December 24, 2008

12 Toys of Christmas: 2 Hulas Hooping

Oh the sweet memories of being entertained by a plastic hoop! I’m not embarrassed to say that this was one of my prized possessions growing up…and still is. For those of you who are not familiar with this amazing phenomenon let this paint a picture for you.

After doing some quick research, I discovered that the hoola (“hula”) hoop has actually been around for thousands of years. Historians say that even Egyptians were known to partake in the hooping. Plastic hoops were first manufactured and sold in Australia, and eventually the founders of the toy company Wham-O saw the potential of producing hoops in the US. Because the company could not patent a product that had been in existence for so long, they decided to modify the name.

Surprisingly, the fun name we all have come to know and love was actually created by American Sailors. While visiting Hawaii, sailors realized the similarity between hula dancers and the movement of hooping. Hence the name Hula hoop!

100 million whirling fanatics owned a Hula-Hoop within its first year in the US market! The fad ran a fast course, but the hula hoop still remains a favorite toy. Dan Rodick, director of sports promotion at Wham-O once said “There is no other product that gives me as much fear and respect for the power mass culture as the hula hoop.”

Contributed by: Ashley Hollingsworth

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