Fidget spinners quite possibly originated with an idea by Scott McCoskery of Kitsap County. Now Torqbar is fighting the cheap knockoffs and hoping to carve a niche market for its high-end version.
SUQUAMISH, Kitsap County — In a large, converted 2,000-square-foot garage at the home of Scott McCoskery is where you’ll find what’s possibly the origins of many fidget spinners.
You know the gadgets, the “must-have” toys of the year, the small ball-bearing devices that do nothing but spin between your fingers. Tens of millions of various kinds of fidget spinners have been sold; so many, that teachers tell of facing a classroom full of kids with spinners in their little hands.
McCoskery and his partner in the firm, Paul de Herrera, believe they will prosper, but they’ll have to survive the cheap knockoffs and the short life span of fads.
Right now, the market is flooded with cratefuls of imitations, most from China. Some version of fidget spinners currently occupies all of Amazon’s Top 20 best-selling toys and games; McCoskery’s products are not among them as they can’t compete on price.
Here in the garage, a crew puts together the Torqbar, with its name registered and a patent applied for.
Sales have been “in the many thousands,” says McCoskery, 44, a former disc jockey and IT worker who says he came up with the concept back in 2014.
The Torqbar is an exquisite piece of work that Forbes magazine called “the iPhone of desk toys.” Materials used include titanium, tellurium copper and zirconium, not what you’d find in the knockoffs sometimes made out of plastic that sell for as little as $2.20 each.
The high-end quality costs.
Initially, McCoskery found buyers among people who look for the best and newest gadgets. He sold his first Torqbar in September 2015 online for about $300, and by the next year it was a full-fledged website.
These days, the Torqbar is sold in versions that begin at $139 and can reach $800 for custom-made ones in which the buyer chooses the material and finish on the metal.
“These are people with disposable income. They like very nice things and they want the best of everything, and the exclusivity of something nobody else has,” McCoskery says.
Patrick Lynn, a Los Angeles television producer who used to be with American Idol Productions, is one such buyer. He owns two brass versions that cost $139 and $350.
The Torqbar feels solid in your hands. The metal edges are smoothed out. The ball- bearing assembly makes no noise.
“I love this thing. It’s an amazing piece of engineering,” he says. “My Torqbars spin outward of six minutes each. It’s almost perfectly balanced.”