The Royal Tops Manufacturing Company was formed in 1935 by Joe Radovan, a phillipine immigrant in the US and friend of Pedro Flores, owner of the Flores yo-yo company. Starting his career as a yo-yo demontrator for Duncan, Joe left the company to form his own yo-yo manufacturer, based out of Long Island City, NY. By meeting up with his old friend Ruben Delagana, Joe setup his yo-yo company in the industrial district, eventually buying real estate and wharehouses.
The Royal Tops company focussed on selling his products to cheap stores (offerring a money-back guarantee for left-over stock) and demontrated the products near schools, directing interrested parties to the nearest retailer. This strategy worked out really well in the 1950's with Royal toys sold in most of the locations as the more successful Duncan company.
In 1962, after the best year in the company's history, Duncan filed suit against the Royal and Dell companies for the use of the word yo-yo. With Dell stopping their production of yo-yos, the court battle between Duncan and Royal was eventually escalated to the US supreme court after 3 years, with a descision in Royal's favor. This landmark descision was based around the Duncan slogan, "If it isn't a Duncan, it isn't a yo-yo", in which Duncan defined the name of the toy as a yo-yo. After this expensive verdict, the yo-yo business didn't fully recover, although Royal continued to make the products for another 10 years under Joe's leadership.
In 2006 Royal continues to make products, selling their yo-yos on eBay and through a small number of online stores. Their numbered editions are still very popular with collectors, with the current reproductions of early-style jeweled wooden yo-yos.
- Royal/Dell Big D