This toy claims to the the 'world's longest spinning top'. Invented by Ed Rubin, who apparently can sometimes be found demonstrating it at the toyshop FAO Schwartz in New York.
The toy consists of a wooden top and a square cardboard base. You spin the top by hand on the board to get it going, and then by holding the board in your hands and moving it in a circular motion, you impart kinetic energy to the top, which causes the top to spin faster. Apparently someone kept their top going for 2 hours, 52 minutes and 11 secs, and as a result they are in the Guinness Book of Records.
The inventor, Ed Rubin, made the original discovery by accident, back in the mid 1970s. A collector of tops, he was playing with a wooden top and balancing it on the back of a metal box, trying to keep it on the box. As he tilted the box this way and that, keeping the top away from the edge, he realised that by moving the box he was transferring energy to the top.
Two years of experimentation followed, until he had designed the perfect top. For more than 10 years the toy was used as a therapeutic device by occupational therapists, drug counselors, etc, due to the hand-eye skills that are developed, and it was not until 1993 that Ed Rubin decided to market it as a toy. In 1994 FAO Schwartz on 5th Avenue in New York started to stock it, and Topnosis, or Top-no-sis as it is properly called, has been there ever since. Experts can spin more than one top at a time, make the top jump in the air, and do a variety of tricks.