The 5 yo-yos that revolutionized yoyoing

Thanks @YOHANS and @Gentry_Stein

  1. 1904 St. Louis World’s fair yoyo (1904, first patent)

  2. Flores yo-yo (1926, first looped string yoyo that spins)

  3. SKF Swedish (~1965, first bearing and take-apart yo-yo)

  4. YYF Grind Machine (2004, first unresponsive yoyo)

  5. Shutter (2013, wide but smooth spinning, broke price down to $50 for metal yo-yo)

I guess this is also @yohans answer to Pick five yo-yos to demonstrate yo-yo history from 1950-2019?


SKF is from the 1960’s…



Fair, the yo-yo wiki says

They are famous in the yo-yo world for producing the first yo-yos with a ball bearing axle in 1984, as a promotion for their products

We ought to edit that page


Pretty sure yoyowiki is wrong about SKF being from the 80’s. Otherwise the original ProYo would have beat it as the first take apart.

EDIT: I see Hans already beat me to the correction.


So, I’m not going to argue much with @YOHANS on this topic. He’s probably forgotten more than I know about yoyo history.

That said, I think this is a cool list with logic behind it, but I also don’t think that it is so much so that a completely different list couldn’t be just as easily justified. Was the SKF really more important to yoyoing than the take-apart ProYo or the bearing SB2? Does being “first” beat out being available for purchase by thousands of people? Did the fact that the GM came out of the box unresponsive really make that much of a difference as far as the progression of unresponsive yoyoing? Or did it just save throwers some time and hassle? What about the birth of unresponsive play by yoyos such as the Renegade and FH1? And speaking of the FH1, what about 2/3/4/5A yoyos? It could be argued that the Raider pushed 2A play further than any individual yoyo pushed 1A. And wasn’t @codinghorror’s favorite DV888 a sub-$50 yoyo before the Shutter? (okay, okay, that last one was mostly a joke).

Anyway, I don’t think there can ever be a 100% definitive list simply because there are too many ways to look at what “matters”. And like I said, I’m not really arguing with Hans. That guy knows what he’s talking about. I just enjoy discussions like this because it reminds us all of the deep history that this hobby has. And understanding what came before you is key to understanding where we are today, as far as I’m concerned.


As a layman, Im surprised to see that the Duncan Butterfly or anything Duncan is nowhere to be found. I think yoyo may have died without their influence, no?


Flores is Duncan my man, look up the history


Flores had the trademark on the word yo-yo in the US (registered on 22 July 1930), but not as commonly believed a patent on the actual products. At this time the only yo-yo related patent was for the bandalore, however this didn’t deter Flores from frequently using the words “patent pending” and “patent applied for” on the yo-yos, a tactic employed to deter competitors.

Donald F. Duncan, founder of the Duncan company and a competitor to the Flores products, bought the yo-yo trademark and company from Pedro Flores in 1932 for a reported sum of $250,000.00, a large amount of money in the depression of the 1930’s. Duncan continued to market their line of Duncan products in addition to Flores products for a number of years. As a result of this, competitors in the early Duncan contests could either use a Duncan gold-seal or genuine Flores yo-yo.

I did not know, thanks for making me look it up. Im just a bit dubious about the gap between Flores’ model, an obscure product, and the 2004 Grind Machine. The vid seems awfully YYF friendly to me when it comes to repainting the past, and was surprised not to even see mention of the biggest classic yoyo brand.


888 could have replaced the shutter


Not with Gentry in the room! Also Shutter does better represent 2013-onward, for sure.



I feel like any list of this type that does not include Tom Kuhn is a little disingenuous. That also accounts for the gap between 1965 and 2003… but to be fair the turbo bumble bee or proyo II are equally strong candidates!


I eat/sleep/breath the history of yoyo, yoyo promotion, and yoyo tech. If I was given the task of “6 most influential yoyos” instead of 5 I would have mentioned Russell (Jack was the most influential purveyor of yoyos around the planet).


Hah this post is a recipe for disaster : D

But in all seriousness…there’s nnoooooo way folks will come to an agreement on this top 5 list lol. No offense but Grind Machine and Shutter? No no noooooo way man lol.


Yeah, it all comes down to how you personally define “revolutionize”, and what criteria you use to decide between yoyos that are equally worthy but for very different reasons.

I really appreciate that Gentry learned on a Fast 201. I re-learned yo-yoing on one of those!

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What a great conversation STARTER.

Rather than just shout into the wind ‘WRONG’ I wish people would propose their 5!


Fun fact, after Pedro Flores left Duncan he came to my hometown of Rockford, IL and started the Bandalore Company :slight_smile:

I’d love to find one of these some day. @YOHANS Do you happen to know anything about this company? I’ve been trying to track down where the factory was here, and any other info for a number of years now.

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The internet is no place for things like that Ben. Shout Wrong first, start a new topic later is how this thing works :rofl:


Fun fact I was born in Rockford Ill :wink:
Rockford was a very industrious city at one point. Home of Testors Paint/Model Kits and the favorite hide-out spot for Al Capone.
The “Bandalore” is more difficult to find than a Flores. I am always on the hunt for one, the collection still missing that significant piece of the story.
Pedro Flores left Duncan and Joe Radovan was always in his ear cajoling him to get back into yoyos. Bandalore then Royal were the progressive steps to the ultimate take-down of the “yo-yo” trademark in the 1960’s. Bitter pill for Don Sr as he felt he had settled the argument by paying $250,000 in 1932 for the purchase of the trademark from Flores (roughly $4m in today’s dollars crazy money in the middle of the Great Depression). Joe Radovan wasn’t a benefactor of the purchase and felt no loyalty to the agreement. He felt it was intellectually dishonest that Don Sr would claim ownership of the name of the toy all Filipino’s knew as a child. We all benefit today from Joe Radovan’s persistence ¯_(ツ)_/¯