Vintage Gyro Cycle Top
3.5" x 3" x 2"
The gyro-cycle spinning top was a toy manufactured in the late 1940s by Progress Toy Co. Ltd in Blackpool, England, and has been a classical educational toy for generations. The gyro-cycle consists of a metal wheel mounted on an axel that spins freely and is secured within a metal frame. On this toy, the metal frame has been designed and painted to look like a young child cycling. The toy continues to have the ability to fascinate those both young and old because when twirled, it appears to defy gravity; when a pull string is tied around the axis to spin the wheel, it creates a force that holds the gyroscope upright, allowing it to miraculously balance on any surface and appear to be levitating. The toy originates from the gyroscope device, which was developed by various mathematicians and physicists in the 19th century. The French physicist Léon Foucault (1819–1868) was credited for naming the gyroscope after he used it in an experiment that demonstrated the effect of the earth’s rotation. The gyroscope has been adapted for advanced technologies used in many aspects of our everyday life, including navigating systems for airplanes, ships, and spacecrafts. The vintage gyro-cycle top comes without track and its original packaging.
At this time in England, London held the 1948 Summer Olympics after a twelve-year hiatus caused by World War II. The 1948 Olympics came to be known as the “Austerity Games”, due to the difficult economic conditions and rationing imposed in the aftermath of the Second World War. No new venues were built for the games, and athletes were hosted in preexisting accommodations, as opposed to the typical Olympic Village. Despite the shoestring budget, 4,104 athletes represented 59 nations at the Games. Notably, Germany and Japan were not invited to participate.