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Author Topic: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos  (Read 6450 times)
Crow
The artist formerly known as Scarecrow
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2012, 03:35:22 PM »

I looked at the final Quatl artwork files from October 31st of 2001. It looks like there were some final resizings of the artwork before production. There's just no way that the yo-yo's appeared in Dave's store before 2002. Probably first or second quarter of 2002.
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'Crow

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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.
yoyodave
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2012, 01:12:28 PM »

I looked at the final Quatl artwork files from October 31st of 2001. It looks like there were some final resizings of the artwork before production. There's just no way that the yo-yo's appeared in Dave's store before 2002. Probably first or second quarter of 2002.
Hey Crow.  Actually, it was 4th quarter of 2002.  Remember the overburns?  You resized the artwork end of 2001 because of a resolution issue with the lasering, and some file type requirement.  Then, the entire batch arrived early in 2002 ... FRYED.  Below is one of the "lightly burned" ones.  They were so overburned that only about 1/3 of the them were accepted.  I returned the rest.  Then Brad had to find another lasering company and filll the rest of the order.  It took to until late summer or fall of 2002 before we got the order. 

Maybe with your post, the Chronology will be updated.  I supplied the info (and check dates), and it was not added.  For the record, the Celtics and Mandalas were the creation of Crow and myself.  My concept, Crow's artwork. A commission made to Tom Kuhn yo-yos by skilltoys.com. The way it is posted makes it seem that they were Tom Kuhn's idea.  We created them to make something interesting and unique on wood, using Tom's beautiful products as the canvas. We likely would have done more of these "cultures" mandalas if not for all the problems with the Quatle.
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Crow
The artist formerly known as Scarecrow
Trade Count: (3)
The Nation



Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2012, 01:23:49 PM »

We likely would have done more of these "cultures" mandalas if not for all the problems with the Quatle.

Yep. I had the art started for a couple more cultures. Getting the Quatls produced though, was like pulling hairs. I think we're actually pretty lucky that we got what we did. It would have been very easy to have given up after the overburns. I remember them now. Very frustrating. But I guess that nothing truly worthwhile comes easily.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 01:39:39 PM by Crow » Logged
attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2012, 11:44:28 PM »

Thanks for the info, Crow, and the excellent spirit in which it was provided.  I shall add your data to the Chronology directly.  None of it conflicts with the purely objective data supplied by Tom and Brad, gentlemen I admire.  

Dave, is it true that Brad made you fully aware that the company has a 1,000 unit minimum order requirement; that each of your little orders (100 or so) thus had to be produced in conjunction with actual full runs;; that you knew in advance your little orders would have to await production until those full runs were being manufactured; that you commissioned the Batik while yet fully aware you would be closing your store; that even the Batik run had to wait for somebody to place a larger, full order on which your 100 Batik order would "piggyback;" that Brad never promised you a special 100 YoYo run of your own to be accomplished with special haste; and that you closed your store exactly when anticipated, the timing of which occurred irrespective of your receipt of the Batik shipment?  

I ask, because I continue to check your facts - as thoroughly as I am investigating the motives of anyone who has negativity to cast upon Tom OR Brad.  

Bud
  

          
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 11:50:41 PM by attybud » Logged

             Indeed, I did.  I did, indeed,
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             Without due speed, I dare not do,
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ed
wood is good.
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2012, 10:17:29 AM »

"this bickering is pointless" - grand moff tarkin

c'mon bud. dave carried the torch of yo-yo chronology (not just tom kuhn) with the museum site for years. this is a yo-yo forum; calling someone out for a bad job or raw deal represents roughly half of the internet's historical functionality. brad's always been a nice guy to me, but i've never been in business with him. a lot of folks i respect have had fallings-out (plural?) with him over the years due to situations like the quatle and batik. i personally feel that the message of the brand has been diluted or lost in the last decade or so. the no jive remains my favorite yo-yo ever, representing the simple essence of yo-yoing, but you can't even get one anymore. since before the batik, it's felt like 'what can we do with this old stock' as opposed to 'how can we improve upon the quintessential handcrafted wooden yo-yo', which was the real power of both tom kuhn and hummingbird 20 years ago.

i very much appreciate the work you did to get the timeline as solid as it is, bud. it's really neat, and i'd love to see it mad into a site with pictures someday. it's tough to read through a sequence of one-ups by guys who clearly all love throwing wood yo-yo's (which is what i'm gonna go do now).
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photogeek
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2012, 11:24:26 AM »

i personally feel that the message of the brand has been diluted or lost in the last decade or so. the no jive remains my favorite yo-yo ever, representing the simple essence of yo-yoing, but you can't even get one anymore. since before the batik, it's felt like 'what can we do with this old stock' as opposed to 'how can we improve upon the quintessential handcrafted wooden yo-yo', which was the real power of both tom kuhn and hummingbird 20 years ago.

"Diluted" is being really generous. The ship hasn't just sailed, it's been run aground and now is being sold off for scrap. The fact that those of us who love TK are left with nothing to talk about but arguments from the past is as sure of a sign of that as anything.

And perhaps more ironic of all, here we are hearing excuses about piggybacking on 1000 unit orders. What was the last time TK made a 1000 unit run of anything?

Just so I contribute something other than -----, I would add in the SB2 predecessor "Turbo Yo" in mid 1989 (39 were produced I believe) and a note about the ~1995 Pocket Rocket release that was one of the pearl white wood fixed axle yoyos. The PR itself isn't a particularly noteworthy release except that the name was obviously recycled later on, making it an interesting bit of TK trivia.
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attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2012, 02:28:18 PM »

I state facts, and make objective inquiries.  I make excuses for no one.   Either Dave knew, in advance, his mini-runs would have built-in delays, or he didn't.  I am pleased to have the contributions I can get, of actual OBJECTIVE information that states WHEN A GIVEN TOM KUHN YOYO WAS MADE.  Not when checks were written for mini-runs.   Not self-described "guessing," even by the curator of the Smithsonian, itself.   To then complain that the guessing wasn't incorporated into the Chronology .... 

Come on, Ed.  If you know me at all, then you know the pride I hold in the virtue of respect.   If a man enters my realm with DISRESPECT, whether toward me or others - especially those not present to defend themselves - my respect for such a man diminishes in kind and proportion.   Of whom, among us, can that not be said?   

At the same time, I am human.   Prone to error.

So, I now apologize to Dave.   Not because you had a store, or originated certain yoyos, or have your own site.   But because of the room I leave for the possibility you never intended my Chronology page to become a repository for bitter expressions and disrespect.   I leave room for the possibility, all you ever intended to do was provide helpful information.  If so, the fact certainly was not clear to me.   Yet, the unclarity, itself, might have been the product of my own erroneous interpretation.   If, indeed, you meant no disrespect to me, or others, by your writings here, then I extend sincere apologies - and hope to start over our dialogue in more positive and respectful manner.   

I stand willing, if you are, sir. 

Bud

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attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2012, 02:32:38 PM »


 I would add in the SB2 predecessor "Turbo Yo" in mid 1989 (39 were produced I believe) and a note about the ~1995 Pocket Rocket release that was one of the pearl white wood fixed axle yoyos. The PR itself isn't a particularly noteworthy release except that the name was obviously recycled later on, making it an interesting bit of TK trivia.
.

I love this.   Thank you so much, Photogeek!  

« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 02:33:39 PM by attybud » Logged
Crow
The artist formerly known as Scarecrow
Trade Count: (3)
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2012, 10:48:40 PM »

I think we need to clearly understand the environment in which some of these events occurred. I think Steve can back me up on this, that the yo-yo boom in the late '90's and early 2000's was a complete biatch. Emotions ran very high, and not in a good way. Everybody was contributing to the hobby in one breath, and doing something to tear it down in the next. Resellers and manufacturers were pounding stakes into the ground daily, trying to dominate the market. 50 tiny little yo-yo companies were suddenly faced with enormous expansion, at the possibility making millions, and had no idea how to do it properly. As a result, everybody got bent out of shape. Nobody trusted anybody, and many of us held our enemies as close to ourselves as possible.

