Fidget spinners have taken us by surprise lately and can be found everywhere. They can be seen from advertisements on Facebook to shopping centers everywhere. So what’s the deal behind a fidget spinner and what is their purpose?

Well, a fidget spinner can act as a stress-relieving toy. It consists of a bearing in the center which is made from any variety of materiel’s such as brass, stainless steel, titanium, copper and plastic. The toy was originally designed for those who had trouble focusing such as those with autism, ADHD or anxiety. It acts as a stress releaser.

However, there were divided opinions by many experts as to what it can do, some supporting the stress release benefits while others refusing its scientific basis and argued that the toy simply was a more of a distraction rather than anything else.

The origins of the fidget spinners

A red fidget spinner

The fidget spinner was originally invented by a chemical engineer by training named Catherine Hettinger in the 1990s. She said that she had the idea when she saw young children throwing rocks at police officers in Israel. After seeing that, she wanted to develop a toy that is soothing and could calm them down and release that pent-up energy. However, the idea also came as a result of her suffering from an autoimmune disorder that caused her muscles to weaken, called “Myasthenia gravis”. The disorder left her unable to play with her daughter, so she started “throwing things together with newspaper and tape” to entertain her.

On May 28 1993, Hettinger applied for a patent application for her spinning toy. Moreover, her invention was declined by the American multinational toy and board game company Hasbro to pursue a deal for mass production. This rejection lead her spinning toy patent to lapse in 2005.

However, Hettinger’s claims were disputed by a Bloomberg News article that she is not the original inventor of the fidget spinner, after two patent lawyers cited little resemblance between her invention and the fidget spinners that rose in popularity in 2017.

So to clear the confusion, we are not yet sure who actually came up with the idea, as Hettinger herself said:

“Let’s just say I’m claimed to be the inventor. You know, Wikipedia claims, or something like that”.

Their rise in popularity

The fidget spinners were mentioned by James Plafke of Forbes on December 23, 2016. He described the fidget as a “must have office toy for 2017”. Since then, YouTube and Reddit users began uploading videos reviewing the toy and performing few tricks with it. That’s when the fidget’s popularity started increasing greatly in 2017 and took social media by storm and became the latest fad among teenagers and adults. This new fad started sweeping stores worldwide and seems like they keep running out of stock.

Some Fidget spinner tricks you can try:

Health benefits

Many publications and experts have agreed on the benefits the fidget spinner provides. They claim that it benefits individuals who suffer from ADHD, autism or anxiety. They are also sold and marketed as a “calming tool used to stay focused” and “stress relievers” rather than fun and entertaining toys.

According to Hettinger herself, she recalls a time when a special needs teacher who gave kids suffering from autism fidget spinners started to actually calm down.

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough research to determine whether these spinners can actually calm people down and help them mentally or if it’s simply a marketing strategy used by companies to get people to buy them.


To conclude, all I can say is enjoy the toy and play with it as much as you want. Whether it can benefit you mentally or not, at least it will keep you entertained for few hours. Let me know what do you think of the fidget spinner? Do you like it or not? If not, then why not? Is it a waste of money or a genius invention? Let us know in the comment section below.


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