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attybud
Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« on: November 21, 2011, 01:14:13 AM »

Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos

1976 -     Dr. Tom Kuhn (TK) patented (applied to have patented) the No-Jive 3-in-1 Yoyo.  

1977 -     TK opened shop (ie, Tom Kuhn Yoyos).  He first introduced the simple, one-piece (fixed-axle) “San Francisco Woodies.  The first of those Woodies was the Maple Leaf Woodie, followed by the Cliff House and Seal Rocks Woodie, the Fisherman’s Warf Woodie, the Cable Car Woodie, and the Golden Gate Bridge Woodie.  Those simple, elegant woodies were produced and sold for several years, and Dr. Kuhn has always viewed the San Fran Woody design as the “No-Jive No. 1.”  

Also in 1977, Dr. Kuhn introduced the No-Jive 3-in-1, which he has always considered to be the No-Jive No. 2.  That same year, he created the Flying Camel; and the three main Mandalas (Filigree, Snowflake, and Starburst).  (I have seen conflicting information, some dating the Camel’s and Mandalas’ releases years later; however, Dr. Kuhn was very clear, and resolute, respecting this information.)  

1980 -     TK made the famous $10,000 Smithsonian Starburst Mandala.  A San Francisco jeweler, Sydney Mobell, encrusted it with jewels.  He later donated it to the Smithsonian Museum, where it proudly displays to this day.  

1984 -     TK released the Olympic No-Jive, and the Aspen No-Jive.  

1987 -     TK performed on national television (on the Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Hour) with the Silver Bullet (ie, SB1, which used a wooden axle).  Also this year, TK released the 10 Year Anniversary Diamond No-Jive (Maple & Walnut Versions), the Abercrombie No-Jive, and the Neiman Marcus No-Jive.  

1989 -     TK released the super-scarce Turbo-Yo (predecessor to the SB2), of which only 39 exist.  

1990 -     TK introduced the SB2 (the predecessor to today’s modern bearing-equipped metal yoyos).  

1992 -     TK released the Sleep Machine (wooden, butterfly shaped, and bearing-equipped); the Roller Woody (wooden, imperial shaped, bearing-equipped); and the 15th Anniversary No-Jives.  

1995 -     TK introduced the white Dr. Yo woodies, and a pearl white fixed wooden axle yoyo called the “Pocket Rocket.”  (Four years later, the same name would be given to the better-known metal yoyo – see below.)  

1997 -     TK introduced painted No-Jives, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Tom Kuhn Yoyos.  

1998 -     BC produced the last run of Flying Camels ever made (as of this writing).  

1999 -     TK released the Pocket Rocket at World's in Honolulu, HI; Turbo Discs (response system, which made the SB1 and SB2 work really well); and the scarce World’s 1999 Fixed Axle Challenge Sunburst (only 5 are known to exist).  

1999-2000 - TK ceased production, & licensed full-scale TK Yoyo production to Brad Countryman (BC).  BC had been making some yoyos for TK as far back as the late 1980’s.  

2000-     TK/BC released the Celtic Mandalas (conceived and commissioned by David Hall – art by Matt Carter, aka Scarecrow, aka Crow), produced circa December (per the records of Matt and Dave).  

2001 -    TK/BC introduced the RD Series.  

2002 -    TK/BC introduced laminated No-Jives, and the Quatle Mandala (per designs by Matt Carter; conceived and commissioned by David Hall).  (The first No-Jive "laminates" featured natural laminated wood with a deep blue cluster running through it; laminated grey wood with a green and yellow cluster running through it; and the No-Jive Rainbow.)  TK/BC released the Tom Cat (first run anodized in tortoiseshell colorway – later in raw aluminum - all Tom Cats were stock equipped with Turbo Discs).    

2003 -    TK/BC released the 25th Anniv. No-Jive (imperial in natural & butterfly in white), and the Walnut TK-60 (in celebration of Tom’s birthday).  

