Old Fashioned "Flying Machine". This toy is possibly the world's oldest flying toy! Over 2000 years ago, the Chinese invented a toy of this type called the "Chinese Top." A helicopter-type flying toy called a Penaud, based on the "Chinese Top," was givien to the Wright brothers in 1878 by their father. They became fascinated with the idea of flying. After building kites and bikes, they studied bird flight and experimented with propellers before bulilding their 1903 four-cyclinder engine.
In 1490, Leonardo de Vinci made detailed designs for what he called a "Helix Vetical Take-Off Device" based on the principal found at work with maple spinners and other seed pods. Watch one of these pod fall from a tree and you will see that they spin. The mode for the propeller toy we are most familiar with today was developed in the late nineteeth century in America