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Author Topic: Rochester's self-winding tops  (Read 3119 times)

ta0

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Rochester's self-winding tops
« on: November 07, 2015, 06:24:39 PM »

A paradox of the Strong's National Hall of Fame not having inducted the spinning top yet is that it is in Rochester, NY, the home of The Toycrafter. But Rochester has a long relation with tops: it seems to have been the birthplace of self-winding tops, at least in the US.

The top on the left was patented by George Aishton in 1899. I had wanted one for a long time as few wooden tops from that time have the names of the inventors/makers on them.



Here is a drawing from the patent that says that he lived in Rochester:



The "Beauty Top" on the right was made by Ideal Novelty Co. of Rochester:



Both are good quality, perfectly balanced and have the same color pattern, so I assumed they were from the same manufacturer. The Beauty Top says Patent Allowed, so I assumed it was the earliest of the two. Here they are spinning side by side:



But then, other Rochester patents for the same concept issued in the following couple of years started popping up!

By William Patchin


By Philip Koscialowski


By George Hynes


By Edwin McAll


Many times I have found patents that cover the same idea (the problems of the US patent system are not new), but five patents from the same city in a couple of years is too much!  ??? I don't think this can be a coincidence. Probably they all saw the same spinning top, or perhaps another device with a similar mechanism. Perhaps the inventor was a street vendor who they all knew was not going to apply for a patent. Who knows?

By the way, Hynes has an earlier patent for a top from 1894. It is the same concept that five years later James Irving would patent for his Irving's Wizard top.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 06:30:22 PM by ta0 »
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Jack

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Re: Rochester's self-winding tops
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2015, 08:01:21 PM »

you are an extremely lucky cookie sir  :o
those are really nice
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butterfingers

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Re: Rochester's self-winding tops
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2015, 08:22:45 PM »

I agree...beautiful tops. I am in Rochester, NY and had no idea about the top history here... As for the museum's decision to not include the spin top....disappointed. In terms of 'longevity' (which I believe is one of the criteria) one would be hard pressed to find a toy which has existed for a longer period of time.
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the Earl of Whirl

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Re: Rochester's self-winding tops
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2015, 11:06:04 AM »

butterfingers?  You are in Rochester?!?  How great to see some more resurrection in that city's top spinning.  You can now join us in our efforts to push that Strong museum to see the truth about our great activity.
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ta0

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Re: Rochester's self-winding tops
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2015, 11:27:11 AM »

I have sent an email to Lassanske to see if he knows more. He has a large collection of similar self winding tops:

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jim in paris

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Re: Rochester's self-winding tops
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2015, 11:45:42 AM »

ouch !!
my eyes burn !!

jim  >:D
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ta0

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Re: Rochester's self-winding tops
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2015, 05:51:48 PM »

I found a much earlier patent, from 1876 for the same top: US Patent 181,852 from 1876. The inventor was an Andrew Kern from Utica, New York, 140 miles east of Rochester. I am guessing some Kern tops appeared 23 years later in Rochester and several "inventors" rushed to patent it.

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Jeremy McCreary

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Re: Rochester's self-winding tops
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2019, 11:08:01 PM »

Some very interesting history. Maybe the inventor sold the idea to 5 different people.  >:D
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