20 March 2010

1980s Yo-Yo Revolution - Ball Bearings And The Yomega Brain...

A fascinating e-mail from Tom:

Hi! Love your blog! The '80s was such a "move on" decade.

Did you know that even the humble yo-yo was transformed during the 1980s?

On October 27 1980, Michael Caffrey applied for a US patent for what would become the Yomega Brain - "the yo-yo with a brain".

He received the patent on June 1 1982.

The Yomega company was formed in 1983 and began production in 1984. The Yomega Brain uses a patented centrifugal clutch through which it releases the axle for long spin times when thrown. When the yo yo slows down, the clutch grabs on to the axle as the yoyo begins to climb the string and thus returns to your hand automatically.

Svenska Kullagerfabriken AB or SKF, are a Swedish company, manufacturing ball bearings. In 1984, they released the world's first yo yos with a ball bearing axle as promotions for their products. This would prove a massive influence in later years - enabling enthusiasts to create new and more complex tricks.

1985 was the year of the first yo-yo in space - as part of an experiment called "Toys In Space", studying the effects of weightlessness on toys.

Are you a yo-yo fan?

Well, yo-yos were never really my thing, Tom - I lack the necessary dexterity - but thanks for the information. We try to cover a broad range of subjects here, so insights like yours are always welcome.

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