On March 5, 1963, Wham-O’s co-founder, Arthur “Spud” Melin patented the Hula Hoop® (U.S. Patent Number 3,079,728). However, the folks at Wham-O can’t technically claim to be the first to spin hoops around their midsections. For centuries, many cultures have been using hoops for exercise and religious ceremonies. It just so happens that the sock hoppin’ 50’s and the gyrating hips of a king meant the time was right for the toy makers to introduce their hoop en mass to the hip-shaking American youth. The first modern Hula Hoop was first marketed 1958 leading to hundreds of millions of units sold before Wham-O’s patent was even granted.
Interesting Hula Hoop trivia from about.com:
- Japan once banned the hula hoop because the rotating hip action seems indecent;
- On June 4, 2005, Australian Kareena Oates set a Guinness world record for hula hooping – with 100 hoops for three full revolutions;
- 101 hoops were spun by Alesya Goulevich of Belarus on June 11, 2006;
- 105 hoops were spun by Jin Linlin of China on October 28, 2007;
- The world record for the largest Hula Hoop (by circumference) spun was set by American Ashrita Furman at 51.5 feet on June 1, 2007.