Skip to content

Blue and White English Top


The Eameses’ top collection was put on magnificent display in their short film Tops, which was released in 1969. The 7 ½-minute film features a grand total of 123 tops that spin, skid, and eventually topple across the screen. The action unfolds against a composed score by Elmer Bernstein, whose music is carefully calibrated to create excitement as well as palpable shifts in tone without the help of any narration. Much of the film uses close-up shots to create dizzying frames of the twirling toys, but it also includes wider views of children winding and releasing them. The cast was made up of children and adults representing a wide range of races and ethnicities, emphasizing the Eameses’ interest in the worldwide popularity of this simple toy. When this large wooden top appears in the film, it spins on a parquet floor in front of the trappings of an English parlor, including ornate wallpaper, a potted plant, and a carved wooden chair—this setting cleverly clues in viewers to the top’s English origin.

  • Medium:Wood, paint
  • Dimensions:9 x 4 1/2 in. (22.9 x 11.4 cm)
  • Item:T.2019.2.247.42