The tippe top displays the unexpected behavior of inverting itself when it is spun upon a flat surface. In the process its center of mass rises. Several explanations of this behavior have been offered in the literature. Here, in the light of a historical perspective, physical arguments are presented which support the contention that the influence of sliding friction is the key to the understanding of the top’s behavior. Then, a rigorous analysis of the top’s mechanics is offered, together with computer‐generated solutions of the equations of motion.

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