The promotional fidget spinner was the global hit product of 2017. According to e-commerce analysts Rakuten Intelligence, the peak of their popularity came on 5 May 2017 when they accounted for a staggering 17% of all online toy sales. Sales have fallen away since, but a quick online search will reveal how popular the toys still are today. But who invented them?

Promotional Fidget Spinners

The Origins of Promotional Spinners

An American woman named Catherine Hettinger is widely credited as the inventor of the fidget spinner. She patented her spinning toy in 1993, but after struggling to find a commercial partner to manufacture, market and distribute her product, she allowed the patent to lapse in 2005.

However, her patent was for a toy that doesn’t resemble the fidget spinners on the market today. Hettinger – who hasn’t made any money from the fidget spinner craze – has admitted that her toy is very different: it’s a solid disc, like a small frisbee, with a raised point in the middle for your finger.

Likewise, fellow American Scott McCoskery launched his product – the Torqbar – in 2015, but this too isn’t quite the same. McCoskery’s spinner is a weighted metal bar that spins on your finger, not the three-pronged spinner that is now so common.

Whoever is responsible for the invention, the lapse of Hettinger’s patent combined with the rise of 3D printing has meant that hundreds of manufacturers are now producing fidget spinners.

Stress Relief Gifts

As well as being a fun toy, custom fidget spinners are also designed to alleviate stress and anxiety. This combination of fun and tension-busting qualities makes them the perfect corporate merchandising item! I mean, what workplace couldn’t benefit from a little less stress and a little more fun?