Spinning Tops & Gyro Tops

Do you remember the various types of toy spinning tops? There was the old faithful wooden 'top' which looked pear shaped as shown below. The idea was to wrap a length of string round and round the lower section, progressively up the cone shape, then making sure you had a firm grip of the remaining string you thrust the device groundwards. In so doing, the string would unwind making the top spin. When the top hit the ground it would spin on the solid pin at the 'pointed' end until such time as the revolutions were too slow to keep it upright and it rolled to a stop. You can see from the picture that the pin on the bottom is quite substantial to take the punishment of hitting the ground at speed.

Toy Spinning Tops


The Gyro Top arrived on the scene post war as I recall as did the Humming Top. The picture of the Gyro Top is not exactly the same as those we used but pretty close. The idea was to thread some thin string through the hole in the centre shaft, rotate the centre wheel to wind on a length of the string, then gripping the outer ring firmly with one hand pull the string sharply with the other causing the centre disc to rotate at a good speed.

The top could then be placed on the ground where it would of course remain upright until the rotation speed dropped to a level which would no longer hold the top vertical. At this time it would roll onto its side evntually coming to a complete stop.

The Humming Spinning Top was a bit more up-market. No string required!
Simply pull up the centre spiral plunger and then push it down firmly causing the top to spin. Keep this action up to gain increasing speed and at an appropriate speed the top would 'hum' or 'whistle'. Once again, the top would remain vertical until the speed dropped below a certain level at which time you could render more plunger action to speed it up again.

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