Who Invented Fidget Spinners?


The fidget spinner trend grew faster than any trend in recent history. The graph below shows the sudden fascination with fidget spinners…

Will fidget spinners follow in the footsteps and disappear like Pokemon Go, the ‘Juju On That Beat’ Dance challenge, and planking???


Maybe. Maybe not. We explore some comelling evidence later that reveals the future of fidget spinners.

Before we predict the future, let’s take a quick trip back in time to reminisce the magical journey that has been the fanatical fidget spinner craze…


The Origin of Fidget Spinners: Who Invented Fidget Spinners?

Once upon a time (40AD) in a land far far away (Rome), the humble ball bearing was first designed. While Leonardo Da Vinci and Galileo both came up with their own designs, it wasn’t until 1791 when Englishman Philip Vaughn patented the ‘modern’ ball bearing.

Since then, the ball bearing has remained a humble tool, hiding away in skateboard wheels and sliding drawers. That is until December 2017 when ball bearings finally got their chance to shine in the spotlight – thanks to the famous fidget spinner.

Leaving Da Vinci and Galileo in his wake, it was Scott McCoskery who transformed the ball bearing into the fidget spinner. Although while he invented the fidget spinner in 2014, it wasn’t until December of last year the craze took hold. By April of this year, the New York Post wrote, “So-called fidget spinners, low-tech, low-price stress relieving toys, are a huge fad sweeping the country, and stores can’t keep them in stock.”


The Struggle Is Real: Teachers Vs Students

Notice the repeating peaks on the graph above? They correspond to every Saturday. This is easily explained – kids are at school Monday through Friday so they’re busy searching for Fidget Spinners on the weekend.

And if the kids are excited to be buying them on Saturday, their teachers were frustrated by that Monday afternoon when they’d been using them at school all day.

Here’s what teachers had to say about the fidget spinner:

I need the name and number of the sadistic human who created the #fidgetspinners that have taken over my classroom and my sanity. jab83 (@jessaanne83)

I’m going to have a nice collection of fidget spinners by the end of next week. Hopefully the fad dies before next August. #TeacherProblems Korianne Moore (@Ko_Cox)

“The only thing my students seem to focus on, however, is the spinner, itself, and not their work. It’s like a friggin’ siren song… Let’s stop with the flowery euphemisms. It’s a toy and I hate it. I actually have a visceral reaction when they emerge from a pencil case or pocket, like a sadistic version of Pavlov’s bell experiment.”- Cristina Bolusi Zawacki


Time To Say Goodbye

As you can see on the graph above, the fidget spinner trend has peaked and begun to drop sharply.

Jonah Berger is a professor at the Wharton School of Business and the author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On. He said, “The faster they catch on the faster they die out, I’ll be surprised if we’re still talking about them in six months.”

Perhaps it is time to take your fidget spinner for a final spin…


Before It’s Too Late…

Grab your very own Spinning Fidget Widget: