Object detail

Spinning top, with cylindrical handle and point in centre of base. Red, yellow and black shapes (similar to squares but with rounded corners) are painted on the top side. The top's centre is raised with six holes which are part of the design. The bottom has four holes, positioned in pairs opposite each other, and is yellow in colour.
CH classification TOYS General top
H80 x D85 mm
Media/Materials description
Steel (Metals - Ferrous), Tin (Metal Plating)
History and use
This tin spinning top is a hand-spun example with the stem on the top being quickly spun between thumb and forefinger in order to make it spin. This type of top dates to the early to mid 20th century. Tops reached their greatest popularity during the 1940s.

Spinning tops have been used since ancient times, with clay and terracotta examples recovered from archaeological excavations in the city of Ur, in Iraq (3500 BC), and at Troy, northwest Turkey (3000 BC). Spinning tops have been used by adults for gambling and prophecy, and by children for games. Children of the 19th century held contests to see whose top would spin for the longest time, or to try and knock each other’s tops down.

This object is part of the Marks collection, donated to the Queensland Museum by Dr E.N. Marks. The Marks were a prominent Brisbane family who made significant contributions to the fields of science and medicine.

Uploaded to the Web 27 May 2011.
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