It would be nice to think of that era as a time of peace and harmony and love for the hobby, but the reality was much, much different. We all behaved badly, from the resellers to the manufacturers, to the hobbyists themselves. It was awful. Much of it is our own fault that the boom just stopped one day, and I mean STOPPED. The businesses were tearing into each other, and the hobbyists just got sick of each other. All of us from that era are at fault.

So when history of that era comes up, don't expect it all to read like the early San Francisco days of Tom Kuhn. Things were much different during the boom. We found out that the boom was more about money than it was about yo-yo tricks and just having fun. Fortunately, the state of yo seems to be much better today. If things were the same now as during the boom, you'd never see my face here. I just don't have the stomach for that kind of life anymore.

I don't know how else to describe it. Great things happened during the boom. Don't get me wrong. But we're all glad it's over.
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attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2012, 01:43:30 AM »

Objective, elegant information.  I did not know this.  Thank you, Crow.  

Man,  ...  I just love Tom Kuhn yoyos.  Particularly those you and Dave conceived.  To you guys, they may represent a product lesser than originally intended.  But, to us, they are exquisite works of playful, functional art.  They are Bach.  The community owes thanks to you and Dave.  And to Tom.  And to Brad - a master maker of fine wooden toys.  

And you're right, as is Ed, and Steve, and Dave (and others who've been kind enough to speak with me privately) - that this thread must expand.  Inevitably.  It must include subjective history.  Initially, I really wanted this thread to perform one simple function:  to distill knowledge into a very specific, compact form - to provide the most accurate possible timeline - to let collectors date their yoyos' production.  But, now, I agree with you gentlemen, respecting the thread.  I shall curb my effort to confine its scope, to that of a mere Chronology.  

Privately, I've been advised to curb the zeal with which I stand up for my friends.  We live in an age, I'm told, when it's no longer fashionable.  Sad thought.  No.  I'll always stand up for my friends.  

As for the thread:  The Chronology will remain atop, subject to refinement.  Below the Chronology, I welcome anecdotal observations - even if they describe past discord relevant to Tom Kuhn yoyos.  

I hope to find all anecdotal information stated with kind of respect and objectivity you so easily express, Crow.  I realize not everybody has your way with words.  I ask only that everyone try.  

Civility - or the lack of it - brought the yoyo boom to an end, as you pointed out.  We are smarter than that.  If we weren't back then - we are now.  

One of the things I love about Dave's own site is the fact that is consists of concise, objective, beautifully ordered information.  I find zero lamentation in Dave's site - it's all about the yoyos!  If this thread attains a fraction of that kind of success, I shall be honored.  

Any reader not familiar with Dave's site - you owe it to yourself to visit it.  

Respectfully,
Bud
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 08:00:27 AM by attybud » Logged
Crow
The artist formerly known as Scarecrow
Trade Count: (3)
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #30 on: March 04, 2012, 11:16:24 AM »

To you guys, they may represent a product lesser than originally intended.

True, but only in the context of the era. Dave saw the current market, and knew that custom No-Jives would add value to yo, both then and in the future. He really wanted the crème de la crème of yo-yo's to be the result. He knew that they'd be history makers, even if they went relatively unnoticed at the time.

The burns were sometimes pretty crazy, and there was annoying pixelization in the Celtic Stars, but speaking for myself, it was the packaging of the mandalas that I thought we fell short on. I hated, and still hate to this day, those little plastic see-thru boxes. We would much have preferred engraved wooden or printed cardboard boxes for the mandalas, but couldn't find anyone to produce a run of only a few hundred.

Also, let me state that I never heard of a single issue with Tom Kuhn. Tom stayed very much behind the scenes of business matters. Pretty much everything was handled by BC. The only communication that I ever received involving Tom, was to communicate his excitement over my designs. That came through to me from Dave. Dave really did most of the work on the project. I was just the guy sketching on pencil and paper, and providing feedback on ideas.

