Wondering about wild grapes

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wondering about an old metal top

Got to thinking about a toy (a top) that my Dad gave to me when I was a boy. I don’t know if it was new or one he had when he was young. Either way, by now it would be a really old top, ‘cause I am getting old myself. Really you say? Oh yea!!

This top was metal and it had holes in it around the side near the top that made it whistle if it was spinning fast enough. It came with a string and a small metal disk at one end. You wrapped the string around the top and you put the end with the disc between your fingers and the little disc would hold the end of the string securely in your hand. You then tossed the top as hard as you could throw, either underhand or overhand, and just at the right time you pulled back on the string. If you did this correctly and fast enough, the top would whistle and spin all over the place. I loved that top and spent many hours perfecting my throw.

During my learning process I put a few dents in our kitchen wall because I didn't pull back on the string soon enough. I used the kitchen to spin the top since it had a linoleum floor and a lot of open space. My parents’ house had a combination kitchen and dining room, so the room was plenty big enough to practice with that top.

I am also wondering; have any of you ever seen, used, or had a top like that? It was not large and was small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Although small, it was quite heavy for its size.


For those of you who read yesterday’s blog but didn’t read the comments, I will give some information here that I didn’t give in the blog itself. There are 200 million containers shipped annually, so now you see that 10,000 is not a big percentage, just 0.005% (that is 0.00005 x 200,000,000 = 10,000)


  1. Of course I renumber spinning tops, but never had metal on, all wooden . I remember playing some type of game with a circle drawn on the hard packed play ground and trying to knock your opponent's top out of the circle.

    Side story , my cousin put his eye out with one of them. Threw it onto the street, it bounced , ricocheted off his daddy's car and into his eye!!! Blinded him in that eye.
    Should something like that happen nowadays, there'd be law suits allover.

  2. Yep had a metal top and I think I wore it out.

  3. Where I growed up, we had to hand make most our toys, but somehow I had a store bought top in my collection of toys. Finding string strong enough was the biggest problem since flour and sugar sack string would break after a few spins of the top. Toys of old will never be forgotten.

  4. Ben, I also remember the wooden ones but the one my Dad gave me was made of steel and quite heavy for its size, but worked real well.

    Barney, they sure were fun. If I can ever find mine I will post a picture.

    BB, You are right, good old toys will never be forgotton. Finding string strong enough would be a problem.

  5. Remember there was one at my grandparents when I was a little kid. No one showed me how to make it go, so I never played with it. Wonder what happened to all those old toys my grandparents used to have.

  6. I can remember the wooden ones, but don't think I've ever seen one of the metal ones!

    My grandpa made a couple out of pine cones that we spun by hand, but they didn't work as well as the heavier ones that took a string!

    So many of the simple toys we had back then were more fun than the stuff they make today!

  7. Sixbears, it would be a shame if all their old toys were lost. Things do get lost as the generations progress.

    HJ, Your last statement sure is correct. BTW, that old metal top would, if thrown hard enough, would spin for minutes and minutes. I used to play against the clock, but my memory fails me on how long I could make one spin. The metal ones were heavier and would spin longer.

  8. Yup....remember the metal one, also had a wood one. Anybody have one of the metal gyroscopes, they were cool to play with.

  9. Seth, The gyroscopes came a little later, but I do remember them, too.