Whirligig toys made of hammered lead musket balls or coins too old and thin to be of value have been excavated from early American town, plantation, and military camp sites. Mentioned in English literature as early as 1686, these toys have also been found in Native American cliff ruins, indicating the toy’s antiquity in North America. The buzzing sound of the whirling disk lent this toy its other names of “buzzer”, “buzzsaw”, and “whizzer”.
To use: Place the loop formed at each end of the doubled string over two fingers of each hand and slide the whirligig to the middle of the string. With tension on the string, move your hands in a circular motion so that the whirligig spins away from you and the string becomes twisted along its entire length. When the string is completely wound, simultaneously stop the circular motion and pull your hands apart gently, in a continuous motion. The whirligig will start to spin back towards you. Bring your hands towards each other just a bit to allow the string to rewind, then apart again each time the string is fully wound, in a gentle and rhythmic motion, slowing or quickening the speed of the whirligig by adjusting the timing and length of your pull.
This whirligig is fashioned from a lead-free pewter reproduction of a Spanish Milled Dollar, a silver coin widely used during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Measures approximately 1 ½” in diameter.