WARNING - The YoYoFactory video contains 'flashing images'
The yo-yo is thought to have originated in China in 1000B.C. where it took the form of two connected ivory discs on a silk string.
The earliest surviving examples have been dated to around 500 BC; they are mentioned in Greek historical records and can be seen depicted in vase paintings. It is thought this makes the yo-yo second only to the doll as the oldest toy in the world.
The yo-yo spread across Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, becoming especially popular among the aristocracy of France, Scotland and England. Yo-yos during this period were often extremely ornate and constructed from ivory or glass with polished brass axles.
The yo-yo craze hit the USA in the 1920s with a man named Pedro Flores and the start of his 'Yo-yo Manufacturing Company' in Santa Barbara, California. Although patents existed for similar toys in the US prior to his arrival, Flores is credited with introducing the Filipino style of yo-yo with the 'looped slip string'. His company was soon producing over 3,000 yoyos an hour!
Since 2004 YoYoFactory have been making yo-yos employing innovative technology in the bearings and body. The F.A.S.T. 201 yo-yo, for example can be adjusted to different levels of sensitivity, allowing the user to adjust the yo-yo depending on his skill level and the difficulty of his tricks.