State of Yo: Tom Kuhn’s Yo-Yo Revolution


Tractor Beam is currently in development on a documentary presently titled “State of Yo: Tom Kuhn’s Yo-Yo Revolution.” Kuhn’s bio and a short trailer follow:

tom kuhn, multi-tasking

Official Website:

Once a neighborhood Duncan yo-yo champion in 1955, Kuhn hadn’t played in years when he was given a wooden yo-yo as a gift. When it broke, he set out to create an improved yo-yo, starting a second career which carries on to this day.

Kuhn is not only the creator, developer and manufacturer of the world’s first modular yo-yo The No Jive 3-in-1 and the patented Silver Bullet II (SB-2), the world’s first metal ball bearing yo-yo, but he is the first to launch a micro-manufacturing company for yo-yo’s in 1976, that is basis of today’s limited edition yo-yo business marketplace.

In 1979 Kuhn created The Big Yo, a working 256 pound scaled up version of his revolutionary No Jive 3-in-1 model. This earned him a spot in The Guinness Book of World Records for largest functioning yo-yo.

In 1984 Kuhn taught astronaut David Griggs how to yo-yo for NASA’s “Toys in Space” experiment and in 1992 another astronaut, Jeffrey Hoffman, played with the aluminum Silver Bullet II aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Since then, Kuhn’s yo-yo’s have ended up on over one dozen space missions.

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Tom Kuhn Custom Yo-Yo Brand Innovations:

• First dismantleable modular yo-yo that assembled in 3 different ways with a replaceable birch axle (the “No Jive 3-in-1 Yo-Yo”) for longer spins

• First fully functioning ball bearing yo-yo, the Silver Bullet II, a quantum leap for yo-yo play as trick repertoires were expanded with the longer spin times

• First to sell a high-qualty $100 yo-yo product, which stimulated this niche micro-manufacturing industry

• First functioning large-scale yo-yo (the “Big Yo”) listed in the 1981 Guinness Record Book at  256 lbs. and 50” high. It was orignally launched by a crane over the San Francisco Bay and was an exact scale replica of the “No Jive”

• Created the Most Valuable Yo-Yo, a laser carved, sapphire and diamond bejeweled spectacle, valued at $10,000 and now permanently part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Permanent Collection

• First laser carved modular yo-yos

• First fully functioning wooden ball bearing yo-yos called Sleep Machine and Roller Woody

• First to perform live on stage with The Smothers Brothers, who dubbed him “Dr. Yo”, appearing twice on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour TV Show

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