The Fidget Spinner Wasn’t Originally Invented for Fidgeting


Loftier ambitions were at play.

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You’ll probably have to have a child to understand the fidget spinner craze that’s unfolding globally right now. Like the Tamagotchis and Tazos before them, fidget spinners have become the must-have piece of plastic for school goers, even rivalling Pokemon Go in cool factor, according to some kids.

It’s really just this: a sort of triangular gathering of ball bearing parts that allow you to spin the object in your hand. That’s it.

But since the device has gone IRL viral (that is, heaps of people globally are buying it), a lot of talk has been circulating about the product’s aim and ability to help people with anxiety and ADHD to concentrate.

Not only have there been no substantial studies to prove such claims, it’s also quite different to the original purpose of the fidget spinner, as envisaged by the object’s inventor, Catherine Hettinger.

Originally conceived in the 1980s, Oklahoma-native Catherine came up with the idea for the fidget spinner in response to seeing children throw stones at police while on a trip to Israel. “It started as a way of promoting peace,” she told Money magazine.

She launched the first fidget spinner in 1993 to no avail – she took it to companies like Hasbro (who, despite now selling fidget spinners themselves, rejected the product at the time Catherine pitched it) and ended up using it to calm her own nerves before big pitch meetings.

Since the device has exploded (and subsequently been banned in schools for distraction), Catherine’s patent has unfortunately lapsed and she’s been watching the success of the product from the sidelines.

The inventor is now planning to launch her own original model, aptly called the Classic Spinner, with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.

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