I love watching spinning tops. It evokes a little poetic moment as if time is standing still while the top is spinning. Having said that, it reminds me of that spinning top with that perpetual spin in the film Inception. Although how a top doesn’t fall while it spins may be perfectly explainable, gyroscopic kinetic energy overwhelming gravity, there is still a sense of strangeness about it when you watch it. It seems to connect one momentarily to the forces at play with the spinning dance of the planets. Ok let’s spin a little!
Considering the thousands years of history of being one of the oldest toys, no wonder there are a gaziilion delightful designs. I’m only sharing a few contemporary ones, mostly available to buy. Don’t miss the wonderful film made by Eames at the bottom.
More handmade and hand painted lovely maple wood tops.
Replica of a 1920’s Bauhaus spinning top by Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack with exchangeable color theory wheels. Available from Moma Store.
Cute little ones by More Trees (Japan). These types will flip upside down as they spin.
I love anything made of glass. I couldn’t find that many glass spinning tops, I thought there would be more. Glass being exquisitely beautiful and difficult to make, these spinning tops are presented as sculptural works of art but I’m hoping some of those Murano glass souvenir makers produce some affordable ones I can buy.
These beautiful glass & wood spinning tops are from a series of work called ‘Daily Poetry’ by Ingrid Hulskamp. Watch the video of them gracefully spinning here.
Glass spinning top sculpture by Katy Holford that looks like a drop of water
If I had a 3d printer, which I’m planning/hoping to have (Mr P will have 3D printables!), I’d like to print some pretty spinning tops. These fun ones are called Toups by Cathrine Stolarski, made with 3D printing.
Simple bent wire can also become spinning tops. They will look like thin lines in space standing still while they are spinning. By Reddish studio
Now, this is a techy spinning top with the cool name of Bandai Luminodisc. Pretty simple technology actually but great fun to see it in action. I bought a tiny electric fan that does the same thing many years ago – the LED flashing light frequency syncs to the speed of spinning so the letters and graphics appear still while the object is spinning. You can set your own message to appear. (Have you ever wondered who on the earth buys those Chinese toys sold on the streets of popular touristic places, like somersaulting cats and flying saucers with LEDs? We do…)
This is a magical 1969 film by Charles Eames – one of his ‘Toys’ film series – showing children from around the world playing with spinning tops. You’ll recognise some of these from memories. Showcasing a large variety of designs, brilliant tools and techniques for the best fun you can have for that brief hypnotic moment while the top spins.
They don’t just stop time but take you back in time!