2004 -    TK/BC released the limited Big Yo 25th No-Jive (with printing over hex nut), saluting the 25th Anniv. of the 1979 launch of the huge No-Jive (a No-Jive wooden yoyo that weighs 256 pounds, is 50” high and 31.5” wide).  BC also produced the Magda 95’er this year.  

2005 -    TK/BC introduced the bearing-equipped Redline (half silver – half black with the indication of a tachymeter); and a limited Wood Rocks version (half red – half black with “Brush & Yo Daily” gold embossed), to salute Dr. Kuhn’s 35 years of dental practice.  

2006 -     BC began closing down production of Tom Kuhn yoyos (per a 3-26-2007 post by oldyoyoguy).  

2007 -    TK/BC produced the Batik (whose art was created by Indonesian artist, Oke Rosgana) conceived and commissioned by David Hall.  Hall wanted them made from Mandala bodies.  Alas, no Mandala or No-Jive bodies were available.  Instead, a new yoyo body was used - one theretofore under development by Dr. Kuhn – the No-Jive 3!  And so, through the Batik, the No-Jive 3 was released for the first time.  Hall had ordered 100 Batiks.  Only 70 were produced  (except for 4 prototypes fashioned from Sleep Machine bodies, located by BC and shipped to Dave some five years later).  BC stopped making No-Jive yoyos, during this year.  

2008 -    TK/BC released the Fat Cat, TK’s last truly "new" design for a metal yoyo (as of this writing).  

2010 -    TK/BC released a solid-wood (rock maple), fixed-axle version of the Wood Rocks yoyo (one commemorating XEKO, and one bearing a Pink Ribbon to raise awareness of breast cancer), TK's last truly "new" design for a wooden yoyo (as of this writing).  

2012 -    TK/BC released a run (considered “pre-production” by BC) of the No-Jive No. 3, using Sleep Machine bodies.  

I hope you find this chronology concise and helpful.  Many thanks to Ed, Dana (Yoyo408), LJ (Vegabomb), Wayne, Matt (Crow), Brad Countryman, Lisa Countryman, David Hall, Steve Brown, Photogeek, and especially to Dr. Tom Kuhn, himself, for the patient conversations, refinements, and insights.  I welcome insights from all fellow aficionados - my clever and resourceful friends.  


Respectfully,
Bud 
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 08:17:44 PM by attybud » Logged

             Indeed, I did.  I did, indeed,
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Janne
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WWW
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2011, 05:19:18 AM »

Quite sure Wood Rocks was released late 2010.
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attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2011, 11:28:57 PM »

Nice catch, Janne.  Fact-checked, and incorporated above! 

B
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Yo-dini
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2011, 10:48:54 AM »

I don't see the Tom Cat.
I've got one of the first run in the tortoise shell and I can check the date if you need it.

Looks like it was 2002
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 11:49:10 PM by Yo-dini » Logged
attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2011, 01:41:45 PM »

Many thanks, Yo-dini!  Confirmed and incorporated. 
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Yo-dini
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2012, 10:44:12 AM »

Don't know if the new Solarflash can be considered a new model or just a new variation of an old model but the Solarflash Sleep Machine is now for sale.
That and the clear anodized SB-2.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2012, 10:46:35 AM by Yo-dini » Logged
yoyodave
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2012, 03:10:08 PM »

I wish my records weren't boxed with everything else from the store.  But a couple of changes are needed.  I commissioned the Celtic mandalas.  Then the Quatles mandalas and Roller Woodies.  But those models were about 2 years apart, not the same year.  I am guessing 2000 and 2002, but can't recall.  I was always disappointed in the Quatles and held off doing another custom mandala... remember half the batch were overburned?

Also, laminated No Jives Specials ... we started with a custom special purple laminate, in standard and butterfly shape.  Then about a year later, I commissioned the No Jive Rainbows.  Tom's artist designed the logo, and this commission had a special condition.  Since they were my idea, skilltoys.com had the exclusive for 2 years.  Then, Tom Kuhn yo-yos owned the logo stamp and could sell them to other stores.  But with the decline of their manufacturing, the only ones made were the 100 of each shape sold thru my store.