I'll admit that I was sort of offended later on, when Infinite Illusions came out with their own custom No-Jives. Dave and I had to jump through hoops to get the custom mandala ball rolling. There were a lot of negotiations going on. You have no idea how much time and effort it took to work around the demands of the phrases “Tom Kuhn” and “No-Jive” having to be integrated tastefully into the artwork. Then Infinite Illusions was not required to be held to this same standard afterward. It was as if the boom was over, and suddenly the No-Jive was prostituted to being available to anybody who wanted to brand their name on it, just to make a last bit of money. I was very angry. In retrospect, No-Jives had been advertising yo-yo's for a long time, back in the days of the Neiman Marcus and many others. But the timing of the Infinite Illusions models was very tough to take, especially considering that Dave thought of Infinite Illusions to be his nearest competitor.

But when all was said and done, we had the Celtic Rings, Celtic Stars and Quatls, and they were wonderful. Yes, they were not everything we wanted them to be, but that does not take away from what we were able to achieve. The boom saw the creation of a ton of different yo-yo's, most of which will be long forgotten. But the Celtic's and Quatl's have somehow inserted themselves into yo-yo lore. I look VERY FONDLY on the butterfly Celtic Rings. I love that yo-yo. When I look back at the boom, it is that yo-yo that I think of most. I really didn't understand the enormity and value of the project until I fixed my eyes upon it. It was truly a labor of love. Thankfully, Brad did an exceptional job on the Celtic Rings.

I actually have a dedicated Celtic Rings Mandala that I use daily during yogic meditation. The idea of the mandala being used for meditation goes back into ancient history. Yogi's would gaze at a mandala design, as an aid to keeping their focus during meditation, following the many paths inside the maze of the mandala. I use the Celtic Rings in much the same way. I also trace the outside edge of the engraving with my thumb, counting the revolutions, much in the same way that a yogi would use a string of threaded mala beads during prayer and meditation, but obviously on a much smaller scale. It's kind of interesting. I had no such aspirations during the yo-yo boom, but the Celtic Rings Mandala has actually guided me over time to the true spirit of the mandala, and brought me closer to the eternal, that the No-Jive 3-in-1so wonderfully represents within our hobby.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 11:22:40 AM by Crow » Logged
Crow
The artist formerly known as Scarecrow
Trade Count: (3)
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2012, 11:39:04 AM »

This a great thread and all, and a website could be created around the collecting of Tom Kuhn yo-yo's. But I'd personally love to see a book on modern yo-yo history, seen through the eyes of Tom Kuhn, Brad Countryman, No-Jive yo-yo players, and collectors alike. A whole book on the chronology of the brand, along with tons of anecdotes about Tom Kuhn yo-yo's, from the San Francisco days through to today. It would be an awesome story, and a great historical reference, available for free to download and print. If somebody were to be able to collect the data, and do the interviews, I'd be happy to take on the project of melding it into a cohesive piece of written material.

Having been brought up in a family that has embraced the English language, it would be a gratifying project. My father was a teacher of the English language, and my grandfather was a professor of the English language, and an author of many works himself. It would be kind of cool to add myself to that aspect of my family's endeavors.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 11:39:36 AM by Crow » Logged
ed
wood is good.
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #32 on: March 04, 2012, 11:43:00 AM »

the celtic rings butterfly you gave me is certainly among the most awesome yo-yo's i've ever received (which is saying something).
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attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #33 on: March 04, 2012, 12:19:13 PM »

After five years of searching, two Celtics elude my collection.  The image on the right - its beauty - stunned me the first time I saw it.  I cannot explain how or why, but it lent a sense of peace - at a time when my life had no peace.  That image - the Celtic Rings butterfly - ignited my passion for yoyos, those five years ago.  

« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 12:21:52 PM by attybud » Logged
yoyodave
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2012, 08:46:29 PM »

After five years of searching, two Celtics elude my collection.  The image on the right - its beauty - stunned me the first time I saw it.  I cannot explain how or why, but it lent a sense of peace - at a time when my life had no peace.  That image - the Celtic Rings butterfly - ignited my passion for yoyos, those five years ago.  

