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Current Posts => Latest Spin => Topic started by: Watts' Tops on October 31, 2009, 09:26:54 PM

Title: The Monark Top
Post by: Watts' Tops on October 31, 2009, 09:26:54 PM
Don has marketed the Monark Top in the past.  I would like to write a bit about the beginning of that top.
One day in the early 70's, Dwight Paulson and I were discussing tops and camps.  He said, and I agreed that good tops were hard to come by and kids wanted tops.  They saw us spin and wanted one too.  We did  not have any.  I suggested we make our own mold and make our tops.  He had a good laugh and that was the end.  A couple of months later, he wrote asking if I was still interested in the top mold.  As it turned out, we each put in $200 along with his brother and dad and, I think, Don Winters.  We had $1000.  The mold was made in Seattle for about $600.  A one shot with point made of the same material as the top.  Dwight experimented with different plastics.  Some made good tops but lousy points and vice verses.  Some were brittle or to light.  I have some made before the M was put on top made of different materials. 
As it turned out, we settled on a plastic and started making tops.  We had to glue them together and package our own.  If I remember correctly, we sold them to camp kids for about 30 cents. 
This went on for several years with top spinning contests in camp.  I had Monark tops in my classroom when I taught school. Kids loved them.  We had lots of tape to fix them when they came apart. 
Then the mold sat for about 20 years. Dwight had it then I had it for a while and tried getting some tops made.  The fastening parts together was the hurdle.
Don Olney heard about the mold and bought half of it.  We were now able to get Monark tops again only not quite for 30 cents.  Don improved the tip making it out of separate plastic and did a good job marketing it.
For all the tops I glued together, I never thought of wrapping tape around it before selling it.  I learned this now from this web site.  What a great idea.  We just kept re-gluing the tops when kids brought them to us.
I am sure Don can add information about the Monark as can Dwight Paulson.
Walt Watts
Watts' Tops
Prov. 3:5-6
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Ketzaltlipoka on October 31, 2009, 09:57:33 PM
It would be good have a photo.
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: silvertop on October 31, 2009, 10:28:36 PM
I'll try to get a photo taken to post.  I still have quite a few Monarchs around (I notice Walter spelled it differently?)-  I got the left-overs when The Toycrafter went out of business, plus I saved some from each batch we made over the years.  There are even a few from the original ones that I think I got from Dwight.  The Monarch was a definite improvement over the Duncan plastic tops of that era - 1960's, and until more recent times (when Dale, Duncan, and others realized there was a small market again, and designed some tops with further improvements, including the bearing tips) the Monarch was the best plastic top ever.  My  wooden top was modeled as closely as I could to the Monarch shape.  You should see the "ice cream cone" shaped wooden tops I made before the redesign.  The shape was not good, and the tips on my original peg tops were made from arrow parts - I believe they were the part that the feathers are glued to when you are making your own arrows.  Again I'll try to post some pictures.  They were basically terrible tops!   I just found one of the originals here at home - pictures below.  That is mason's line that I sold with them - I enclosed a small wooden wheel for a button.  I've already admitted that they were terrible tops, so please spare me the guffaws!  :) ;) :( ::)
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Pulp on November 01, 2009, 07:27:11 AM
The monarch top I know is that:

(http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj150/Pulpowsky/Monarchalcompleto.jpg)


With a crown in the "crown" of the top.

(http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj150/Pulpowsky/Monarchsuperior.jpg)


Have a little defective inyection point in the same side of the two parts...

(http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj150/Pulpowsky/Monarchlateraldefecto.jpg)


... so that, I wrap electrical tape around it (colours of the spanis flag is deliberate :-D )

The tip is tunned by myself.

(http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj150/Pulpowsky/Monarchlateralcinta.jpg)


And the Toycrafters paper:

(http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj150/Pulpowsky/Monarchprospecto.jpg)


In my oppinion, the top with the perfection of the Greek phylosophers.

