From Ohio History Central
James L. Haven and Charles Hettrich in patented the first yo-yo in 1866 (U.S. Patent 59,745 ), under the name whirligig.
James L. Haven was a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio. Little is known of his early life. He eventually formed James L. Haven & Co. in Cincinnati. This firm began operating at least by 1858 and continued to serve the Cincinnati area until at least 1882. The company engaged principally in manufacturing farming machinery. It was one of the largest and leading iron foundries in the United States.
Haven is best known as holding the first patent in the United States of America for the modern-day Yo-Yo. Haven and Charles Hettrich, whose last name is also sometimes spelled Hittrick or Hettick, received the patent on November 20, 1866. Haven and Hettrich called their version of the Yo-Yo the whirligig.
Haven also briefly participated in politics, representing Cincinnati in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1874 to 1876.