Baby rattles are an old woodturner’s trick. Also called captive rings, the rattle is turned from one piece of wood: the beads are turned first, sanded, then undercut to free them on the central post. The center is smoothed where the rings had been, and finally the ends are finished. In one of my woodturning books there is a picture of a pre-christian goblet with a captive ring on the stem of the goblet, so, most likely, since there have been lathes, woodturners have enjoyed hearing people ask “How’d you get them on there?”
Here’s a short video of one of my baby rattles in action.
When Nancy and I were first married, her mom, Freddie Trovillion, who got invited to a lot of baby showers, would buy these by the dozen. No one ever had the same gift as she had and she got to tell everyone that it had been hand made by her son in law. When Nancy and I went to Florida for Christmas she would ask for her dozen baby rattles before we even got into the house.