Spin perfectly balanced, and is the top that burn my hand (pointest tip).
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: ta0 on November 01, 2009, 09:13:21 AM
Ha! The instructions on that little piece of paper were my initiation to the art of top spinning!
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Pulp on November 01, 2009, 09:24:16 AM
Ha! The instructions on that little piece of paper were my initiation to the art of top spinning!

Sure ¡  Does the drawings made by your hand ?
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: RunBMC on November 01, 2009, 09:40:51 AM
with th plastic one pulp showed us, cn we do normal tricks like the boomarang? if so, were can i get one?
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: mtntop on November 01, 2009, 09:50:22 AM
Thanks for sharing the history of the monarch it is a great top i still look for them when I'm out shopping the web. I was just throwing mine yesterday as well as it's solid wood counterpart. I taped mine straight away so I haven't had to glue it yet, is the seam flush or nested? also were there any issues with balancing and cap orientation? Just curious.
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: RunBMC on November 01, 2009, 10:08:14 AM
is the monarch the same one on yoyoguy?
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: mtntop on November 01, 2009, 10:22:45 AM
It is but I think they have been sold out for a while
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: poptop on November 01, 2009, 02:25:08 PM
Thanks for the terrific bits of history!  I don't think too many folks here knew the whole story of the Monarch top.  I think we knew that Don bought the mold for the Monarch, but from whom?  Now we know!  Thanks.

Personally, I find the Monarch to be an improvement to the Duncan Imperial and Sir Duncan of the 60's.  These were both lighter and the Imperial suffers for poor balance.  The Sir Duncan is well balanced, but so light.  The Monarch is nearly 10g heavier than those old Sir Dunc's.  I do like the Duncan tip though.  I think I recall Walter saying previously, that while solving the problem of the caps coming unglued, the "snap cap" ruined plastic tops for play.

Here are the measurements I've taken:

Model            Mass (g)   Height (mm)   Width (mm)
Monarch          43.5          72.5         52
Sir Duncan       33.5          73.0         52

Again, these differences are slight and prolly within my margin of error. These two tops are quite similier; their crowns are about the same too.

Walter, do you still have the other half of the mold?
Don, do you have your half?
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: silvertop on November 01, 2009, 09:22:15 PM
I'll try to comment on some of the comments - starting at the end.  The mold for the Monarch tops is sort of in my possession.  First, I purchased half interest in the mold, not half of the mold.  The mold was in the possession of my plastics molding provider when they went out of business.  The owner kindly took many of his molds with him when he went to work for a different plastics company as their sales person, so the mold is theoretically still available.  I remember some discussion with Cliff about whether the separate mold for the tips was also still around, along with a mold I had made for some lovely little plastic finger tops that I used in our "Spinning Top Mazes".  The mold remained mine ( 1/2 mine ) even with the sale of The Toycrafter, and subsequent bankruptcy of the new owner.

The little gate flaws were always a problem.  We trimmed them a bit, but did not put any special effort into trying to make them perfect, so the issues of part orientation, etc did not come up.  (The tape idea is a wonderful innovation)  There is an inner lip that aligns the crown part and the base part quite nicely!  In our defense, probably less than 1 in a thousand of them were sold to anyone who even knew how to spin them, and certainly not to anyone who weighed, balanced, or taped them!  The button was originally die cut from plastic sheeting, and subsequently we laser cut them from 3mm Baltic Birch, and also supplied the wood buttons to Brad Countryman for his various generations of tops.  In fact, we used lathe turned white plastic tips from Brad as the tips for our wood tops for a while, until we realized we could mold them cheaper, and then we sold tips to Brad.

I'm don't remember the kind of plastic we used, but I do remember that some of the odd colors for different batches were based on Cliff having odd small batches of the right plastic that I could get cheaper than insisting on a particular color!  I remember particularly liking the Yellow & Black version!  The blue and red ones were a similar serendipity of small batches of colors available.  The few pieces with mixed colors during the switchover in the colors, were particularly cool, and would be particularly collectible I presume.

