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History of the Tedco Gyroscope

(Also known as the Hurst Gyroscope and Chandler Gyroscope)

This toy gyroscope is almost certainly the first mass produced toy gyroscope in the world, with tens of millions produced in its history[1]. Although I have been unable to find exactly the year it was first produced we can be fairly certain it has been in production since at least 1911. An 1898 Indianapolis map[2] that had an update in Dec 1911[3] shows a building for Hurst Mfg that explicitly states "mfrs. gyroscope tops" at 716-718 24th East Street, Sanborn, Indianapolis. At some point the Hurst Mfg Co stopped producing the gyroscope production and production switched to Chandler Mfg Co. At this stage it is still branded a Hurst gyroscope but the box now states the new manufacturer. Interestingly the factory remained at the same location for many decades. As of 2024 the building is now in disrepair with the roof collapsed and trees growing in the building[4].

According to Tedco staff Hurst Mfg Company were selling the gyroscopes to F. W. Woolworth Co in 1928 for $0.06 each (wholesale?). Since Woolworth operated the well-known five and dime stores across America we can only assume they retailed for 10 cents (one dime) in 1928. They remain affordable and just as popular to this day. There is also adverts in the Indianapolis newspapers showing gyroscopes being sold by Hurst retailing for 15 cents[5].

Production continued through the second war world but with minor changes to the packaging to reduce paper consumption and to promote the war effort (boxes said on the bottom "do not burn, save for defence").

Circa 1950's there was a redesign with a thick rubber section added to the axle along with a box redesign and a spoke redesign. The spokes now had a spiral type design and gyroscope was heavier there was a thicker rim. This appears to be the only time the gyroscope spoke design deviated from the distinct diamond pattern design. The rubber section on the shaft could be used to start the gyroscope very quickly by dragging it across a table top, which turned the axle to get the gyroscope up to speed. The frame of the gyroscope also had a redesign; previous models had flat metal strips that were bent round and brazed/soldered, the redesign had a new cage that was form from thick wire.

The product later gets renamed to a "Chandler gyroscope" and the Hurst name removed, this appears to happen around the 1970s. Production continued by the company until 1982 when it was purchased by Tedco Inc. Ralph Teetor originally setup TEDCO (Teetor Engineering Development Company) as a R&D company but is now a toy firm. The gyroscope sold now is roughly remained unchanged changed compared to the original design.

They have become to symbolise gyroscopes in most people's mind in western culture simply because of their abundance. To this day grandparents and parents remember having them as a child and so often buy for their children/grandchildren. When Apple computers launched their first phone with gyroscope sensor in it, they wanted an image of a gyroscope for the stage backdrop. This would be for one of Steve Jobs infamous on stage announcements. Which gyroscope did they pick for this extravaganza? They did pick the most fancy, best or expensive. The choose something that many people can instantly pick out as a gyroscope: a Tedco gyroscope.


  1. Tedco Inc. About us. Tedco Toys. [Online] [Cited: 10 05 2024.]https://tedcotoys.com/about-tedco-toys/
  2. IUPUI University Library. The Digital Collections of IUPUI University Library. The Digital Collections of IUPUI University Library. [Online] Indianapolis Sanborn Map and Baist Atlas Collection, 30 08 2005. [Cited: 26 01 2008.] http://indiamond6.ulib.iupui.edu/
  3. The Digital Collections of IUPUI University Library. Indianapolis Sanborn New General Index Page 2. The Digital Collections of IUPUI University Library. [Online] Indianapolis Sanborn Map and Baist Atlas Collection, Dec 1911. [Cited: 10 5 2024.] https://iuidigital.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/SanbornJP2/id/697/rec/12
  4. Google maps [Online] [Cited: 10 5 2024.] https://www.google.com/
  5. Hoosier State Chronicles. Indianapolis News 1918 (showing advert). Hoosier State Chronicles. [Online] 25 10 1918. [Cited: 10 5 2024.]https://newspapers.library.in.gov/?a=d&d=INN19181025-01.1.21&srpos=3&e=--1910---1930--en-20--1-byDA-txt-txIN-%22Hurst%22+gyroscope------

About the Author

Glenn Turner has been designing and manufacturing gyroscopes since the late 1990s. He founded Gyroscope.com and has sold gyroscopes to 138 countries. He has developed a number of custom gyroscopes including gyros for specialist medical applications and has done consultancy work for a F1 racing team. He developed the first affordable control moment gyroscope for teaching space gyroscopes. His other passions include Stirling engines and Tesla Turbines.