Home Today Is The Yo-Yo First Entered Space On April 12th, 1985, Aboard The Shuttle...

The Yo-Yo First Entered Space On April 12th, 1985, Aboard The Shuttle Discovery

Every year on June 6 we recognize the fun holiday, National Yo-Yo Day.  This day celebrates this historic toy.  It is the perfect day to get out your yo-yo’s and try your hand at The Sleeper, Walk the Dog, Shooting the Moon, Around the World or Hop the Fence.

It is believed that the yo-yo was first invented in ancient Greece.  There is a Greek vase painting, from 500 BC, that shows a boy playing with a yo-yo.

Pedro Flores immigrated to the United States as a young boy. He built a business from a toy he played with in the Philippines called a bandalore. He called it the Flores Yo-yo and between 1928 and 1932 the Yo-yo Manufacturing Company operated in Santa Barbara, California. He later sold his companies to Donald F. Duncan.

The yo-yo was made popular in America when Donald F. Duncan, Sr. manufactured the Duncan Yo-Yo in the early 1900s.  The name “Yo-Yo” was first registered as a trademark in 1932.

  • In 1999, the Duncan Yo-Yo was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York.
  • The National Yo-Yo Museum is located in Chico, California.
  • Yo-yoing is a term often used to describe a person fluctuating between two difficult decisions.
  • Terracotta examples of yo-yos have been found in Ancient Greek art dating between 400 – 500 BC.
  • The first modern patent of a yo-yo was in 1866 by James Haven and Charles Hettrich, and it was named a ‘whirligig’ and a ‘bandalore’.
  • The term ‘yo-yo’ possibly came from one of the languages spoken in the Philippines, from a word meaning ‘come back’ or ‘spring’, although its origins are uncertain.
  • A yo-yo has also been called a ‘bandalore’ (a French term) and a ‘quiz’, and was named a ‘yo-yo’ in 1928 in the United States, by Pedro Flores, who was a Filipino immigrant.
  • Cheap yo-yos can spin for approximately 10-20 seconds, with a record of nearly 4 minutes, while professional ball-bearing yo-yos can spin for 1-4 minutes, with a record of just over 21 minutes.
  • The first World YoYo Contest was held in London, England, in 1932. The winner was a thirteen-year-old boy named Harvey Lowe who went on to become a world champion.
  • In 1979, a new innovation introduced the first “take-apart” yo-yo, which allowed users to change the axle of the yo-yo. The inventor was Tom Kuhn, a dentist and yo-yo celebrity.
  • As of May 2004, the highest price ever paid for a yo-yo was $16,029. It was a YoYo signed by former president Richard M. Nixon. He presented to Roy Acuff at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee in 1974. It sold at an Acuff estate auction.
  • Syria banned the yo-yo in 1933 because they believed the toy was responsible for a severe drought.
  • On August 24, 1998, a “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” episode featured a videotape about how people made wooden yo-yos and a boy named Evan demonstrated some yo-yo tricks.
  • In 2020, Michael Francis from Kitchener, Ontario broke the world record by spinning 19 yo-yos simultaneously. The previous record was 16.
  • Swedish bearing company SKF briefly manufactured novelty yo-yos with ball bearings in 1984.
  • In 1990, Kuhn introduced the SB-2 yo-yo which had an aluminum transaxle, making it the first successful ball-bearing yo-yo.
  • John ‘Lucky’ Meisenheimer (USA) has a collection of 4,586 different yo-yos, as of 22 February 2010, that he has amassed since 1971.
  • The YoYo first entered space on April 12th, 1985, aboard the shuttle Discovery. The YoYo could be thrown at slow speeds and it would follow the string to its end and rebound back, but however, it would not sleep due to the lack of gravity. It was also taken aboard Atlantis on July 31st, 1992 and videotaped. Take a look at the video.


National Day Calendar

Ten Random Facts

Your Neighborhood Toy Store