Fidget spinner

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Fidget spinner
Fidget spinner red, cropped.jpg
A typical three-lobed fidget spinner
TypeStress-relieving toy
MaterialsBrass, stainless steel, ceramic, titanium, copper, plastic, latex etc.

A fidget spinner is a toy that consists of a ball bearing in the center of a multi-lobed (typically two or three) flat structure made from metal or plastic designed to spin along its axis with pressure Fidget spinners became trending toys in 2017, although similar devices had been invented as early as 1993.[1]

The toy has been promoted as helping people who have trouble focusing or those who may need to fidget to relieve nervous energy, anxiety, or psychological stress. There are claims that a fidget spinner can help calm down people who have anxiety or neurodivergences, like ADHD and autism.[2] However, as of May 2017, there is no scientific evidence that they are effective as a treatment for ADHD.[3][4]


As of 2017, the patent status of the various fidget spinners on the market was unclear.[5]

Catherine Hettinger, a chemical engineer by training, was initially credited by some news stories as having been the inventor of the fidget spinner, including by media outlets such as The Guardian,[6] The New York Times,[7] and the New York Post.[8] Hettinger filed a patent application for a "spinning toy"[9] in 1993 and a patent was issued, but Hettinger allowed the patent to lapse in 2005 after she could not find a commercial partner.[5][6] A May 2017 Bloomberg News article showed that Hettinger was not the inventor of the fidget spinner, and Hettinger agreed.[5]

In an interview appearing on 4 May 2017 on NPR, Scott McCoskery described how he invented a metal spinning device in 2014 to cope with his own fidgeting in IT meetings and conference calls.[10] In response to requests from an online community, he began selling the device he called the Torqbar online.[10]

Popularity and usage[edit]

Google Search popularity of fidget spinners in early 2017.

With the rapid increase in the popularity of fidget spinners in 2017, many children and teenagers began using them in school, and some schools also reported that students were trading and selling the spinner toys.[11][12][13]

As a result of their frequent use by school children, many school districts banned the toy.[6][7] Some teachers argued that the spinners distracted students from their schoolwork.[11] According to a survey conducted by Alexi Roy and published in May 2017, 32% of the largest 200 American public and private high schools had banned spinners on campus.[14]

When fidget spinners rose in popularity in 2017, many publications in the popular press discussed the marketing claims made about them for people with ADHD, autism, or anxiety.[4][6][7] However, there is no scientific evidence that fidget spinners are effective as a treatment for children with ADHD.[3][4][15] They quickly fell in popularity and sales after peaking in May 2017.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Calfas, Jennifer. "Meet the Woman Who Invented Fidget Spinners, the Newest Toy Craze Sweeping America". Time. Archived from the original on May 3, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  2. ^ McGri, David (2017-08-18). "Fidget Spinners". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  3. ^ a b Calfas, Jennifer (May 11, 2017). "Do Fidget Spinners Really Help With ADHD? Nope, Experts Say". Money. Time. Archived from the original on May 11, 2017. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Singh, Anita; Horton, Helena; Fuller, George (May 3, 2017). "Fidget spinners: the new classroom craze being banned across the nation". The Telegraph. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Brustein, Joshua (May 11, 2017). "How the Fidget Spinner Origin Story Spun Out of Control". Bloomberg News. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d Luscombe, Richard (May 5, 2017). "As fidget spinner craze goes global, its inventor struggles to make ends meet". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Williams, Alex (May 6, 2017). "How Fidget Spinners Became a Hula-Hoop for Generation Z". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Miller, Joshua Rhett (May 5, 2017). "Woman who invented fidget spinners isn't getting squat". New York Post.
  9. ^ US 5591062A, Catherine A. Hettinger (Disputed), "Spinning toy", published 1997-01-07, issued 1997-01-07 
  10. ^ a b Malone, Kenny (May 4, 2017). "Fidget Spinner Emerges As Must-Have Toy Of The Year". Planet Money. NPR. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Calfas, Jennifer (May 4, 2017). "Here's Everything You Need To Know About Fidget Spinners". Money. Time. Archived from the original on May 4, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  12. ^ "Many Schools Ban Hot Toy For Being Distraction". CBS Los Angeles. May 4, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  13. ^ "Fidget Spinners For Kids: Reports Say It's Distracting, Parents Say Not So". CBS Miami. May 2, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  14. ^ Roy, Alexi (May 10, 2017). "The Fidget Spinners Are Banned in 32% of the Largest High Schools U.S." Spinner List.
  15. ^ Bogost, Ian. "The Fidget Spinner Explains the World". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  16. ^ "Get Over It. Fidget Spinner Trend Is Dead". Fortune. Retrieved Sep 1, 2020.

External links[edit]