Boys Clothing Worn with Yo-yos

Figure 1.--.

A popular toy for children dating back centuries was the yo-yo. It was called a yo-yo in the Philippines, meaning come-come. It became enormously popular in America during the 1950s and while not now as possible, continues to interst childern--especilly boys.


The yo-yo has aincient origins. It is pictured on Grecian vases. Yo-yos were popular in in 17th century France. Fashionable ones were carved out of ivory.

People in the Philippines used them as weapons. It was there that Duncan discovred the yo-yo and conceived of its potential as a children's toy. By the 1950s every American kid was learning yo-yo tricks. For some reason it interested boys more than girls. Yo-yos came in a staggering numbeer of desisns and color. Some were studed with diamond-like rhinestones.


A yo-yo consists of two similar lobes of material (typically plastic or wood) joined at their centers by an axle to which a length of string is attached. Yo-yos generally are available in three basic forms: butterfly, tournament, and slimline. The butterfly models are, when viewed in profile, shaped somewhat like a butterfly (hence the name). The tournament design, the most popular by far, more resembles an Oreo cookie in profile. The slimline model is essentially a tournament with a smaller string spacing (think of an Oreo with no cream filling).

In theory, a yo-yos use is quite simple. Attach the free end of the string to your middle finger, wind the string about the axle of the yo-yo, hold the yo-yo in your hand above the ground and release. The yo-yo will fall towards the ground, spinning as it does. When it reaches the end of its string, it will wind itself back up the string, giving the raspberry to gravity all the while, and end up back in your hand.

In practice, however, operation is quite different. Some deal of manual dexterity is required to coax the yo-yo to return back up to your hand, and heaven help you if you actually want to catch it.


As the yo-yo craze began in America during the 1950s, many photographs of boys playing with yo-yos show boys wearing striped "T"shirts, dungaress, and Keds (tennis shoes).

Christopher Wagner

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Created: December 12, 1999
Last updated: March 19, 2000