Why does the Lattoo stay upright?

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Lattoo stays upright because it contains angular momentum, a spinning top virtually returns to its original position because it is resisting precession of its axis of rotation. The faster it spins, the more it resists precession, so if I tip it over, it will still spin with the same angular velocity.

The core physics behind all of these effects is that in order to rotate an object, a torque is required. The rate of change of angular momentum equals the torque. That has nothing to do with magic. It’s the rotational equivalent of what happens when a straight line item accelerates. In that instance, the object’s force is equal to the rate at which its momentum changes. Similar to linear momentum, angular momentum refers to motion in a round rather than a straight line route.

Different methods of spinning 

Twirling my fingers 

Smaller tops have a short stem that is twirled with the fingers to get them moving. In the same way, a thumbtack can be made to spin on its point. 

Whips and strings 

A typical fist-sized model, typically made of wood with a blunt iron tip, is activated by yanking on a cord or rope tightly coiled around the body. The rope should be twisted from the tip up along the enlarging body, so that the tension of the string remains fairly constant as the angular speed of the top increases.

These tops can be thrown forward while holding the end of the rope firmly in your hand and pulling it back. The top’s forward motion affects the string’s tension and, as a result, the final spin rate. 

The top is thrown upside-down in some throwing styles, but the initial loop of the rope is looped around a stubby “head.” The spinning top then flips over and lands on its tip due to the sharp strain on the head when the string unwinds. 

Tops of this class can also be started by hand and then accelerated and maintained in motion by continuously striking them with a tiny whip.

Augers 

A built-in metal auger is used to propel some of the larger variants (spiral plunger). The actual top of the toy may be surrounded in a hollow metal shell with the same axis but dissociated from it in these variants, allowing the toy to seem motionless but “magically” balanced on its tip. 

Fields of magnetism 

Magnetic fields rotating from a specific ground plate keep some modern tops in motion indefinitely.

Types of Toy Spinning Tops 

Whip Tops

Although there is historical evidence of whip tops all over the world, the first ones were most likely used in China thousands of years ago and brought to Europe by sailors returning from the Orient.

The whip top is essentially cone-shaped and made of wood or clay, with stronger materials such as iron being used in the eighteenth century. Whipping may appear to be difficult on the tops, but whip tops actually last longer than standard throwing tops since the base of the tops is not continually absorbing the impacts of falling on hard surfaces.

As a side note, it’s worth noting that in the “The whip top was specifically identified as an acceptable form of play in the “Orders, Statutes and Rules” of England’s Harrow School, though the rules stated, “The Scholars shall not be permitted to play, except upon Thursday only occasionally when the weather is fine, and upon Saturday, or half-holidays after prayer.” And their only game will be driving (whipping) the top, tossing a handball, running, or shooting (archery), and nothing else.”

In some English villages, a parish top (a whip top) is also mentioned. The parish top, which could weigh up to two pounds, would be stored in the town courtyard. To maintain spinning, such a top would have needed a lot of power, similar to the top in the video below, which needed many adults whipping it to keep it upright.

Throwing Tops

The throwing top is often made up of a string wrapped around the body of a cone-shaped or peg-shaped top. In today’s world, the tossing top is the most popular type of top. Throwing and landing on the tip at the top, as previously said, is quite difficult on the toy. As a result, a normal throwing top has a far shorter lifespan than a whip, twist, or pump top. A throwing top is also known as a “peg top.” Rather than having the peg inserted into the body as it is done now, the original peg tops were cut to a point.

The peg top is a skill-building top, owing to the fact that it requires throwing. When one has personal control over a top, there are many more things one can do with it than with other tops, which limit the interface between top and player. Wood is the most common material used to manufacture toss tops, however plastic is gaining traction as a viable alternative.

As previously stated, the peg (point) was once a part of the top. Hardwoods or bone were then utilised, followed by metal points, which were driven or cemented into the hole supplied for that purpose.

Speed and spin time improved as pegs became smaller and smaller, reducing friction between the top and the playing surface. There have been and continue to be devised and played a variety of games using throwing tops (see below – Battle Tops). During the 18th and 19th centuries, tops reigned supreme in the world of toys, particularly in Europe and America.

Twist Tops

Twist tops are generally defined as tops that are traditionally twisted with three fingers. These types of tops are the most basic and low-tech forms of this classic toy.

The longest spin times and the number of tops that can be set spinning in a given timeframe are usually the focus of twist top records.

A video of a young Indian gentleman attempting to set a record for the most twist tops set in motion in a five minute time can be found in the Records Section below. He’s hoping to break the 500-meter dash record. We haven’t heard anything about whether he was successful in establishing this record.

Readers of ToysPeriod are encouraged to share any information they may have on the subject.

FAQs

Is the mass of a top related to how long it spins? 

When launched at the same speed, heavy tops spin for longer than light ones. The longer they spin, the faster they spin when launched. Momentum is defined as the combination of mass and speed. Momentum is defined as mass multiplied by speed.

What can I do to get my top to spin faster? 

To begin spinning the top, spin it as straight up and down as possible. Any deviation from a completely straight up and down will result in a faster loss of energy as the top will go in a circular pattern until it finds its balance. This causes the Schulte to slow down faster than it would if it were spinning in position.

How do you maintain the momentum of a spinning top? 

A top’s angular momentum must change from pointing vertically (up or down, depending on which direction it’s spinning) to pointing sideways in order for it to fall over. In a nutshell, tops stay upright because they violate angular momentum if they topple over.