Monday, April 6, 2009

Hula Hoops Make American debut April 1958

In April 1958, Americans were lining up outside department stores waiting for the latest delivery of Hula-Hoops. The craze lasted only a few months. By September the manufacturer, Wham-O, was stuck with millions of unsold hoops. Wham-O soon came back, marketing the Frisbee, to which they had bought rights in 1957. Other Wham-O products were less successful. Who now remembers the Wham-O Do-it-Yourself Bomb Shelter Kit, or the Wham-O Instant Fish (consisting of dried fish eggs and some mud to grow them in)? But in the annals of entrepreneurship, and for their contributions to the world's stock of harmless pleasure, the men who brought us the Hula-Hoop and the Frisbee deserve high honors. Wham-O was founded by Arthur Melin and Richard Knerr. Melin died in 2002; Knerr, just this past January 14. R.I.P., and thanks for the fun.


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