History of spinning tops
It is likely that the invention of the top occurred simultaneously in many locations across the globe,
as, for example, stones were used as man's first tools. Therefore, it is not possible for us to declare one
individual or another as the father or mother of toppery. The top is most likely to have been
invented and re-invented many times by different cultures, completely independent of one another.
Fire-starters, or file drills, found in many primitive cultures, using the rotation of a pointed
object to produce fire, could likely have given rise to the spinning top. Spinning tops made of clay
have been found in Iraq dating from 3500 B.C. In China, the so-called whip tops have been
found from approximately 1250 B.C.
The Ancient Greeks depict playful spinning top scenes on their pottery. In primitive Malay,
top spinning was an organized adult sport, with tops weighing up to 15 pounds. Pacific Islanders also
had spiritual meanings to the top. In medieval times, there existed a parish top,
frequently in the town square, for all to use.