The comment on the sharp points is right on target.  The original tips from the mold were quite rounded, but the new ones (made with some combination of fiber glass and plastic) came out quite sharp, and the cost of reshaping the mold - essentially adding material back in - was very expensive.  I always threw the first throw on the floor to blunt the tip!  The artwork on the instructions was done by an old girlfriend.  I wrote the written material with a lot of agonizing over how to convey the complexity of top spinning in words!  In the old days, pretty much everybody learned from the previous generation - you just absorbed the skill from watching the big kids!

The Monarch, and the Wooden Peg Top were always big money losers for us.  Given that we sold up to a million tops and other toys a year, the 2 or 3 thousand peg tops we sold per year were a tiny drop in the bucket, and cost us a lot more than we were ever able to sell them for.  I just felt I had to keep them around.  I was always amused that many toy ads and ads for the NY Toy Show, would feature the old fashioned throwing top as an iconic toy, even though pretty much nobody knew how to play with them!
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Watts' Tops on November 01, 2009, 09:26:59 PM
I did spell it wrong.  Sorry about that.  Should be Monarch.
  We sold half interest.  Another correction.  If I dig around in my tops stuff I will find parts for the originals. 
  Just a side note.  I did develop a spin weld system for my lathe.  Each half was placed in a molded block.  One on the stationary side and the other spinning.  I put acidtone on the two matching edges, turned on the lathe to a high speed, pushed the tail stock to the parts came together and turned off the power.  When the lathe stopped, the top was one piece.  Only about 1 in ten came out perfectly balanced.  Not really good but the kids didn't mind.  I remember one boy asking me to test his top.  It was the most smoothly balanced top I had ever used.  I told him that had I known that, I would not have sold it.  That was an exception.
  Don is right, the Monarch was a tremendous improvement over what Duncan was putting out.
 :D
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Watts' Tops on November 01, 2009, 09:33:06 PM
The original points were round.  Dwight was a bit afraid of kids getting hurt with a sharp point and over my wishes, had them rounded.  Don really improved on that one. :D
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Darren Kim on November 02, 2009, 11:22:30 PM
I got a monarch from a friend, and I have to say, It is like a really balanced imperial, but way better. It regens really smooth.
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: the Earl of Whirl on November 03, 2009, 09:34:03 AM
It is amazing all the effort that went into getting decent tops out there for people to spin.  Great work and thanks to all who worked so hard for the topspinning community!
Title: Re: The Monarc Top
Post by: Mark Magyar on February 06, 2010, 11:21:59 AM
I received the following from Dwight Paulson earlier today about the history of the Monarc top...

"Back in the early 70's after Duncan folded there were no tops to be had anywhere. A small group of us decided we would try and bring back the plastic top for ourselves and sales.   In having our Trick book published I ran into a fellow who also did plastic injecting  He in turn knew a tool and die maker.  Early in Duncan's start with tops they made a solid Imperial which was an excellent top. They made a couple of fine models the first year then quit because of the gluing problem. We used that model as a start and made a few modifications. Our failure was vision and money-- we had only a single cavity mold made. We liked the name "Monarc" or I did and all the rest went along with me.  We soon had a great top but also found lasting problems with gluing. We also found we could make all the tops we wanted but not cheaply as we could make one at a time, plus we had no one ready to wholesale or sell them. (I went off to Sweden with a mission to teach, and the other guys weren't much into top spinning.) The result was we made 7-8000 tops but the mold sat unused most of the time. In the 90's Toycrafters make an offer and we sold it to them and I think they are still making Monarc's but with about the same success we did. I have kept a few Monarcs around for my use and limited sales-- now mostly for memories!  Tops are a great business, but there is no way to make money without wide promotion.  Maybe they will come back again some day, but they are not easy to learn to wind and spin--then they are easy and fun. (I worked a couple of years for Duncan in the middle 60's as a demonstrator-- Mr.Spin-Top!  Lots of fun)  Anyway, that's where we are today."
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: ta0 on February 06, 2010, 02:18:19 PM
Great recollections from Paulson: Thanks!

