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Tom Kuhn SB-2 - Polished - San Francisco era
Exhibit #3981
TypeProduction
ShapeModified
AxleBearing
FinishPolished
ColorPolished aluminum
PackagingDisplay Boxed
ConstructionMulti-piece aluminum
ResponseNone
Diameter56 mm
Width26 mm
GapFixed
Weight48 gm
Condition9
Date1990
OwnerRick Brough
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In 1987, Tom Kuhn and Don Watson began research and development on a playable, high-performance yo-yo to surpass the original Tom Kuhn Silver Bullet. After three years and the release of 39 pre-production prototypes known as the Turbo-Yo in the summer of 1990, the Silver Bullet 2 or SB-2 made its debut November 1990. Based on the engraved year and serial number, the yo-yo in this exhibit was among the first SB-2s ever released. It's possible that it was made by the same person or people who made the Turbo-Yo just a few months earlier.

The model was released in a polished aircraft aluminum version seen in this exhibit. And, in another first, it was also released in a tortoise shell version of black and bronze anodizing on the rims/inner face and a black anodized body on the outer face (shown). It was the first anodized yo-yo model. Both versions had full engraving, including serial numbering and year of production. The yo-yo came in a Tom Kuhn-branded blue display box, along with a Flight Manual (user guide), two weight rings, two gap adjusting screws, pack of strings, string gap tool, and a spare bearing.

See the Tom Kuhn postcard announcing the SB-2 in November 1990.

The Silver Bullet 2 is still made today, albeit in polished aluminum only and by a different maker. It continues to use a size I ball bearing axle, just like the Turbo-Yo prototype and the original San Francisco-era release. It also has the same adjustable string gap.

Today, players take ball bearing yo-yos for granted. But, back in 1990, it was a special experience to be among the first to try out a yo-yo that was so different and disruptive to the world of yo-yo play.

Original Tom Kuhn Silver Bullet series:
Silver Bullet (SB-1) - 1984
Turbo-Yo (SB-2 prototype) - 1990
Silver Bullet 2 (SB-2) - 1990 in Tortoise shell and in Polished aluminum
Silver Bullet 3 (SB-3) - 2012
Silver Bullet Series limited box set 4 (contains SB-1, SB-2, and SB-3)
Silver Bullet 4 (SB-4) - 2014

Original retail price: $75 US (about $150 in 2021).
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