Sometimes the very repetitive nature of games is what makes them so mesmerizing. Such is the case with Whee-Lo, a toy that was introduced in the 1950’s, and was so unique and addictive that it continues to sit on store shelves today. Let’s take a look back at this memorable toy that has perpetually entertained us for over half a century.
The first Whee-Lo toys were produced by Maggie Magnetic, Inc. in the early ‘50’s. The concept was both straightforward and timeless – a red, plastic wheel with a magnetized axle and a j-shaped, two-pronged piece of curved wire. You placed the wheel within the wire loop and angled it so that the wheel rolled toward the curved end. The magnet, combined with the momentum, kept the wheel spinning as long as you kept tipping the wire loop back and forth.
Here’s a familiar motorized store display, to serve as a reminder of the fun one could have with a Whee-Lo:
The toys were perfect accompaniments to dull activities such as car rides and waiting for the school bus. Parents liked the fact that they kept kids quietly occupied, and teachers used them to illustrate scientific principles like kinetic energy, gravity, and rotational energy. Kids just liked them because they were hypnotically fun.
You can still purchase Whee-Lo in toy stores today. Skilcraft is the current manufacturer, but similar toys exist, such as the Wizmo made by Binary Arts Corporation. Over 50 years later and kids STILL aren’t getting tired of spinning that wheel back and forth.
Are you a former owner of a Whee-Lo? Were you mesmerized for hours on end by this timeless toy? Share your memories with us in our comments section. Of course, if you dug out your old Whee-Lo while reading this article, we’ll understand if you need a little time to yourself before responding.