The rise of the fidget spinner

05.05.2017

The fidget spinner was virtually unheard of a few months back, and now we can’t seem to get away from them. If it isn’t the kids at home staring in awe at the seemingly endless spinning then you’ll probably find an adult toying with one while watching TV. Granted, it’s a trend which has a limited shelf life, but for the moment it’s certainly all the rage.

However, how did the fidget spinner come to fruition and what’s caused it to become so popular? We’ve taken a closer at its humble beginning below and how it’s catapulted to fame in such a short space of time.

Where it all started

The creator of the first fidget spinner was Catherine Hettinger, a 62-year-old mother who initially created it as a toy for her daughter way back in the early 1990s. the creation came about as a result of a culmination of factors. Catherine found herself suffering from myasthenia gravis while having to take care of her then 7-year-old daughter. The condition meant she was unable to pick her up and play with her, so to overcome this she spent time creating toys out of odd bits she found around the house.

It was this spell of creating toys that would eventually lead to the first spinner coming to fruition. The non-mechanical spinner proved a hit with her daughter and over the years Catherine spent time refining her design.

In 1997 both Catherine and her daughter, Chloe, flew out to Washington DC to register a patent on the product. They secured an 8-year patent and things were looking rosy having seen interest from toy manufacturer Hasbro. Unfortunately, that initial interest failed to materialise any further and soon the hope of any real commercial success slowly waned.

2005 saw the patent come to an end and luck wasn’t to be on Catherine’s side as she failed to stump up the money to secure it for any further length of time. This then led to the manufacturers creating spinners around the world, however they found themselves vying for kids’ attention against the likes of smartphones and games consoles.

Given the fact that since this time technology and user experience has improved in smartphones and games consoles, it’s amazing how the simple fidget spinner has wormed its way into so many hands. However as we’ve seen with other trends such as loom bands and the smart phones game, flappy bird, sometimes it’s the simplest of concepts which can capture the attention of the masses.

Looking forward

It’s hard to predict what’s next for the fidget spinner. However, with new and updated designs being released, along with brands getting in on the act and offering promotional branded spinners to customers, the popularity of the spinner looks set to remain for the foreseeable future. From its humble beginnings, it’s taken a long while for the spinner to reach the hands of the masses, but having done so it’s gone on to prove just how successful remaining simple can be.