Tom Kuhn Heirloom Box of six yo-yo history

Very nice little box set!

I figure after 1992, things were kinda static until the 1999 boom? This 1996 ProYo II is emblematic of the next shift…


A few notes on this one

  • I didn’t understand why the wooden axle sleeve was so big, until I figured out that it’s a kind of “response area”, the unfinished wood is way rougher than the smooth plastic.

  • you can see the shift to rim weighting models here, where the plastic is much denser on the rims

  • switch to the “wheel” style of design versus imperial or butterfly

You can still buy it on YYE for $4.50 in modern form…

All this eventually leads to the Turbo Bumble Bee in 1997 and the Cold Fusion, in 1998!


Very cool! Really like the look of the those Silver Bullets.

Oooooo, ahhhhhhh

Pretty slick.

Very cool piece, the heirloom boxes are pretty tough to find! I think some of the dates are a little off though. Here’s a cool page that a big TK collector made a while a back: TK Chronology


That’s a really cool box. Smo Bro No Jive in the butterfly configuration is quite a bit rarer than the imperial one I think. Correct @mrciurleo?


I think! A handful of the more limited No-Jives were in the butterfly configuration, though I have no idea how many or what models specifically. Maybe @edhaponik can weigh in?

1 Like

I wanted an original ProYo so I bought this 1988 package dated version


Does it unscrew? I am not sure it does? I tried unscrewing it and had quite a bit of resistance so I am afraid to crank it. Hard to tell what the axle is. I need to take the pogs out.


Aha. I am going with “can’t be unscrewed” so maybe that is the primary diff between pro-yo 1 and 2?

1 Like

If it has a wood axle then it definately comes apart…BUT the pog/lens has to be popped out. If you excert too much force that wood axle will snap. Those were the best performing wood axle yoyos ever…for about 5 minutes. There is a knurled brass nut under the pog that holds the whole thing together. Don’t attempt to unscrew it like a modern yoyo.


Well well look who showed up…


It is still hard to tell what’s going on with the axle of this Pro-Yo 1. Ah wait. I took the string off and it is definitely a full metal axle, not a wood transaxle.


So the Pro-Yo 2

  • screws apart in a rational way
  • uses a wood transaxle, not a metal axle
  • has large wooden sides on that transaxle for a “wooden response area”

In addition to verifying the metal axle, I see zero provision for any kind of response inside the pro-yo 1, no starburst or anything, just the (one piece?) metal nut that makes up the metal axle.



  1. the proyo2 is not a wooden transaxle. Think of it more like a tiny one-piece Flores yoyo hugged in perfectly formed plastic bodies to make it feel modern. Those high wooden walls kept the halves parallel and helped with response. The curved axle area helped solve the fragility of the proyo1 wooden axle but hugged the string too much and caused more friction and less spin than the proyo1.
  1. the proyo “1” has a brass “hex axle” to solve the problem of rotating halves (the endless pursuit of early 20th century yoyo engineers, actually the subject of the very first U.S. yoyo patent).

Your proyo “1” is riveted or does it have the knurl fastener?


@codinghorror btw we never played proyo1 with the pogs in place. We played pogs off to have access to the knurled fastener.


Mine looks riveted to my eye? What does the knurled fastener look like, got any pics?

@codinghorror the brass hex axle worked, just had a narrow range of operation vs string tension. The wood axle gave a much wider range of operation for string tension.

The knurl nut looks like a brass disc with ridges around the perimeter. If your yoyo had it you would know it.


image image image image image




I popped a thin poly string on the Pro-Yo 1 and took it for a spin … wow, yeah, the Pro-Yo 2 is dramatically better. You weren’t kidding @YOHANS! Big big difference in play with the wood transaxle and wooden response areas versus the plain plastic and metal axle.

(I think I might have messed up my Pro-Yo 1 a bit by trying to relatively gently unscrew it… the plastic halves shift a tiny bit at the apex of every throw, not sure if that’s making it perform unusually badly.)

Honestly the Pro-Yo 2 is still a good enough player that selling it for $4.50 new, as YYE does now, makes total sense. I’d argue it is clearly better than a Duncan Butterfly XT. And you can unscrew and potentially repair it, too!


@codinghorror The YoYoFactory Legend and Legend wing satisfy all fixed axle wood cravings. The upcoming update to the Arrow Elite will become your favorite recommended beginner throw. Everything discussed in this thread was foundational to what we play with today…but it is the past :raised_hands:t2::wink:


Here’s the 1997 Turbo Bumble Bee!



As you can see, coming from the very good performance of the Pro-Yo II we now have

  • replaceable response pad stickers
  • metal bearing :metal:

And thus begins the dawn of the modern yo-yo! :raised_hands:

I don’t know if you can see it in the pic but there was a bit of rust on the outer edge of the bearing. I cleaned it up as best I could with a lightly oiled buffing cloth, then thick lubed the bearing. It plays great, actually. :star_struck:

Now just add some metal to the mix (Cold Fusion, a year later), begin sloooowly widening the yo-yos a tad, and we’re set for the last yo-yo boom around 1999, as you can see here:

I don’t think I’m going to bother getting a metal Cold Fusion, since they’re (as far as I know) basically just metal Bumble Bees, and a bit pricey as they are in demand by collectors.