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Donald F. Duncan


Entrepreneur Donald Franklin Duncan (June 8, 1893-May 15, 1971) was founder of the Duncan Yo-Yo Company and the Duncan Parking Meter Corporation. He was born in Rome, Ohio, but spent his childhood in Huntington. His formal schooling ended after eighth grade, and he left Huntington in his mid-teens. During World War I, he was a successful salesman for the Brock Candy Company in Chicago.

While in San Francisco in the late 1920s, Duncan saw his first yo-yo, a spinning top on a string. A common Filipino toy, yo-yo means ‘‘come-come’’ in the Tagalog language. Duncan bought the toy’s manufacturer, modified the top and substituted a slip-string of Egyptian fiber. After successful marketing, the yo-yo gained widespread popularity. In 1962, its peak sales year, the Duncan company sold 18 million yo-yos and spinning tops.

With profits from his yo-yo company, Duncan founded the Duncan Parking Meter Corporation. When he sold the parking meter company in 1959, it made 80 percent of all meters sold in the world. In 1957, Duncan’s sons took over the Duncan Yo-Yo Company and later sold it to the Flambeau Products Company. Donald Duncan died in Los Angeles.