10 Historical Toys

1930s versions of the yo-yo like this one weren’t quite as fancy as the light-up and automatically retracting ones of today. ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Ancient Greek documents date the yo-yo back to 500 B.C.E., when children and adults crafted models made from wood, metal or painted clay [source: McMahon]. By the 18th century, French nobles played with yo-yos made from glass or ivory [source: Patrick and Thompson]. The modern yo-yo dates back to 1929, when immigrant Pedro Flores started the Yo-Yo Manufacturing Company in the United States. Within a year, his company, which later became the Duncan Toy Company, was producing a whopping 300,000 of the toys each day [source: Townsend]. Yo-yo competitions and the quest for ever-evolving tricks and showmanship helped promote this toy throughout the country. While the yo-yo has fallen out of favor thanks to the introduction of more complex toys and games, the yo-yo competition circuit remains strong. Modern versions of the toy, including light-up and ball versions that automatically retract, have helped the yo-yo enjoy periodic revivals among the masses.