Just to torture all of you ... I have 5 other mandala designs in the can, artwork completed, ready to go.  I planned to do them after the Batiks. I've been trying since before the store closed to have these made.  Brad kept declining and refusing.  Convinced me that they don't want any custom work anymore.  They just aren't interested.

David
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attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2012, 10:28:55 PM »

Glad to have you aboard, Dave!  

Tom and Brad discussed the Chronology with me, including important record-based factual refinements, reflected above.  I wish I could use guessing.  Too much of that was why I drafted the Chronology to begin with.  I would greatly appreciate any factual contributions when you have them.  

Here's something you might not have to crawl around your attic to answer:  The Chronology already reflects you ordered the Batik batch from TK - but wasn't it Oke Rosgana (an Indonesian artist) who came up with the art carved onto the Batik?  

Many thanks, sir.  

Respectfully,
Bud
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 02:08:41 AM by attybud » Logged
ShaunC
Ditch Down Crew
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from Hell...


Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2012, 10:33:28 PM »

They announced on Facebook today that the SB3's were no longer going to be put into production, but that they had several prototypes for sale on a very limited, first-come-first-served basis.
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attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2012, 10:47:55 PM »

Whoa! 
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yoyodave
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2012, 04:01:18 PM »

Tom and Brad discussed the Chronology with me, including important record-based factual refinements, reflected above.  I wish I could use guessing.  Too much of that was why I drafted the Chronology to begin with.  I would greatly appreciate any factual contributions when you have them.  

Here's something you might not have to crawl around your attic to answer:  The Chronology already reflects you ordered the Batik batch from TK - but wasn't it Oke Rosgana (an Indonesian artist) who came up with the art carved onto the Batik?  

I guess I better explain to you how these actually came to be, since you didn't seem to take my comments seriously without documentation. They didn't just happen. I paid $4500 and $3200 to bring the Celtics and Quatles into existence, and you tend to remember spending those amounts.  My records show the Celtics were paid for December 2000, and the Quatles in October 2002.  Not quite 2 years apart, but pretty dang close.  I doubt the Celtics went on sale before 2001.  There was always at least a few months lag time when you put in a custom design order with Tom Kuhn Yo-yos.

I always loved Kuhns, and wanted to do some custom mandalas for my store. My No Jives always played better, but nothing looked or felt like a Tom Kuhn mandala!  I came up with an idea for doing "Cultural Art" mandalas from around the world.  I suggested the idea to Scarecrow, and commissioned him to do a Celtic design, since I've always loved Celtic knotwork.  I sent him some sample celtic mandalas as examples, and a book on celtic knotwork.  Matt came up with two great designs, instead of one.  The Celtic Rings was my first choice, but Mrs. Scarecrow loved the Celtic Star.  But we were unsure that the laser resolution could deal with the heavy burn at the center of the star.  Since we could not decide on a favorite, I went with both.  Expensive, but in hindsight well worth it.  We had an immediate issue with Brad, that the designs needed to say both "No Jive" and "Tom Kuhn" along with "Mandala".  Scarecrow quickly made a third and fourth graphic, which doubled the lasering fees.  That is why the text is different on each side on the Celtics.

After the success of the Celtics, I wanted Scarecrow to do another design, again in the Cultural art theme.  This was around the time he dropped out of the yo-yoing world for a time. We had a few ideas for designs based on Asian cultures, and an American design.  But I stumbled on some Aztec / Mayan artwork samples and loved the look.  Scarecrow came up with the Quatle soon after. In our phone calls and emails, I got tired of typing "Quetzalcoatl", so I nick-named it "Quatle", and it stuck.  I wanted to do a Sleep Machine as part of this run, but Brad was out of SM parts.  So I went with a small run of Roller Woodies, on top of the standard mandalas.  That was the first laser carved bearing model from Tom Kuhn.