Quote
In having our Trick book published . . .
A spintop trick book? I don't think I have seen it.
Title: Re: The Monarc Top
Post by: Mark Magyar on February 07, 2010, 01:54:59 PM
Great recollections from Paulson: Thanks!

Quote
In having our Trick book published . . .
A spintop trick book? I don't think I have seen it.
(http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc67/Bro_Markus/Monarctrickbook.jpg)
This is the cover of the Monarc trick book that Dwight (Mr. Spin Top) Paulson mentioned. I received my copy of the book from Walt Watts. I don't know that much about the book so maybe Walt Watts can inform us better…
Some of you might have seen some of the illustrations in the Monarc trick book at
http://www.byron.com/itsa/tricks/ (http://www.byron.com/itsa/tricks/) 
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: ta0 on February 07, 2010, 02:23:26 PM
Nice! First time I see it. Walt (Don ?): do you have an extra you want to trade for?
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Watts' Tops on February 07, 2010, 02:57:50 PM
Thanks, 8) Dwight for updating the Monarc top.  I had checked on the spelling and found that I was again wrong.
  I do, in fact have a # of Monarc trick books yet.  Maybe a dozen or so.  They are not  with me at this time and will not be until it warms up in the NORTH.  You will notice the price is 50 cents on the cover.  Due to inflation... and supply, the price will be a bit higher.  Ta0, I would love to make trades. :-*
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: ta0 on February 07, 2010, 05:30:02 PM
Great! Put aside one for me. We can trade for "vintage" stuff or I have lots of Mexican tops  ;D
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Watts' Tops on February 08, 2010, 12:43:36 PM
Will put one aside for you.  I also have lots of Mexican Tops.  We will get together on something in April. 8)
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: MarkHayward on February 11, 2010, 11:27:51 PM
The Monarch was my first top.  I bought mine directly from Don Olney at the 1992 International Jugglers Assoc convention in Montreal, or possibly the following year in Fargo ND.  Despite learning the basics of the throw from the masters (Don Olney and Dale Oliver) at the convention, it took me a year to be able to throw it with any consistency.  I wish I had thought of taping mine.  I just kept re-gluing it over and over until it was almost unplayable from the horrible wobbling.  I still have it, as well as several others.  Maybe someday I will clean it off and bring it back to glory.

I knew that Don bought the mold, but I wasn't sure from where.  I love it that the Monarch exists because top spinners decided that it should.  I think we should bring it back and get more made if for no other reason than to keep the great story and history going.  If a new batch were made with a distinctive plastic it wouldn't diminish the collectibility of the old ones either.
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Spinningray on February 11, 2010, 11:58:56 PM
A blue Monarch was my first top. I bought it from the Toy Crafter in 1998. I threw my first boomerang with it. It came with a spare tip. It was the spare tip (and my grandfathers jewelers lathe) that inspired me to make my first spin top from a sycamore tree branch. It was very well balanced. I got lucky.

I also had troubles keeping my Monarch together until I discovered Gorilla Glue. I roughed up the plastic with sand paper at the seam to make sure the glue would stick. I put the glue into a small plastic cap and stirred in some water to activate it. The poured the water out as it doesn't mix with the glue. Then I used the glue as you would epoxy. Be sure to clamp the halves together so the glue doesn't push them apart as it foams up. I even made a weight ring for mine. My Monarch has never come apart since and I have bounced it off many hard tile floors. It is the foam that makes it work so well. Most glues and epoxies are hard and will crack. I would love to see more of them made.

