Hula-hoops, skip-its, yo-yos... all hyphenated words associated with good times, but one is a little bit older than the others... the yo-yo.
It is thought the yo-yo likely originated from China, though the first historical documentation of a yo-yo device is from 500BC in Greece. There is a painting on a vase which shows a young child playing with a yo-yo, or disc and an actual toy has also been found from that time period.
The yo-yo made it's way through the middle east and Europe, especially with the upper class. A painting dated to 1789 shows the 4 year-old, future King Louis XVII holding his toy. The yo-yo is linked with the French revolution as one of the items families took with them when they would flee, one name they had for it was de Coblenz, which was a city to which many French fled.
The yo-yo arrived in Paris in 1791 as it spread through France and was called the joujou de Normandie. It is thought this term may reflect the roots for the modern American name of yo-yo.
The Yo-Yo first appeared in the Scientific American Supplement, published 1916, as an article titled "Filipino Toys" which showed it and named it a Yo-Yo. This was explained by some as the Filipino word for "come-come" or "to return."
Meanwhile, back in the Philippines, the natives were becoming experts at making and using the toy. Not surprisingly, it was from here that the yo-yo as we know it today was truly introduced into the United States. In the 1920s, a man named Pedro Flores brought the first Filipino yo-yo to the U.S. and in 1928, began a yo-yo company by the same name in California.