Years later, Oke Rosgana was doing artwork for my store. He had done our store logos, T-shirts, and many yo-yo side art designs.  Knowing that I was planning to close the store in about a year, I had him look at the Celtics and Quatles, to come up with a new mandala design.  I thought one last laser carved Kuhn would be the way to say goodbye to the store.  I told Oke about the "Cultures" theme, and he suggested the "Batik" art style from his own Indonesian culture.  I commissioned an Indonesian style design, and he designed several versions of the Batik.  At first I didn't like the design we used, but it grew on me.  The design is symmetric  side to side, not around the center.  Anyone else notice that? Smiley

I think you know the rest of the story.  I commissioned Tom Kuhn to make it, but they had used all the mandala bodies.  The only thing Brad had were the new Redline bearing bodies, which were not exactly Redlines.  And turned out to be the No Jive 3s.  Sadly, it took Brad far past my "end of store" deadline to complete the order, due to production problems.  LONG delay on these after paying in advance.  Probably in getting the new No Jive 3 bodies.  That led to my "falling out" with Brad.  I had paid in advance, and the first 50 arrived about 2 months after the store closed.  Another 20 about a month later.  My fiancee was tired of them sitting around the house, and asked if she could give a "FEW" away at a staff teachers party, and to "some" of her students.  I didn't know how to sell 70 yo-yos without a store (and was so burnt out with yo-yos that I didn't care).  So I said Okay.  She overdid it and gave away about 40 of them.  I guess that will make for interesting finds at the antique stores and flea markets in Albuquerque !  Plus added to the scarcity of Batiks in the collectors world.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 06:33:23 PM by yoyodave » Logged
attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2012, 05:25:37 PM »

I wish my records weren't boxed with everything else from the store.  But a couple of changes are needed.  I commissioned the Celtic mandalas.  Then the Quatles mandalas and Roller Woodies.  But those models were about 2 years apart, not the same year. I am guessing 2000 and 2002, but can't recall.  I was always disappointed in the Quatles and held off doing another custom mandala... remember half the batch were overburned?
 
I guess I better explain to you how these actually came to be, since you didn't seem to take my comments seriously without documentation.

I'll ask you to lighten up in this thread, Dave.  We all afford you due seriousness.  

Providing the forum this Chronology is the one-and-only purpose of this thread.  In a Chronology, mine at least, actual years are preferred.  

The only years you first provided were qualified by, "I am guessing," and your own doubt from having your records stored.  I'll need at least you to be confident in your data, before I can include them in the Chronology.  

We know now the years your records reflect payments for various commissions.  Thank you for that information.  

I welcome you to post in this thread.  Please bear in mind, this thread is a resource - for those who love Tom Kuhn Yoyos, and wish to study them.  Pure and simple.  

Bud
      
« Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 06:25:38 PM by attybud » Logged
yoyodave
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2012, 07:04:45 PM »

Quote
I'll ask you to lighten up in this thread, Dave.  We all afford you due seriousness. 

Providing the forum this Chronology is the one-and-only purpose of this thread.  In a Chronology, mine at least, actual years are preferred. 

The only years you first provided were qualified by, "I am guessing," and your own doubt from having your records stored.  I'll need at least you to be confident in your data, before I can include them in the Chronology. 

We know now the years your records reflect payments for various commissions.  Thank you for that information. 

I welcome you to post in this thread.  Please bear in mind, this thread is a resource - for those who love Tom Kuhn Yoyos, and wish to study them.  Pure and simple. 

Bud
     

Bud, very nice edit of this post.  But I saw the original version.  Not nice.  I almost deleted my previous post, but decided that people deserve to know the true history on those items.