(http://www.woodtops.com/images/topdogs.jpg)
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: ta0 on February 12, 2010, 12:32:12 AM
My first throw top was also a Monarch bought from Don in 1998 (and having the same age than Alan: he is just one month older than me. But I played carefully until I got the Sidewinder that replaced it, so that Monarch never cracked and it is still in very good shape.
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Watts' Tops on February 12, 2010, 02:57:27 PM
Al,  Thanks so much for sharing the gorilla glue trick.  I have a few dozen tops that need just that including some original Monarc tops that have never been glued together. I have a few before the crown (M for Monarc) was added that I would love to have glued and stay.   We had a fit with the glue thing way back in the beginning. 
Title: Re: Comparing Monarc to Sidewinder...
Post by: Mark Magyar on February 12, 2010, 11:14:59 PM
My first throw top was also a Monarch bought from Don in 1998 (and having the same age than Alan: he is just one month older than me. But I played carefully until I got the Sidewinder that replaced it, so that Monarch never cracked and it is still in very good shape.

I would like to know others thoughts on the Monarc comparing it to a Sidewinder. The Monarc that I have spins a little smoother and stays on the string better a little longer when doing Crazy 8's etc... I haven't tried any trapeze tricks with the Monarc being afraid it might crack apart. The Sidewinder has a rubber O-ring to cushion impact so I've been using the Sidewinder for trapeze tricks. Just recently I twisted apart my Sidewinder and even though it doesn't come apart on impact there are still a few cracks on the inside of the crown were the two parts twist together. This is probably common though. (My Rip-Cord has cracks all on the side. It even has a crack on the end next to the point from all the impact.) Also just noticed on my Sidewinder is that the point is slightly crooked. With the point crooked on my Sidewinder this probably has alot to do with why it doesn't do string tricks as well as the Monarc that I have. I just ordered a steel point for my Sidewinder and hopefully that will improve it's performance.
But the Monarc is a splendid performing spin top for its time.
What an improvement from Duncan Imperial. I do like the Monarc.
As for replacing the Monarc with a Sidewinder?(http://www.ta0.com/forum/Smileys/default/huh.gif) I'll have to wait and see how the steel point improves the performance of the Sidewinder...?     
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Watts' Tops on February 14, 2010, 04:18:01 PM
Comparing the Original Duncan Imperial and the Monarc--equal.  The original Imperial was about the same weight and the Monarc.  The problem we ran into was the unavailability of the Imperial.  This was the reason for the Monarc in the first place. I still have a couple of original Imperials and use one of them regularly. :-\  If Duncan would dig up their original mold, we all would have a great top. ;D
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Herm on February 20, 2010, 01:20:57 AM
A very interesting thread.  I clearly remember my impression the first time I saw the Monarch tops.  Up till then the only tops I knew were the snap cap Imperial Duncan tops.  I think it was in the early 90’s when I first met Don Olney at his hotel when he was traveling somewhere in California.  I was traveling a lot during those times and was fortunate enough to meet up with him.  I remember Don opening his suitcase and dumping everything on the bed and my eyes just popped at all the bright neon pastel colored tops that covered the bed.  That was the first time I ever saw any quantity peg tops other than the Duncan tops and it was instantly obvious that they were a whole level above the Duncan tops in quality. 

But I didn’t play with the Monarch for long though.  They didn’t feel as fast and maneuverable as the Duncans and I thought the points should have been made with a different plastic because the string didn’t seem to take well with those points. And if you threw them really hard for a fast spin (and when I say hard I mean like fast ball hard) the points would burn your palm. They just didn’t spin as long as the Duncans and I felt they were unnecessarily heavy. On top of that they also had a slight unpleasant smell from the butyrate (I think) type plastic used.  Of course it was also possible I was too ingrained on the Duncan Imperials by then.  I could do all the tricks with the snap cap Duncans.  Although most likely that was also because I had always used a thinner size and weight string for the lighter weight Duncan so that it spun longer as you catch, flipped, and twirled the top around on the string.  So for me at that time the Duncans were light and fast and the Monarchs were slow and clunky.  And later Don packaged them with a flashy eye catching bright neon yellow nylon strings which just didn’t make sense to me at all.  You practically couldn’t regenerate the top with the nylon strings because of the lack of friction between the point and the string (although you could by using a “tourniquet” or “choke” type of technique) and you couldn’t safely throw super hard because you never knew when the top would unpredictably slip or snag on the soft, thin nylon string.  And I also remember that after a while the yellow dye from the string would leach out and stain whatever it had been touching leaving the string white.  But it didn’t matter at the time since hardly anyone was interested in regenerating or throwing hard anyways.  If they were they would have intuitively used the proper weight string.  The Monarchs were beautiful, colorful, solid looking, and a truly all American top. 

