Today is National Yo-Yo Day. It is believed that the yo-yo was first invented in ancient Greece because there is a Greek vase painting, from 500 BC, that shows a boy playing with one. It was made popular in America when Donald F. Duncan, Sr. manufactured the Duncan Yo-Yo in the early 1900s. It’s name 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 and there is a National Yo-Yo Museum in Chico, California.
Today is the perfect day to get out your yo-yos and try your hand at The Sleeper, Walk the Dog, Shooting the Moon, Around the World or Hop the Fence. For those of you that don’t know, those are specific moves you can do with a yo-yo. I never mastered any of them. I was lucky if I could get the disc to roll back up the string at least once. Even though there was always a yo-yo in the toy cupboard, I don’t recall anyone in my family being good at making it do what they wanted.
According to the National Day of Calendar, this day was founded in 1990 in Arcade, NY by Daniel Volk, the date of Donald F. Duncan’s birth in 1892. Volk once worked for Duncan Toy Company as a talented yo-yo demonstrator from 1976-1978, touring the western part of the United States. As a result, he had the opportunity to impart some of his yo-yoing wisdom to two talented comedians, The Smothers Brothers. In conjunction with National Yo-Yo Day, the Hummingbird Toy Company produced the first of several Smothers Brothers brand yo-yos.
To enjoy some real yo-yo talent, you can go to You-Tube and search for The Smothers Brothers Yo-Yo man videos. There are a few good ones. And if you are too young to remember the Smothers Brothers, they will be a treat to watch for a few minutes. If you are trying to come up with a vacation spot to do something different, I highly recommend The Strong, a museum in my area where you can spend more than a few hours, no matter what age you are.