Invention Geek – Hula Hoop?

Question from Heather W.:
I just love the hula-hoop. Was there ever a patent for this great game?

Hula Hoop ad,

Hula Hoop ad,via PatentPlaques on Pinterest

Hooping is an ancient form of entertainment with no one person or company actually able to claim they invented the first hula hoop. But, Richard Knerr and Arthur “Spud” Melin of the Wham-O company did reinvent the Hula Hoop in 1958 after hearing how much children in Australia enjoyed playing with bamboo hoops.

Wham-O designed and marketed a bright colored hoop made of a type of plastic called Marlex. On May 13, 1959, Arthur K. Melin applied for a patent for his hoop. He received U.S. Patent Number 3,079,728 on March 5, 1963 for a Hoop Toy.

Knerr and Melin promoted the toy on playgrounds in Southern California. They even gave away free hoops to children. Soon the Hula Hop turned into a fad. Within its first four months on the market, more than 25 million Hula Hoops had been sold at $1.98 each.

View the patent for the Hula Hoop here.