5 Things You Didn't Know About the Yo-Yo

It's plain to see we have a certain fondness for Astrojax, but that doesn't mean we can ignore our roots. Innovation is innovation whether that's from your favorite tech company or your favorite toys. With that in mind, it wouldn't behoove us at all to forget our roots and where our passion was born. That's why this post will provide you a light overview of what it took to get from there to here aaaaand back again. (Couldn't help it, too excited for The Hobbit) So without further adieu, here are 5 things you probably didn't know about the Yo-Yo.

1. Yo-Yo's Have Been Around Since 500 BC

No, you didn't read that wrong, the earliest known instance of someone playing with a Yo-Yo is from Greece where a painted vase dated from around this period that depicted a boy playing with one.

While historians still debate fiercely whether the boy was indeed walking the dog, the smug look on his face leads many to believe that he was performing something far fiercer, no doubt to entertain the throngs of smoking hot greek ladies cheering him on.  To be fair, toys were often gifted to the gods back then ceremonially at certain ages so it's likely at least at that point that it was used less as a toy and more as an indicator of maturity.

2. Yo-Yos Return Thanks to an Increase in Friction

Certain tricks require that a Yo-Yo remain spinning freely at the end of its string like the absolute rebel boss that it is.  However, what allows a Yo-Yo to return when given that slight tug isn't magic or some bizarre human/object peer pressure, but rather that for the brief instant the string is tugged, friction increases between the string and the axel which causes it to pop back up to your hand.

I know right?  Your head just exploded.  But, I'm not going to make it any easier on you because the actual science behind how what began as a string and a terra cotta disk operates is pretty astounding.  It's a delicate balance between potential energy (whereby the yo-yo can fall to the ground or spin as it travels down the string and unwinds) and the kinetic energy generated by the gyroscopic stability of the action.  Or, more simply, science makes you look like an honest-to-goodness wizard as you get better and better so hooray!


3. There Are TONS of Yo-Yo World Records

No joke.  I'm not just talking about who has yo-yoed the longest or has done the most consecutive loop the loops, but insane records like this dapper gentleman:

This man just solved a rubik's cube while a yo-yo was sleeping.  There are tons of other feats just like this and you can read more about people have the fastest throw-down time (which, I thought was an honor reserved for Vin Diesel), longest yo-yoing done while performing splits, and even the most yo-yo gravity pulls done while riding a rola bola here. And no, I don't know what a rola bola is but it sounds very, very dangerous.  


4. The Word 'Yo-Yo' was Mired in Controversey

After a 1965 Lawsuit

Today with so much talk surrounding intellectual property, licensing, and trademarks, it's hard to imagine this would've happened today, but in 1965 a federal judge ruled that the Duncan family could no longer retain the trademark to the term 'Yo-Yo'.  Competitors had struggled to be successful without using the name and in this landmark case it was ruled that 'Yo-Yo' had become common language and as such, Donald Duncan's trademark was no longer valid.  It's pretty nuts to think that such a ruling could happen but hence the controversy.  
Sadly, the resulting legal expenses and other pressures forced the Duncan family to sell off the rights to Flambeau, Inc. later on to continue the sale of Yo-Yos having gained access to the associated trademarks and Duncan name.  And the rest?  Is history.


5. The World's Most Expensive Yo-Yo was

$16,000 at Auction

No, we're not talking about an adamantium, diamond-encrusted yo-yo forged in the Mines of Moria (last LOTR reference I promise), but rather, a fairly run-of-the-mill  yo-yo.  So why so expensive?  Because of one man!
That, dear friends, is our 37th president, Richard Nixon. County star Roy Acuff gifted Mr. Nixon a yo-yo which he then tried, but apparently wasn't as good with yo-yo tricks as he was stirring up national controversies and thrilling generations of conspiracy theorists.  So, the president autographed it, gave it back to Acuff and upon his death it sold at auction for $16,000 which, if my math is correct would buy you just over 800 of our [YO]2Deltas. But, let's be honest, at that point you might as well go ahead and order 1,000 because you wouldn't want to embarrass yourself when you're sipping champagne from crystal goblets with at your next mega-yacht party.  
What other strange Yo-Yo facts have you heard?



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