Yo-Yo Factoids for the Press

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Lucky Meisenheimer M.D has the Guinness World Record for the largest yo-yo collection with 4251 different yo-yos.  The most people yo-yoing at the same time is 2129.  This AYYA world record was achieved at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, FL  1/29/2008

Prior to 1928 yo-yos were called bandalores in the United States.

The yo-yo had nothing to do with the invention of the guillotine, but many French nobles that played the toy, which was very fashionable at the time, did lose their heads.

The British Association of Toy Retailers voted the Yo-Yo the “Craze of the Century” for the 20th century.

The first patent for a bandalore (yo-yo) in the United States was filed in 1866.

The yo-yo is believed to have originated in China around 1000 BC, but there may have been multiple independent countries of origin.

$10,000.00. In the 1970’s, Linda Sengpiel offered $10,000.00 to anyone who could do her ten-trick routine…nobody collected.

The name yo-yo has been used in the Philippines for hundreds of years to describe the toy.

Lucky Meisenheimer has built a six foot tall statue of a man out of 603 different yo-yos.

Tim Redmond in 2005 made a yo-yo sleep for 16min and 17 seconds for the current world record.

In 1928 Pedro Flores a Filipino immigrant was the first to market the toy by the name of yo-yo in the United States.

The yo-yo was sold as a souvenir for the 1904 world’s fair.

Pedro Flores ran the first yo-yo contest in Santa Barbara, CA in 1928, which started the first yo-yo craze.

The world’s largest wood yo-yo is 6 feet tall and weighs 820lbs.  It has been yo-yoed using a 160 foot crane.  It was built by a wood working class in Shakamak, IL.  This yo-yo is part of Lucky Meisenheimer’s collection.

The press likened the late 1920s yo-yo fad to a case of measles. They said the yo-yo craze would run it course in a few weeks never to be seen again. Fortunately we have never mounted immunity to the toy and 70 years later millions of yo-yos continue to be sold each year.

The marketing genius Don Duncan bought the yo-yo trademark from Pedro Flores in 1932 and subsequently made the yo-yo a household name. Duncan also invented the Eskimo pie and unfortunately also produced the Duncan parking meter.

In the 1930s Duncan convinced William Randolph Hearst to use his newspapers to promote yo-yo contests. In exchange Duncan required contestants to sell 3 subscriptions to the newspaper for entry in the contest. The first contest promoted in this fashion resulted in 50,000 new subscribers for one newspaper in just 8 weeks.

In the early 1940s yo-yo production almost stopped from the lack of material and manpower due to World War II.

Duncan released its first light up yo-yo in 1950 called the Electric Lighted yo-yo.

In the middle 1950s the first plastic glow yo-yo was produced called the Dyna-Glo

Duncan did not own the yo-yo trademark in Canada it was owned by a company called Cheerio. In the U.S. during the 50s this company marketed its yo-yos as “Cheerios”.

The Duncan Company released its new “high tech” model the “Butterfly” in 1958.

Prior to 1965 Duncan was responsible for 85 percent of all yo-yos purchased in the United States.Duncan lost it trademark to the name yo-yo in 1965 and went bankrupt the same year.Flambeau Plastics bought the Duncan trademark in 1968 and continues to produce Duncan yo-yos to this day.

In 1968 Abbie Hoffman “walked the dog” with his yo-yo while testifying before a congressional committee and was found in contempt.

President Richard Nixon, shortly before his resignation in 1974, played a yo-yo at the “Grand ole Opry” with country music legend Roy Acuff. Twenty years later the Nixon autographed yo-yo sold at auction for $16,029.00.

At the peak of its production the Duncan factory employed 640 and produced as many as 60,000 yo-yos per day and in 1962, 45 million sold in one year.

A yo-yo was taken on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1985. Astronauts played the yo-yo while orbiting the earth. They found it was easier to do the trick “around the world” when you weren’t going around the world. Gravity definitely makes the toy more fun.

Yomega released the first yo-yo with an auto return mechanism in 1984.It was called “Yomega the Yo-Yo with a brain.”

Seventeen different collectible models of yo-yos have broken the $1000 mark at auction on eBay.

In 1986 Tommy Smothers made his “YoYo Man” debut on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.

The National Yo-Yo Museum is located in Chico, CA.

In 1990  “Fast Eddy” McDonald set a world record for yo-yo loops doing 8437 in one hour.

The first modern world yo-yo championships were held in 1992 organized by Dale Oliver, the championships continue to be held annually and attract hundreds of yo-yo competitors from around the world.

The first modern national yo-yo championships were held in 1993 in Chico, CA organized by Bob Malowney. The national championships are an annual event and have been hosted at Chico every year since its inception.

The American Yo-Yo Association was founded in 1993.

The youngest person to win the world yo-yo championships is Takumi Nagase(1999) from Japan at age 12; the oldest is Dale Myrberg(1996) at age 54.

The first female to win the world championships was Jennifer Baybrook(1998) at age 18.

In 1999 Lucky Meisenheimer, M.D. published the first instructional book on collecting yo-yos “Lucky’s Collectors Guide to 20th Century Yo-Yos”.

The most expensive retailed yo-yo is the Duncan Mg at $400.00!

In 2000 Steve Brown introduced; Freehand Play where the yo-yo is not attached to the finger.

Over 2000 different yo-yo tricks are known to currently exist.

Lucky Meisenheimer produces the poster “Lucky’s Periodic Table of Yo-Yos” in 2006.

The American Yo-Yo Association (AYYA) tracks 38 different competitive yo-yo world records.