Top History

ANCIENT AND MODERN SPINNING TOPS

        Spinning tops are toys that have an axis and a spinning point. They spin on an axis while maintaining balance with the point. They either spin on a plating area or anywhere on the ground, depending on the game mechanics. They have a mechanism to begin the spinning. This may include a spring cap, stem, string or pump. Spinning tops can be made from different materials such as wood, bamboo, tile, stone, clay, terra cotta, metal, or plastic. They either have carvings or colourful designs and they vary in shapes. Spinning tops are used for several purposes. They serve a lot of purpose in the ancient times unlike in modern times where they only serve as toys for children. They also become more entertaining as they develop new features and game mechanics in the long run.

Ancient Spinning Tops

        In the ancient times, children used them as toys and pastimes. The adults used them in gambling and prophecy. Spinning tops are also used in religious practices, celebrations and festivals. The ancient people offer them as gifts or tokens to honor the gods while performing religious rites. Some of the ancient tops are beigoma, dreidel and gasing.

  • Beigomais a very popular fighting top in Japan during the Edo period. It is a small but a heavy disc made out of lead and metal. People play it by wrapping a thin cord around it, then throwing it at another beigoma in the playing area. The player whose beigoma stops spinning first or is knocked out of the playing area loses the game.
  • Dreidel is an ancient spinning top played in the Jewish communities. It is a four-sided top made from wood, with a short stem at the bottom. Each player chooses a side of the dreidel. After choosing a side, each player prepares around 10-15 game pieces at the beginning of the game. Any object will do. There is a center pot where the players put an item at the beginning of each round. Each player spins the dreidel. The player whose side is facing up when the dreidel stop spinning, wins the game. The winner may take the items in the pot. The player who has run out of items has the option to borrow (loan) an item from another player or to quit the game.
  • Gasing is a spinning top from Malaysia and Indonesia. It has a variety of shapes like heart, plate, egg, saucer, acorn, ball, and cylinder. Regardless of shape, each gasing has a skewer at the bottom. The villagers challenge each other and play gasing every after the rice harvest season. The gasing game has two categories. One is the spinning contest and the other is the striking match. The objective of the spinning contest is to have the longest spin. The player whose top has the longest spin wins the game. On the other hand, the objective of the striking match is to strike the top of the other player and knock it out of the circle drawn at the beginning of the match. Like the game mechanics of beigoma, the player who knocks the top out of the circle wins. It has been said that gasing can spin for around 2 hours if it is hurled skilfully by an expert.

Modern Spinning Tops

        In the modern times, spinning tops are generally used for playing. People play them as an outdoor game or a skill game in tournaments. These modern spinning tops have four common types: twirling top, whip top, throwing top, and pump top. The twirling top is spun manually by twisting its crown or stem. The whip top is played by lashing it with a whip to keep it spinning. The throwing top is played by wrapping a string around its body which is attached to a stick. The player throws the top to release the string from its body. The pump top is also known as the humming top. Players spin it by pushing it down or pumping it several times. A pump top has small holes which create a humming noise while it spins. Below are some modern spinning tops that people play.

  • Tippe Top is slightly similar to a twirling top. It consists of a slightly flattened sphere and a stem above the sphere, which make it look like an inverted mushroom. Like a twirling top, it is manually spun by twisting its stem. It flips and turns upside down due to its precession and continues to spin on its stem until it loses balance.
  • Trompo/Trumpois a spinning top found in Latin America. Trompo has a pear or a button shape. Its tip has a conical shape made of metal. The players play trompo by wrapping a string or a cord around it, knotting the string to its tip, then throwing it on the ground. They will wait until it stops spinning. The trompo was imported to Philippines and became known as trumpo. It became popular among children during the 1980s. Unlike trompo, its tip looks like a nail. The manner of playing trumpo is the same as playing trompo. The only difference is that the players don’t tie the string into its tip.
  • Beyblade is a brand name of a modern spinning top made in Japan. It is developed and manufactured by Takara Tomy. Like the traditional spinning top, beigoma, beyblade is also a battling top. The beyblade has five parts: the face bolt, energy ring, fusion wheel, spin track, and performance wheel. Beyblade has a launcher, a device that ejects the top and brings spin to it. The players eject the top into an arena. Basically, the tops strike each other until one of them is knocked out from the arena. There are ways to score points and it is when the following happens

-       The beyblade does not land the arena.

-       A player touches another player while launching the beyblade.

-       One of the players enters the penalty box three times.

-       The player’s beyblade has the longest spin.

-       One of the players touches the arena.

 

        The game goes on until one player accumulates 7 or more points. The player who has the highest score wins the game. Beyblades can be modified in order to gain an advantage and increase the chances of winning. Some of its parts can be interchanged depending on the preferences of the player. The player can change its weight or add more parts such as blades to increase the chances of knocking the opponent’s beyblade out of the arena. The player may also modify the fusion wheel if he/she prefers a fast and long spin.

 

        Spinning tops are generally the sources of fun and entertainment for both children and adults from the ancient to the modern times.  Does anyone wonder how will spinning tops develop in a few years? Or what game mechanics will they have as they develop new features? These toys will definitely be more entertaining as they develop new features and game mechanics which are beyond imagination.

Worlds largest spinning top Pt2

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Worlds largest spinning top Pt2

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Worlds largest spinning top Pt. 1

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Worlds largest spinning top Pt. 1

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On Guiness Book of Worlds records attempt

Posted by on Oct 25, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Guinness did NOT accept our application for the biggest top in the world. It is definitely the biggest top in the world but we failed to document one criterion. Although eyewitnesses confirmed it spun independently of (without leaning on) the upper safety bearing, they could not see evidence from the video we submitted, in fact the only clear video
of the top portion did show it le
aning on the bearing. So, as I always thought, it needs to go FASTER than what a manual pull can achieve to make it unquestionable. We are working on a safer launch system. Hope to make another attempt early next year. Will repost the documentary links here again. Sorry for those who have seen it before but reposting brings it to the attention of others who haven’t seen it yet.

Prototype: Third Try

Posted by on Oct 21, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Prototype: Third Try


Joe and his final Prototype run

Prototype: Holding Prototype

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Prototype: Holding Prototype



Joe holding plans ON TOP of it all

Prototype: First try

Posted by on Oct 21, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Prototype: First try



Joe tries prototype model the first time

Images

Posted by on Oct 20, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

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Worlds Largest top