Yo-Yo Day is celebrated annually on the 6th of June. It is no coincidence that this corresponds with the birthday of famous entrepreneur Donald Duncan Sr, who in the 1930s, got into the yo-yo business.
Yo-yos have been around 2,000 years and were known under different names such as quizzes or bandalores. Nevertheless, the origin of the yo-yo appears to stem from the Philippines and the earliest entry of the word appears in a Filipino dictionary in the early 1860s.
In the 1920s, Pedro Flores (a man with Filipino roots) began constructing yo-yos in America. He was stunned with how American youngsters and adolescents took to the toy and started mass producing the product. Yo-yos are firmly embedded into toy culture across the globe.
It is believed that the yo-yo was first invented in ancient Greece. There is a Greek vase painting, from 500 BC, that shows a boy playing with a yo-yo.
Pedro Flores immigrated to the United States as a young boy. He built a business from a toy he played with in the Philippines called a bandalore. He called it the Flores Yo-yo and between 1928 and 1932 the Yo-yo Manufacturing Company operated in Santa Barbara, California. He later sold his companies to Donald F. Duncan.
The yo-yo was made popular in America when Donald F. Duncan, Sr. manufactured the Duncan Yo-Yo in the early 1900s. The name “Yo-Yo” was first registered as a trademark in 1932.
In 1999, the Duncan Yo-Yo was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York.
The National Yo-Yo Museum is located in Chico, California.