The Hula Hoop
Hoop® toy is the most popular American toy ever made. It is a brightly colored hoop of
plastic which is rotated round and round the body by moving the hips. The toy was
introduced by Wham-O Manufacturing in 1958. It cost $1.98, and it was so popular that
stores kept running out. In the first six months, Americans purchased 20 million Hula
Hoop® toys. In 1958, 100 million were sold worldwide. All over the United States, people
held Hula Hoop® contests to see who could spin the longest.
The hoop is an ancient toy. It existed in ancient Egypt,
Greece, and Rome, and in 14th century England. (Of course, they didn't have plastic then.)
Missionaries to Hawaii in
the 1700s, who saw the hula dance there, named the toy the "Hula Hoop®. Though
wildly popular in the U.S., Japan banned the hoops. The Soviet Union said the Hula Hoop®
toy was an example of the "emptiness of American culture."
Wham-O manufactured 20,000 hoops a day at the peak of Hula
The plastic tubing used for all Hula Hoop® toys ever produced
would stretch around the Earth more than five times.