It is a truth universally acknowledged that historical research is probably the most fun you can have with your corset on.
“A History of Eton College 1440-1910” by Sir H. C. Maxwell Lyte, and happened to skim over this passage:
Among the minor games popular at Eton at this period and for some time afterwards was that of bandalores. A bandalore was a disc of box-wood, with a deep groove in its outer edge, round which a string was coiled, and the art was to send it flying through the air, unwinding the string as it went, and by giving a jerk at a particular moment to bring the disc back again to the hand, recoiling the string on its return journey. Michael Hicks Beach writing to his mother in his sixteenth year says:— “I have three excellent bandylores and did throw one of them out (which has a string about four feet and a half long), one hundred and fifty-nine times without missing.”
I thought about that for a moment, trying to picture just what this bandalore “game” was...and then it hit me.
It was a yo-yo. They were playing with yo-yos in the late 18th century!
So there you go. Who knew that one of the hot toys for both boys and girls in 1790s Europe was the yo-yo?
Historical research rocks!