Volume 1, Issue 2 (Originally Published 5 March 2012)
March 5, 1963 – Hula Hoop Patented
The Sudanese Australian Integrated Learning (SAIL) Program was founded by Matthew and a friend while he was in undergrad. When discussing pro bono work, Matthew was quick to point out that if community legal centres are too busy to roster volunteer law students immediately, “just start your own”. Okay, not necessarily a community legal centre, but a pro bono initiative.
SAIL is an ongoing initiative that Matthew clearly takes great pride in running and contributing to. Most notably he stated that “all the volunteers are there for the right reasons.”
On this day in 1963, Arthur “Spud” Melin, co-founder of Californian toy company Wham-O® Inc, finally secured the US patent for ‘Hoop Toy’ after becoming inspired by a bunch of schoolgirls during a 1948 trip to Australia.
Melin, along with co-founder Richard Knerr, noticed the girls twirling bamboo ‘exercise hoops’ around their waists during a gym class.
Upon their return, they created a plastic version and marketed the ‘Hula Hoop’ (dubbed for its ability to produce the famous dance moves required for the Hawaiian Hula) to playgrounds all around Southern California by enthusiastic demonstration.
Melin attributed the popularity of the toy to its ‘easy mastery’ so long as the user maintained ‘suitable body gyrations’. Once the hoopla died down, Wham- O went on to produce more random stuff that defined our formative years: Silly String® and the 90s grunge favourite, the Hacky Sack®.
Keen to know more? Look up US Patent Number 3,079,728 for proper instructions and more details on how to optimise Hula-Hooping enjoyment.