Skill Toy Museum

Flores Yo-Yo

This item captures the story of a toy and an entrepreneur. The yo-yo has a long rich history dating back as far as 500 BC. Vases from Ancient Greece depict children playing with the toy and a few terra cotta yo-yos from that time still exist. The yo-yo was played on several continents throughout its history, but this story of this yo-yo starts in the Philippines.

In 1915, Pedro Flores came to the United States from the Philippines at the age of 16. He attended college and started law school, but dropped out and moved to Santa Barbara California. He worked a variety of odd jobs, but ended up working as a bellhop. During his lunch breaks, he began demonstrating a toy that he had played with as a child. In the Philippines, the yo-yo or "come-come" in the Filipino language of Tagalog, was carved out of wood and very popular with children. He started to sense there might be a market and decided to start a business. The Lucky Collector's Guide to 20th Century Yo-Yos: History & Values quotes Flores as saying " I do not expect to make a million dollars, I just want to be working for myself. I have been working for other people for practically all my life and I don't like it."

In 1928, he started the Yo-Yo Manufacturing Company and carved a dozen yo-yos by hand. Within a year, he was able to increase production and create several different versions. The prices ranged from 15 cents to $1.50. For the next few years he grew the business by hosting yo-yo spinning contests in theaters and coining the slogan, If it isn't a Flores, it isn't a yo-yo. In the early 1930s, entrepreneur Donald Duncan learned about the yo-yo and bought Flores' business for $250,000 (during the Depression!) Flores stayed on with Duncan promoting the yo-yo with demonstrations and contests which helped to make the Duncan yo-yo the brand we still see in stores today.

Below are pictures of our Flores yo-yo. We don't have an exact date, but we know it was made between 1928-1932.

Related Blog Posts

Skill Toy Museum

Whirley-Whirler

Skill Toy Museum

Flores Yo-Yo

More Posts