Trompo

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Trompo

A Trompo or Whipping Top is a toy popular in Latin America much like a top. Its name can vary between countries. In Spain it is known as "peonza" or "trompo". Trompos have a pear-shaped body and are usually made of wood, although new resins and strong plastic materials have also been used.

The trompo seen in this picture is exactly like a top which has been made in Sasebo, Japan for hundreds of years. It is believed that the tops used in Mexico were brought over from Japan. In Japan the name for a top is called a Koma. Most cities in Japan have a particular design for their koma.

A trofeo has a button-shaped tip on top, usually bigger than the tip on which trompo spins, and generally made of the same material as the rest of the body. This tip exists so that the trompo can spin on the metal-made tip when thrown.

Play[edit]

Basic throw

Playing with a trompo consists of throwing the "trompo" and having it spin on the floor. Because of its shape, a trompo spins on its axis and swirls around its conic tip which is usually made of iron or steel. A trompo uses a string wrapped around it to get the necessary spin needed. The player must roll the cord around the trompo from the metallic tip up. The user must then tie the string in a knot on the button-shaped tip before releasing it. When rolling the cord around the trompo it must be done so that the cord is tightly attached to it. The technique for throwing a trompo varies. One end of the cord must be rolled around the player's fingers and with the same hand the trompo must be held with the metallic tip facing upwards.

Championships are held in different Latin American countries, especially in Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Cuba and Nicaragua where it is very popular among children of the middle and lower classes.

In Puerto Rico, one of the ways trompos are played is similar to playing marbles, with trompos being within a circle drawn on sand, the object being to knock them out of the circle, this can be played for keeps or otherwise. Failure to spin or spin within the circle causes your trompo to be added to it and another person has a turn to spin. Frequently, trompos in Puerto Rico and Chile are modified to have a sharper point, where in a game the object can be to split the other players trompo.

José Miguel Agrelot, a Puerto Rican comedian, hosted a long-standing television program, "Encabulla y Vuelve y Tira", whose name described the action of throwing and spinning a trompo. One of his comedic characterizations, mischievous boy Torito Fuertes, was a one-time sponsor of a line of trompos.

A trompo variation can be found in the Philippines where it is called "turumpo" or "trumpo". The Philippine version differs in the tip. The tip is straight and pointed; it usually looks like a nail embedded on a wooden spheroid. The manner of playing is basically the same except that a knot is not tied into the tip before throwing it for the spin.