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Tom Kuhn No Jive - Flying Camel - Model C - 3 in 1
Exhibit #3657
ShapeStandard (-)
PackagingDisplay Boxed
ConstructionThree piece wood
OwnerRick Brough

An early San Francisco-era Tom Kuhn No Jive, Flying Camel, Model C (C for "Convex" or "Classic"; also known as tournament, imperial) yo-yo from 1978 or 1979. There are some unique characteristics about the yo-yo in this exhibit that help identify it as one of the earliest versions of the Flying Camel known.

One unique characteristic is its use of a flat-faced hex nut on each halve. A year or two after this yo-yo was released, the flat-faced hex nut design was changed. It was manufactured in a way that the face came to a subtle point; a "raised tapered style" as Tom describes it. Another characteristic is the deep laser engraving of the design in the maple wood and the unusually large diameter of the design on the face of each halve (see pictures in this exhibit). Notice, too, that the applied stain is lighter on one halve and darker on the other. David Hall – an owner of a Tom Kuhn yo-yo with similar coloring and deep engraving to the Flying Camel in this exhibit (see his exhibit Tom Kuhn Stained Snowflake Mandala) – asked Tom Kuhn about the differing colored halves. Tom gave, in part, the following response:

"We experimented with some staining [of the maple halves], so this may have been a [staining] prototype. The more reddish side was probably hand stained by my workers in the yo-yo workshop. You'll notice that the middle part is more like the color of the lighter side. At that time I used Lasercraft of Santa Rosa [California]. Initially the laser carving was very deep. I felt that the spin times were diminished compared to a No Jive or Clean Machine, so I asked them to make the carving depth more shallow."

One other final unique characteristic, the laser engraved 3 in 1 Wonder that appears on both halves was used only in the first two or three years of this model's production. After that, the text was changed to Laser Carved.

This first version of the Flying Camel is hard to find.

Regarding the unusual Flying Camel name, Tom explained years ago:

"This question seemingly comes in out of the blue. And that's where the answer comes from too. Back in 1978, I was backpacking in the pristine Sierra Nevada Mountains, with my old college friend Dick Porter (now a scientist in France). We were by ourselves camped at a gorgeous granite bound and crystal clear lake laying on our backs after dinner, watching the clouds form and disappear over our heads. I had a number of yo-yo prototypes with me and was sketching designs for the first models. A butterfly landed on my finger and I watched as its proboscis probed the leftover chili powder on my fingers - it was that kind of a day. More cloud watching and one particularly interesting formation appeared, and I asked Dick if he could see the FLYING CAMEL above our heads. He laughed and said, "YES! I see it." I got my sketch pad and captured the image. It seemed an evocative and perfect image for a new breed of carved wooden yo-yo."

Original retail price: $18 US.

Compare the laser engraving of the Flying Camel in this exhibit with the laser engraving of the Flying Camel seen in the 1989 Tom Kuhn heirloom Yo-Yo Set (click Close-up in the heirloom exhibit).

See also the following items as printed in the full color Tom Kuhn product sheet from 1978:
No Jive - Flying Camel - Model C, 3 in 1 Wonder yo-yo
Flying Camel - Custom 3 in 1 Wonder Yo-Yo patch
Tom Kuhn green logo patch without trademark, ver. 1
Tom Kuhn blue logo patch with trademark, ver. 2
No Jive - 3 in 1 Yo-Yo wing patch
Other Views
Profile - note the differing stain color of each halve
Darker stained side, large
Deep laser engraving & flat hex nut
Alternate angle - same large diameter engraving on both sides

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Content by David W. Hall & Rick Brough