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A guide to yo yo's and their history

Updated on December 30, 2014
Donald F. Duncan showing children the magic of a yo-yo
Donald F. Duncan showing children the magic of a yo-yo
The yo yo is believed to be invented in ancient  Greece
The yo yo is believed to be invented in ancient Greece

How it all started

The question of who really invented the yo- yo still remains a mystery to people who have tried to solve this for years but one thing is for sure that historians think it was created in ancient Greece, India, China. It is also known that the yo- yo started getting popular in England and France by the late 18th century.

A man by the name of Donald F. Duncan first introduced the regular yo-yo to the public in the United States by the 1920s. Donald is also well known for making popular the slip-string yo-yo which lets a yo-yo sleep when the 1930s came along Duncan decided to send groups of travelig yo-yo men to different cities all over America and they would show tricks, sell yo-yos and make contests. From 1940 to 1950 and by the 1960s almost every child in the US had a yo-yo. When the 1990s came around yo yo companies would send out traveling professional yo yo players which helped make this toy become strong and popular again to the eye of the public from 1997 to 1999.



Most companies that manufacture yo-yos started to send out traveling yo-yo men and this time women also to perform yo-yo tricks and show people the wonders of yo-yos and how fun these toys can be for kids and adults of all ages.

Meanwhile the yo-yo just as any other toy has its ups and downs but one thing is certain that it will never disappear.

Non sleeping yo-yo
Non sleeping yo-yo
Vintage slip string yo yo
Vintage slip string yo yo
Hold the yo yo  with your palm up.
Hold the yo yo with your palm up. | Source
Then take the yo yo to the ground.
Then take the yo yo to the ground.
A transaxle yo yo
A transaxle yo yo

Choosing a yo-yo

Selecting a yo-yo is one of the favorite parts off buying a yo-yo but it is also important to select one that comes from the popular brands such as Duncan, playmaxx, what's next, Tom Kuhn custom yo-yo's or Yomega. Do not buy any of the cheap brands of yo-yo or else you will end up disappointing yourself instead it is better to buy a yo-yo at a expensive price because it will work good.

Some different types of yo-yos

The non sleeping yo-yo
This type of yo-yo is mostly used to perform tricks a great yo-yo for starters. How this yo-yo is used is when winding up a non sleeping yo-yo use the string on your finger to throw the yo-yo down to the floor the yo-yo will unwind as it goes down.

Then as it goes to the end of the string the energy from the movement will somehow keep the yo-yo rolling. Tug the yo-yo string and the yo-yo will eventually get back into your hand the same with the gravity pull trick.

The slip-string yo-yo

Performing a sleeper with a slip string yo-yo makes it more easier than ever and it also opens the door to many other trick possibilities that can be done with this yo-yo. In a slip string yo-yo the string apparently is huge as it appears to be. Mostly it begins at the finger loop going all the way down to the wraps of the yo-yo loop lets the toy sleep till it finishes spinning or it touches a hand in a firm grip.

Ball bearing and trans-axle yo-yo


The trans-axle yo-yo is made to spin for a really long time. In a regular yo-yo the string loops around the axle but in a trans-axle yo-yo the resistance plastic ring is able to touch the axle then the string is able to wrap around the outside of the ring without never feeling the axle this results into long spins and helps the string live longer.

Some Yo Yo tips

  • At the time of winding up a sleeping yo-yo take one of the yo-yo disks with your fingers and with one of your forefingers or a thumb place them over the groove that seperates the two sections of the yo-yo and wind the string one time over the finger then you lift the finger up to wind the string inside the finger on the second and third time.
  • In the fourth and subsequent tries take your finger out of the loop and then put the loop into the yo-yo take the string lightly till the last couple of loops wind down slightly tighter.
  • Then you take your yo-yo down and bring it back up one time to clear the string with that your own yo-yo will be ready to play.

Yo Yo Safety

Indeed some yo-yo tricks like the around the world are somehow dangerous tricks that someone can try. When you are playing with your yo-yo make sure that you have a high ceiling so that way the another thing to consider is to make sure that nothing gets in the way of the yo-yo. Check for the circle of danger in your mind check the area around you to see if there is not a person or object near that way you do not end up hitting someone else accidentally when you perform your yo-yo tricks.

Yo Yo cleaning and fixing

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