To spin or not to spin

From Pie Face to Hatchimals, toy trends tend to take off without warning and without much explanation — the imaginations of youth mold the toy world as they fuel the toy economy.

Catherine Hettinger, inventor of the original fidget spinner, stand with her grand-daughter Chloe who is holding both an original and a newer model of fidget spinners. Photo by Richard Luscombe.

In past years there have been many honourable mentions of toys that flew off of the shelves such as, Tickle Me Elmo and Cabbage Patch Kids Dolls. But, one of the most recent “toys” that have become a sensation is the fidget spinner.

These simple spinning mechanisms are advertised as helping with concentration and stress relief, but their initial creation came from Inventor Catherine Hettinger.

The idea came from a visit to see her sisters in Israel, as she heard about young boys throwing rocks at police officers. Hetti

nger decided that she wanted to create a soothing toy to distract children by directing their attention to the spinner.

Soon she came up with the idea of the original fidget spinner and began selling her toys at fairs. She later approached Hasbro after the spinners she created in 1993 received a patent, but her proposal was rejected. Almost 20 years later, and as her patent expired in 2005, Hasbro has now begun selling fidget spinners.

But there is no bad blood, as Hettinger is simply happy and hopes to be able to sell a Kickstarter called the Classic Spinner online in the near future.

The newer spinners come with an inline skate and ball bearings, and spin in your hand while you go about your day. The spinning of the toy is promised to ease stress much like a stress ball.

As the spinners popularity makes the product harder to find on shelves, offers the largest selection of spinners with prices varying from $10 to $40. As well, 17 of the top 20 products on Amazon are fidget spinners, but it is closely flanked by the fidget cube.

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