Later Don remade them with a different plastic.  For one thing they didn’t smell any more.  But then he also completely changed the top points.  I never asked him why he changed the top points.  I thought he could have kept the same shape but sharpen the tips more so they wouldn’t burn your palm.  His redesigned points seemed to be of harder plastic and the very sharp tip was pretty neat because it could spin for a very long time on a hard surface. But I thought the rest of the shape of the tip, to put it bluntly, was pretty bad and should have been done differently.  It was obvious whoever designed it only knew how to throw a top on the floor or onto their hands but never played much with it on a string.  I was glancing at the Monarch photos by Pulp and was surprised to see the elegant shaped point on the Monarch because I don’t remember a Monarch with those points.  However, a closer reading showed Pulp turned those points himself.  He may have just taken the Olney tip and re-modified it.  But in one of the photos you can see the entire original Don Olney tip (lying horizontally in the photo) and see that the notch is too shallow, too angular, and too sharp.

When somebody comes out with a new spin top I always look at the points.  Looking at the point will tell you whether the top maker is an advanced player or not; unless he just copies the standard Duncan tip.  In fact, in the late 80’s when Charlie Penton decided he wanted to make some large size wood tops for us he also made a metal point for it and like all first time top makers the point ended up looking like just a shallow angular “notch”, much like the Olney tips for the Monarchs.  It was as if making the point was just an afterthought, which it most likely was.  But then Charlie didn’t know any top tricks that involve using the string a lot and he was not aware about using the string to regenerate spin on a top. So if you look at the silhouette of his top point the notch was either too shallow, too angular and not rounded out, or with no “throat” to the point, or in most instances all of these shortcomings. As a result, too much of the point’s surface area ends up touching the string, or actually digging into the string, as it was spinning and so instantly slowing down the top.  And when the Spintastic tops first came out their points were also like that, i.e. the notch was on the shallow side with sharp corners and angles not rounded out. But it was understandable since Dale at that time hardly did any spin top string tricks and wasn’t anywhere near as good with the top as he is now. I made the same suggestion to Dale and later to the other new top makers: just copy the shape of the “Casper” or “Character” top point which I thought were ideal.  But nobody took the advice.  At one point in time I turned a few points out of wood dowels using a drill press and plugged them in the tops which worked pretty well as long as you didn’t throw them on the ground and blunt them.  Later Dale said he took my advice and added a little throat to the Spintastic top point but strangely he still kept the notch at right angles rather than smoothing and rounding out the angles to make a traditional looking point like the Duncans, the early Monarchs, and practically all the Latin-American plastic tops.  As a result the top couldn’t spin as long and freely on the string as it would have because the flange or notch of the top point was still rubbing against the string and robbing the top of its spin.  So the cheap, low quality, much maligned Duncan Imperial snap cap tops could still out spin and out trick them all.  (Of course, to be fair you had to balance and fix them up first.  But that’s another story.)  If you look you see the same examples with all the first time top makers.  For another example, a few years ago I found some spin tops from China in an Asian market that were obviously Premier brand rip-offs.  I call them Premier rip offs because the packaging and graphics were almost identical to the Mexican Premier packaging.  So I’m guessing Premier might have had a promotion a few years ago in China and the Far East. Anyways, the top bodies seemed identical to the Mexican top but the tips were so bad that the tops were practically unplayable despite the fact that the top body looked and felt identical to the Mexican version.  The tips were too stubby: the notches of the tips were too small, no “throat”, too angular, etc.  My point (?) is to show again that whoever made these points had no experience doing string tricks with a top. The only thing you could do with these tops were to throw them on the floor and watch it spin.  On the other hand, Walter Watt’s tops have very nicely designed “spears” to them and looking at it you just instinctively knew that whoever made them was a very experienced and expert spin top player.  There’s something about a properly shaped and fitted point that invites you to try it. 

