Alternative Name(s): String top

Used: Australia

Donated by B. Alexander, who played with these tops when she was about 15 years old, in the 1930s.

The Australian Children's Folklore Collection is unique in Australia, documenting contemporary children's folklore across Australia and in other countries reaching back to the 1870s. The Collection has a strong component of research material relating to Victoria.
Top-spinning is an ancient activity. Tops dated at 1200-1400BC were excavated in Egypt, and they are often mentioned in classical literature. They are found throughout the world and used by adults and children, in rituals as well as for games of skill. There are many different kinds of tops, and the way they are used depends on their size and shape. This top needs a handle to support it while the string is being pulled. There are many varieties of supported tops, and they can usually be recognised by the long spindle with a hole in it, although there are a few kinds in which the handle is joined to the top. Usually, when the string is pulled, the top drops from the handle and spins independently. The handle makes the top very easy to spin, and it can be used by young children with relative ease.

Physical Description

Wooden string top, conical-shaped with a flat top and a long spindle with a small hole in it. Flat top has remnants of orange and blue paint. The body of the top is unpainted and unlacquered, and there is a small brass nail embedded in the point. Acknowledgement: Australian Children's Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria.

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