maker in the machine shop trade since I graduated from Trade School in 1970 and, for the past 8 years I have run my own small machine shop on the side. I always enjoyed making things from metal and especially making things that were custom or out of the ordinary. A few years ago I got hooked on collecting Vintage yoyo’s and something that came as a surprise to me at the time was when I discovered Aluminum yoyo’s … with ball bearing axles even !! I still didn’t become very interested in the metal ones until the economy slowed a few years ago and then I had some slow times in the shop and started to tinker with making Aluminum yoyo’s. As the economy continued to slow I had less work and more time and … Well, .. one thing led to another and I started making more yoyo’s and concentrated more on improving the way a yoyo functioned. My thoughts centered on the problem of the string rubbing the sides of the yoyo and concentrated on making the Grooved and KonKave bearings to improve that inherent down side as I saw it. As for the different Dif-e-Yo yoyo designs … I start with an idea and experiment … first and foremost … with something that functions and then incorporate a visual design to compliment it’s function. Thanks to all that enjoy Dif-e-Yo yoyo’s. Your positive response is Greatly appreciated. You have made Dif-e-Yo what it is so far. Thanks also for taking the time to read this brief History of a person who has become addicted to yoyo’s and I hope to be able to keep making yoyo’s for people to enjoy.

Company Profile – Duncan

The yo-yo feels eternally new and exciting, but it is actually the second oldest toy in the world (after dolls). There are ancient Greek yo-yos made of terra cotta in museums in Athens and yo-yos are pictured on the walls of Egyptian temples. Contrary to popular belief, the yo-yo was never a weapon. But it has been popular with such important warriors as Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington. The yo-yo has enjoyed many periods of popularity throughout world history.

The modern story of the yo-yo starts with a young gentleman from the Philippines, named Pedro Flores. In the 1920s, he moved to the USA, and worked as a bellhop at a Santa Monica hotel. Carving and playing with wooden yo-yos was a traditional pastime in the Philippines, but Pedro found that his lunch break yo-yo playing drew a crowd at the hotel. He started a company to make the toys, calling it the Flores Yo-Yo Company. This was the first appearance of the name “yo-yo,” which means “come-come” in the native Filipino language of Tagalog.

Donald F. Duncan, an entrepreneur who had already introduced Good Humor Ice Cream and would later popularize the parking meter, first encountered the yo-yo during a business trip to California. A year later, in 1929, he returned and bought the company from Flores, acquiring not only a unique toy, but also the magic name “yo-yo.” About this time, Duncan introduced the looped slip-string, which allows the yo-yo to sleep – a necessity for advanced tricks.

Throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, Duncan promoted yo-yos with innovative programs of demonstrations and contests. All of the classic tricks were developed during this period, as legendary players toured the country teaching kids and carving thousands of yo-yos with pictures of palm trees and birds. During the 1950s, Duncan introduced the first plastic yo-yos and the Butterfly� yo-yo, which is much easier to land on the string for complex tricks. Duncan also began marketing spin tops during this period.

The biggest yo-yo boom in history (until 1995) hit in 1962, following Duncan’s innovative use of TV advertising. Financial losses at the end of the boom, and a costly lawsuit to protect the yo-yo trademark from competitors forced the Duncan family out of business in the late 60s. Flambeau Products, who made Duncan’s plastic models, bought the company and still owns it today.

The genuine Duncan yo-yo is a classic toy that has endured for 70 years. With more than 600 million sold, it is probably the most popular toy in history, and was recently inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Players can continue to build their yo-yo skills throughout their lives, making the yo-yo a perfect toy for all ages. Today yo-yos are bigger than ever, with millions of players from across the globe introducing new styles and tricks in international competition. Duncan’s standard plastic, classic wood, and new high-tech models continue to lead the way as the yo-yo enters another millennium of popularity. Happy yoing!