If I seem to be making a big deal out of the points it’s because I think the point of a top together with the proper string is critical in making even a bad top into a good one. The top point is like the heart and soul of a string tricking top.  More emphasis seemed to be placed on the spin top body like the shape, the weight, material, etc., than on the string and point.  I think any top can play much better if fitted with the proper point and string.  Even the cheap lowly Duncan Imperial can be a formidable top.
By the way, in case anyone is curious, I haven’t used the Duncan Imperials for many years.  One reason might be that I got tired of using a string that I couldn’t use on other plastic tops.

But getting back to the Monarchs, my later generation Monarchs didn’t go to waste.  I found that because of the different plastic material used I could make good whistling tops out of them and they whistled for a long time (I think almost a minute?) because of the extra sharp point which allowed for a much longer spin.

By the way, I don’t mean to criticize Don Olney in any way.  He may not have been aware of it but I’ve always been pretty grateful to Don over those early years as he provided me different types of tops and he always generously shared his wealth of interesting information about tops as well as giving me any leads he had about tops and people who spun and collect them.  I followed up on almost all of those leads and I don’t think he realizes the results of the different paths he opened for me and I’m sure to others.  And I admired the way he still kept producing peg tops even though at the time I figured he most probably wasn’t making much, if any, profits from them.

Herman
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: the Earl of Whirl on February 20, 2010, 11:07:34 PM
Thanks for your insights.  I enjoy reading about everything that has gone into the development of top spinning through the years.

So, Herman, what are you doing in late August?  Want to come as our special guest to the Whirled Top Festival in Miamisburg, Ohio? 
Title: Re: Received an early Monarc...
Post by: Mark Magyar on February 20, 2010, 11:18:06 PM
Yesterday I received an early Monarc from Mr. Spin-Top.  To me the early Monarc might weigh a tad bit less than the later ToyCrafter Monarch. And the early Monarc point is shaped and feels close to a Duncan point to me. Now I see how the later Monarch point is shaped differently. The later ToyCrafter Monarch, Toss-N-Spin and 'What's Next 'BC' Classic wood top had the same kind of point. The Spintastics Sidewinder point is made out of the same material as the later Monarch with the exception that the Sidewinder point is beveled with a neck/throat making it play somewhat better when doing string tricks…(I'll be switching to steel point soon for Sidewinder after I receive it.)(Looks like I might replace my Monarc with a steel point Sidewinder here shortly.)(I still probably might spin the Monarc occasionally though.) One more thing with the early Monarc, Not that long after spinning with it I did happen to notice that plastic smell. I'm not for sure if the odor is from how long the top was in storage or if it's just the plastic itself. But the smell is bothering me. I might put an early Monarc point into a later Monarch top. I do like the Monarc top though and I would like to still spin it some. Thanks to Mr. Spin-Top…

The package paper.   
(http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc67/Bro_Markus/Monarcpackagepaper1.jpg)

