The Austrian company Mader Kreiselmanufaktur makes many high quality spinning tops. This most unusual somersaulting top was purchased through Grand Illusions in the UK. Tim Rowett of Grand Illusions has made a very useful video showing the strange way in which this top behaves. In 2022 this video was available here. The first interesting thing is that the top will not spin on its sharp point, as most tops will. This one will promptly fall over. It will, however, spin very well on its flatter end. As Tim says, this is not the main trick of the top. The instructions which came with the top explain: ‘Spin the top normally, i.e. with the point downwards, and it will immediately fall on its side. However it will remain spinning, and it will also slowly rotate as it spins on its side. If you reach in and use your fingers to give it a nudge in the opposite direction, it will initially spin the other way, but still on its side, and it will then hop up onto the blunt end and spin happily in that orientation.’ There is a knack in getting this to happen and it is very instructive to watch Tim’s video.

This was a gift from Tim Rowett to John Davenport and other attendees at James Dalgety’s puzzle party on 9 June 2001. The idea is to spin the two ball bearings (which are welded together) on a flat surface, and then speed up the spinning rate by blowing on them using the pipe. The balls can be accelerated to an incredibly high rotational speed. The Hurricane Balls were sold by Grand Illusions with LED torches to create amazing illumination patterns.

Purchased by John Davenport from Tim Rowett (Grand Illusions) at the 2008 International Puzzle Party 28 in Prague. When you tilt the card up and down, the letters G – I move across the card from left to right. Presumably this stands for Grand-Illusions.