Now that is true irony.  That your journey into peace and Tom Kuhn's yo-yos began with... one of my photographs. With a little bit of the old colors from Dave & Mark's Yo-Yo Store on the right hand border.  No worries.  Sounds like we both just love these yo-yos, and that is the important thing.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 09:46:27 PM by yoyodave » Logged
attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #35 on: March 04, 2012, 10:53:50 PM »

Indeed.  Lol. 
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oldyoyoguy
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2012, 11:25:42 PM »

It would be nice to think of that era as a time of peace and harmony and love for the hobby, but the reality was much, much different. We all behaved badly, from the resellers to the manufacturers, to the hobbyists themselves. It was awful. Much of it is our own fault that the boom just stopped one day, and I mean STOPPED. The businesses were tearing into each other, and the hobbyists just got sick of each other. All of us from that era are at fault.

That's why I've never wanted to see another boom come around, it brings out the worst in people.  While there was all of this wonderful innovation going on in the hobby back then, there were also cease-and-desist letters flying around that made the relatively recent Duncan Butterfly dust-up look tame by comparison.  And that might explain why, per Josh's observation and Ed's dismay, the current incarnation of Tom Kuhn Yo-Yos is all about pushing old and/or reworked stock:  the proprietors want to flush away all the reminders of that era any way they can.  It's too bad, and a little ironic, that some of the most popular yo-yos today are done in small, boutique runs, just like Tom Kuhns used to be.

On a brighter note, Scarecrow, it was pretty obvious from the get-go that you've come from an articulate family (as has Steve, for that matter), and I think your idea of a Tom Kuhn history is an enlightened one.  If you need a cheerleader, count me in.  Afro
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jblack
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #37 on: March 13, 2012, 10:56:23 PM »

I think Scarecrow and Oldyoyoguy hit the nail on the head - while I won't lay blame across the entire industry, there was certainly a different focus (VDE, Amaral, et al.) - too many adults with $$ in their eyes.  Somedays I feel like we have now hit the exact opposite with too many inexperienced designers with no business sense all giving it a go and far too much product is flooding the market with little to truly differentiate these "brands" - A machine shop can spit out a different, small run of carved aluminum yo-yos every other week... I don't see that this hype machine is helping retailers, many of whom are quietly disappearing.

TK was always an under the radar product - quirky, unique, a reward for those that searched and found it.  This remained true under BC.  While BC did often make TK the mercury to his ford, there were still flashes of artistry and commitment to TK's vision - the laminate No-Jives are amazing players, beautiful yo-yos and the result of BC's own innovation and artistry.  Also, don't forget that BC did a lot to increase the tolerances, balance and manufacturing consistency of the no-jive.  I also really enjoy the RD series - they are fine yo-yos and I think a worthy carrier of the TK name.  

While there are certainly those who have reason to question his stewardship - I think BC is receiving a little too much blame and muckraking here.  Don't forget, the market for wooden yo-yos did not generate the same interest and development as plastics and metals towards the end of the BOOM and dark ages thereafter - both easier and cheaper to produce.  Wonder why all other companies' attempts to make wood yo-yos failed too... yomega panther, Holgate and the duncan repros, playmaxx roadster, american spinners, papa jim...

I wouldn't say the company died in 1995 - just that it was unfortunately diluted, obscured and lost in a market that couldn't afford to keep a small boutique brand alive.  
« Last Edit: March 13, 2012, 11:00:03 PM by jblack » Logged
oldyoyoguy
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Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2012, 11:02:58 AM »

Anyone know the lifespan of the Flying Camel?  The chronology says it dropped in 1977, how long was its run?  Did BC ever make any?
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attybud
Re: Chronology of Tom Kuhn Yoyos
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2012, 11:27:26 AM »

Per Brad, his shop produced the last run of Flying Camels, in 1998.  Thank you for that question, Tom!  The data is incorporated in the Chronology. 

Respectfully,
Bud
« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 11:41:41 AM by attybud » Logged
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