(http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc67/Bro_Markus/Monarcpackagepaper2.jpg)
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: silvertop on February 21, 2010, 10:24:08 AM
Herman!  Welcome to the forum, and thanks for all your history and comments on the Monarch, and on tops and tips in general!  You are absolutely right that I knew pretty much nothing about designing the tops and tips for best trick action.  I knew how to spin on the floor, and do a boomerang, and once in a great while I could do the string walker to my other hand.  I was a lot more interested in the huge variety of tops - spun in dozens of different ways - made from a wide variety of materials, etc.  I was however very committed to making old fashioned "peg tops" as I called them - first in wood, and then in plastic when I ran into Don Winters, Byron Watts, Walter Watts, etc. and their Monarch mold.  Even a non top spinner could see the big quality difference from the Duncans.  The tip change was for a couple of different reasons.  The original mold only created two tips per top, and I wanted there to be replacements available.  Even as a novice, I thought the original top tip was too rounded and making the tips from the same plastic as the top made for a short lifespan.  I plead guilty on my replacement tip being possibly too sharp. (I pretty much always gave a new one a quick spin on a rough surface)  It was just too expensive to change the mold, so they stayed fairly lethal for the duration.  The plastic used was a combination of nylon and fiberglass for longer life.

I completely agree that the yellow nylon mason's line that I packaged with them was pretty bad - if not actually terrible?  I hunted all over for better string, but was never able to find a good source.  To this day I prefer my old Duncan strings - of which I have a small stash -  I always soak a "new" one in hot water for a bit to soften it and get out the kinks from 20+ years wound around the button before use.

You are absolutely right that I never made a penny on "peg tops"..... in fact, they cost me a lot, but for a guy who made tops for a living, it just did not seem right to leave out the top that (outside of the metal pump top) is the classic image everyone thinks of when they think "top".

Don't know if I've covered everything, but thanks for the kind words!  I was very excited to meet you low these many years ago, and for all the stuff you shared with me.... including I think, some "video" stuff.  You should post some of those videos here for all to see.  I remember being amazed when you told me you had worked out a triple string walker.  In my next lifetime, I'll consult with you and the others on this forum on the design of my tops, though I don't think I could come up with any consensus..... :-\ :-\ :-\
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: the Earl of Whirl on February 21, 2010, 06:24:16 PM
I have always found it shocking to know that Toycrafter never made any money on peg tops.  Now I read that there is even more to the story.  It cost silvertop and his company a lot of money to make peg tops!!!  That is so weird.........and so sad.

Don Olney and Herman Lau - how would you both like to come to Miamisburg in late August?
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: the Earl of Whirl on February 22, 2010, 12:12:52 PM
Inviting Don and Herman to Miamisburg is a bit selfish (but it at least gets the conversation started).  Actually, we should do all we can to get Don and Herman at worlds so everyone can enjoy them!
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: John Buechele on February 22, 2010, 01:34:39 PM
Or maybe everyone should come to miamisburg  ;)
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Watts' Tops on February 22, 2010, 06:10:08 PM
It is good to see more on the Morarc top.  Thanks for posting.   :)
Title: Re: Received an early Monarc...
Post by: Mark Magyar on February 22, 2010, 10:56:09 PM
(I'll be switching to steel point soon for Sidewinder after I receive it.)(Looks like I might replace my Monarc with a steel point Sidewinder here shortly.)(I still probably might spin the Monarc occasionally though.)

Just received a steel point for my Sidewinder today and looks like I'll now be replacing my Monarc with a steel point Sidewinder. The steel point did make a difference.
 Well now I don't have to think about my Monarc coming apart or smelling that plastic odor any longer. I will kind of miss spinning my Monarc though...

Thanks to those who had their part in making the Monarc.
Title: Re: The Monark Top
Post by: Mark Magyar on February 24, 2010, 06:37:24 PM
Another little something about the Monarc from Dwight (Mr. Spin-Top) Paulson about the loop at the end of the string, the anchor ring that slips over your finger when tossing the top, and also that plastic smell...

Quote
' I tried to help kids be able to spin it quick and winding and holding were the two tough spots to learn. We had the tops made of plastic scrapes that the injector had at the time so sometimes got plastic that was odd and even smelled funny.'