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Trickmaster - No. 1077

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Medalist Trickmaster - No. 1077
Exhibit #4035
ShapeStandard (-)
ColorWhite/blue stripe
PackagingBubble Carded
ConstructionThree piece wood
OwnerRick Brough

A three-piece wooden Trickmaster yo-yo from the Medalist yo-yo line, distributed by Strombeck Mfg. Co., Moline, Illinois. White body with light blue, narrow stripe, and silver foil stamp.

The Medalist yo-yo line included the Cadet for 49¢, the Trickmaster for 79¢, and the Trophy for $1. The Trophy model was made out of plastic; the Cadet and Trickmaster were made out of wood.

The Medalist yo-yo line was identical in shape and profile to some of Duncan's yo-yos from several years earlier. The only differences were in the model's name, stamp, and colors. For example,

Medalist Cadet (#1044), wood, bi-colored halves = Duncan Beginners (#1044), bi-colored halves.
Medalist Trickmaster (#1077), wood, striped and solid colors = Duncan Tournament (#1077), striped and solid colors.
Medalist Trophy (#1400), plastic, solid colors = Duncan Imperial (#1400), plastic, solid colors.

After Duncan's bankruptcy
"In 1965, the tragic end came when a group of creditors put enough pressure on the Duncan company to force them into involuntary bankruptcy. Don Jr. tried desperately to save it, trying the Eleventh Amendment which would allow the company to continue to operate and gradually pay off debts, but it was refused. He had obtained a premium order for over seven million yo-yos, and even ordered lumber and paint, which had arrived, but nothing could be done and a Receiver in Bankruptcy, Harry A. Ash was appointed, and the business came to an abrupt halt. Harry Ash then hired Mae Tollefson (Petersen) to open the factory and hire enough employees back to try to salvage Don Duncan's premium order. However, it fell through and the factory again shut down with only Mae Petersen remaining to look after the building and keep in contact with the Receiver. Then in November 1965, the business was sold to Business Assets, Inc., a liquidating firm in Chicago, who hired Mae Petersen again to open the factory and bring back enough employees to complete all unfinished yo-yos in the plant. They also hired her son Bill Tollefson, to operate the dry kilns to finish drying all maple squares in the yard, and to look after the millroom and paint room machinery. Mack Duncan, Duncan's Assembly Foreman, was hired back to supervise finishing the stock, and Arnold V. Hanson, the former shipping clerk, came back to take care of packing and shipping out as many outstanding orders as possible. When it was all finished, enough of the crew was retained to tag all inventory and get ready for the liquidation auction, which took place on June 22, 1966.

The building and kilns went to U.S. Bedding Co. of St. Paul, who now operated Luck Manufacturing in the building, producing various parts of wooden beds and dressers. Fred Strombeck of Moline, Illinois, bought 22 of the lathes (but not the Duncan name and good will), and eventually bought land adjacent to the plant and built a new factory building in which wooden items were made. This included yo-yos, three models similar to the original Duncan line (Cadet, Trickmaster, and Trophy) which he called the Medalist yo-yo line. The new company was named Sconsin Products, Inc. Fred Strombeck died in October 1972, which was a blow to the budding business, and it, too, eventually went out of business."

Source: Hanson, Russell B. "The Ups and Downs of the Yo-Yo Era." Diamond Jubilee Luck, By Luck Area Historical Society, Polk County Ledger, 1980, pp. 139-141.

Did you know?
Strombeck was founded in 1911 by J.F. Stombeck, and over the years it has been variously known as Strombeck-Becker, Strombecker, and Strombeck Manufacturing Company. They are most famous for their manufacture of wooden toys. In the early to mid 1960s, Strombeck made several wooden toys with Duncan branding on the toy and packaging: the Mister Yo-Yo Duncan Fire Engine, the Mister Yo-Yo Duncan Tractor, and the Mister Yo-Yo Duncan Race Car.

Original retail price: 79¢ US
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