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Playmaxx was a yo-yo manufacturer that has since been purchased by Duncan. Playmaxx made the line of ProYo yo-yos, some of the most popular yo-yos of their time. Before being bought by Duncan, Playmaxx/ProYo was owned by Tom Van Dan Elzen and Hans "YoHans" Van Dan Elzen (his son) and had a distribution deal with companies such as Hasbro, Koosh, and TCL.

After Duncan purchased Playmaxx in the early 2000s, YoHans and Ben McPhee would go on to start YoYoFactory.

Early History

Playmaxx was started in 1976 by Donald F. Duncan, Jr, son of Donald F. Duncan, the original founder of Duncan Toys. The original name for the company was Duncraft, but the company only held this name for six months before it was changed to Duracraft at the request of the current Duncan company. In 1988, the name was changed from Duracraft to Playmaxx as it remained until the company's acquisition by Duncan in 2001. The original ProYo was produced until 1996 when it was replaced by the upgraded ProYo II.

In October of 1996, with the introduction of the ProYo II, Playmaxx yo-yos rapidly became some of the best selling high performance yo-yos of that time. It became a success in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan (in the Hyper Yo-Yo line), United Kingdom, Poland, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Finland, Canada, Denmark and many other countries.

The ProYo originally held 3 AYYA world records,

  • Longest sleeper - to extinction: 51 seconds
  • Fastest spinner : 11,400 RPM
  • Around the Worlds : 26

Modern Yo-yos

In October of 1997, Playmaxx introduced the ProYo Turbo Bumble Bee with a ball bearing and a new Brake Pad response system. This yo-yo could sleep for an long period of time, was smooth on the string and returned with a tug. Also in October of 1997, Playmaxx re-introduced the Vid-e-Yo training video. This was produced as a joint effort by Playmaxx and TimeLine Video. The Vid-e-Yo starred YoHans himself and won the coveted 1998 "Aurora" award for "Platinum - Best of Show".

Enhancing the use of Brake Pad technology, Playmaxx introduced the Cold Fusion in October of 1998. This rapidly became the most sought after aluminum yo-yo around. Sales, despite costing $150 USD each, considerably outran expectations. This yo-yo also held a number of sleeper records, including:

  • 3 October 1998, US National Championships, 7 minutes and 8 seconds[1]
  • 16 May 1999, Golden Apple Comics, 8 minutes and 21 seconds
  • 18 July 1999, Fourth Annual World ProYo Championships, 10 minutes and 18 seconds


  1. This record was set with a butterfly-profiled Cold Fusion prototype from Playmaxx. This model, whose working name was the Lightspeed, would undergo additional profile changes before being commercially released as the Cold Fusion GT. The Lightspeed was the working name for many of the Playmaxx yo-yos but this is probably the most famous. Playmaxx stated that they never used the name on a production model because of fears over legal challenges from LucasFilm.


The Playmaxx yo-yo company became the subject of controversy, when they began sending Cease and Desist orders to companies and individuals that it felt were infringing on its patent on the Brake Pads. An example of this was the Eric Wolff signature series black Chain Reactor by Custom, using a response system developed by Eric. The company was forced to discontinue the model.

Some in the yo-yo community believed that these orders were out of line. One particular example was the orders that were sent to Air Traffic Kites and Games in regards to the Henrys yo-yos that they imported from Germany. Playmaxx believed that the reverse starburst response system of Henrys' Coral Snake yo-yo infringed upon their own patent and the addition of a reverse starburst was a home-brewed modification, routinely done by Viper owners. Air Traffic did not comply with the Cease and Desist.

It is believed by some that Air Traffic's non-compliance was the reason that Playmaxx produced the Mongoose yo-yo.

Yo-yos Produce

External links