YO-YO

The second oldest toy

By Shima Saffar

Shimar Saffar is a PhD candidate in Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique School of Montreal

Shimar Saffar is a PhD candidate in Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique School of Montreal

The idea of yoyo from the historical records goes back to 16th century when the hunters in the philippines hid up in trees and used a rock tied to a long cord, up to 20 feet in length, to throw at wild animals beneath them then animals lost their balance and they fell down.

This idea travel from China, Philippines and Greece, where the Yo-yo was born.

In fact the Yo-yo is considered the second oldest toy after small stone and clay balls or marbles. 

Marbles were found in a child’s grave in Nagada, Egypt and date from 4000 BC. A Greek vase painting from 500 BC shows a boy playing with a yo-yo.

The English used the French word bandalore which means a French dandy. In France, a painting dated to 1791 shows a woman playing with an early version of the yo-yo, then known as a "Bangalore".

In the 1920s, a man named Pedro Flores that was born in Philippines and then he immigrated to the United States in 1915, and later he studied law at University of California. Flores never completed his law degree. Flores for make living dropped out of school and moved to Santa Barbara, California where he worked.

One day Flores read an article about a self-made millionaire who made his money by selling a ball attached to a rubber band. Suddenly he remembered the yo-yo which has been played for hundreds of years in the Philippines, he saw a good market opportunity in the US.

So, in 1928, Flores started his Yo-yo Manufacturing company in Santa Barbara. Pedro Flores is most-often described as the inventor of the yo-yo, but he never personally claimed to have invented the yo-yo, always mentioning its past history as a centuries-old Philippine game. In addition he is also referred to as the original patent holder of the yo-yo, however yo-yos (Bandoleros) had already been patented prior to the company's existence.

Between 1930 and 1932, Flores sold his yo-yo manufacturing to Donald F. Duncan. Flores was quoted saying "I am more interested in teaching children to use the yo-yos.” Duncan decided to hold the Duncan contests that it continue until now.

Yo-yo is the play that all category can play it, children and adults. Yo-yo can help:

  1. Relieves mental stress
  2. Improved hand-eye coordination
  3. Increase self-confidence and self-esteem
  4. Etc….

Yo-yo is cheap and easy to taking along on a trip.


• Hirahara, Naomi (2003). Distinguished Asian American Business Leaders. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-57356-344-44