When The World Went Ga-Ga Over The Hoop
A Simple Idea That Changed The World
Who would’ve thought that a giant, plastic circle could become an insanely popular toy lasting for over five decades? With $45 million in sales to date, I can bet you either owned this toy, played with it before, or was like me – and never really knew how to “work” the large ring.
Can you guess what I’m talking about?
If the hula-hoop came to your mind, you’re correct, and were probably able to tell from the title of and pictures in this post.
The hula-hoop is easily one of the most recognizable toys out there. Give it to any person of age and they’ll immediate know what to do, even if they don’t know how to do it.
Patented precisely 58 years ago, but marketed a few years before then, the Hula-Hoop ® was invented by Richard Knerr and Arthur “Spud” Melin of Wham-O. The circular toy, made out of plastic tubing, reportedly sold 25 million during its first four months of production.
The duo’s inspiration for the hula-hoop came from seeing Australian kids twirl a wooden hoop around their waist during gym class. (That sounds slightly painful.)
But the hula-hoop, as we know it, existed long before then. Reports claim Ancient Greeks used it as a form of exercise and to tone their stomachs — they just didn’t have a name for it back then.
In fact, hooping has become a serious form of exercise for many adults in the U.S. today. It boasts benefits for your body, which works out 30 core muscles.
Personally, I burned more calories figuring out how to use the hula-hoop properly, so I’ll be sticking to the gym until further notice. But I guess you can say the hula-hoop, and all its uses, has come full circle? Pun intended.
You see, my fellow inventors, that’s the innovative wonder about the ideas you bring to life; they can sometimes reinvent themselves.
The hula-hoop, which is notoriously known as a children’s toy, is now just as commonly used with adults to burn calories, shed inches, and improve balance. It’s like the circle of an invention’s life.
Okay, I’m done with the puns!
Here at The Patent Professor, we decided to celebrate the patent of the hula-hoop the best way we know how — hula-hooping.
Yes, in addition to birthdays, holidays, and clients’ wins, we also love to celebrate inventions that made huge impacts on the world!
You can watch the team and I decked out in suits, dress shirts and blouses, rocking the hula-hoop! Though, I wonder if it’s still considered hula hooping if you twirl it around your neck.
Needless to say, that’s just one of the things you can expect to find here at our law office – a team that has fun together. We genuinely enjoy what we do, and it shows (maybe too much).
My clients are some of the most creative, innovative beings I’ve ever met, and when they choose to work with me, it’s because they can sense the same energy with our office staff. When you bring me your idea, you can count on someone who’s going to believe in you and fight with you.
“Now John, do you really think something as simple as a hula-hoop would do as well today as it did back then?” you may be wondering. And my answer is, “absolutely!”
If you’ve been following me and some of my articles, you know that I often comment on how some of the best inventions are the ones that can solve everyday annoyances.
But, as the hula-hoop, and many other inventions, prove, some designs can be created for the sake of being fun!
Here’s a little hula-hoop trivia, provided by ThoughtCo.com
- There was a time in Japan when the hula-hoop was banned because it seemed indecent.
- Ashrita Furman, of America, set the world record for the largest Hula Hoop (by circumference) spun at 51.5 feet on June 1, 2007.
Let this be a reminder that if you’re twirling your hair, unsure about an invention because it’s not complex or groundbreaking, you’re wonderfully mistaken on how inventions work.
It may have seemed like the hula-hoop was just an abnormally large circle, but it was different, fun, and challenging. It was enough to keep kids outside competing with their friends and learning new tricks for decades!
Back then, I’m sure the inventors received questions about their idea and talked to people who disagreed with them. That’s also why I recommend you keep your plan on the hush as a safety measure, and so you’re not met with doubters.
If you have an idea I hope you stay the course, and who knows, maybe one day my office staff and I will celebrate your invention!
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I’m John Rizvi, a board-certified patent attorney and adjunct professor with over 25 years of experience.
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