It reminded me of why I lost interest in the boards, store, museum, and the yo-yo hobbies.  Brought back a lot of bad old memories.  It is ironic that I asked Pat to create this forum for the Museum of Yo-Yo History.  Now I regret it.  This will be my last post in it.
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ChristyYo
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2012, 08:00:01 PM »

I, for one, preferred the objective, simple, data-driven nature of this thread's Chronology.  Please, stay with that approach.
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attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2012, 08:11:02 PM »

We shall. 
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Steve Brown™
Malcontent
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WWW
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2012, 11:59:16 PM »

I think Dave's account of the history of those last few laser-engraved "TK" yo-yos produced by Brad is a valuable piece of Tom Kuhn history, and I'm grateful for him posting it.

I realize that people would like to avoid all negativity with regards to the history of Tom Kuhn yo-yos, but reading Dave's post it seems admirably restrained. Brad Countryman has introduced a tremendous amount of negativity into what is left of the Tom Kuhn brand...and while I see no need to dwell on it, I also see no reason to ignore it.

Please simply keep any conversation on the matter to be factual and civil. I'll delete anything that cannot be proven.
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attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2012, 01:51:53 AM »

There was a time, only a few guys possessed the knowledge to tell when a given Tom Kuhn yoyo was made.  Now, all of us can.  The objective Chronology - what a welcome sight!  Nobody taking out bitter feelings on others - it's refreshing.  At least it should be. 

Businessmen pointing blame fingers - I hear that stuff all day long.  Every day.  If I'm not in criminal court - or a trial involving allegations of civil theft, or a bankruptcy case involving asset concealment - I'm probably trying a case of alleged breach of contract.  If I'm not in Court at all, I'm preparing to be.  And I hear so much of it. 

I guess you're free to post that ilk of comment here.  Maybe some of you know, and can prove with zero risk of Defamation suit, of specific bad or dishonest business practices by ... whomever.  Maybe some of you have, at some point, judged one or more businessmen, based on one side of the story.  Maybe, even, some of you are satisfied to base opinion, about a given businessman, on rumor. 

Or maybe you're like me - and you just want a good approximation of when your Tom Kuhn yoyo was made. 

I appeal to you, the intelligent forum member:  Help me keep this thread clean. 
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Steve Brown™
Malcontent
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WWW
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2012, 09:07:53 AM »

Looking above, I'm not seeing any blame pointing anywhere. Perhaps I missed something before an edit.

I'm all in favor of honest and fair accounts of historical matters with regards to a brand. The story of how Tom Kuhn yo-yos went from Tom's garage to the pinnacle of hand-crafted equipment to Cafe Press panties is a fairly interesting and amazing one.

I do not see any mud-slinging, nor will I tolerate it if I do. I do see references to production problems and delays, which are well-documented by multiple sources and seem to have been presented in a "matter of fact" manner without any undue emotion being attached. Again, perhaps I missed something before an edit.

Any facts that are pertinent to the timeline and presented in a factual, unbiased manner are welcome. Any mudslinging of venting is not.

If I've missed something, please feel free to message me.
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attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2012, 09:44:22 AM »

And thanks to Steve Brown for helpful data related to the Pocket Rocket's release in 1999 in Honolulu, now reflected in the Chronology. 

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Crow
The artist formerly known as Scarecrow
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2012, 03:03:40 PM »

I did some searching, and found some Celtic Mandala pictures from December 1st and 2nd of 2000. The pics were shot along with other Kuhns in my collection. These are actual yo-yo pics, not design artwork. I think it's very safe to say that the Celtic Mandala went on sale in 2000.  Most likely December, but I can't be 100% sure of the month. Here is the pic.



Other picture dates show the Quatl design process starting in April of 2001. Some Quatl art files show a date of Oct 2001, but I'm not sure why. I'll try to do some more detective work on the Quatl's. 
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--
'Crow

Why soar like an eagle, when you can fly like a camel

Quote
We'll be remembered not for our collections, but maybe for some of the things we've done with them, and hopefully not for what we've resorted to in order to obtain them.
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