Humanities › History & Culture History of the Hula Hoop Share Flipboard Email Print Family using hula hoops with RV/ Riser/ Getty Images History & Culture Inventions Famous Inventions Famous Inventors Patents & Trademarks Invention Timelines Computers & The Internet American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Mary Bellis Inventions Expert Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell. our editorial process Mary Bellis Updated November 05, 2019 The hula hoop is an ancient invention; no modern company and no single inventor can claim that they invented the first hula hoop. In fact, the Ancient Greeks often used hooping as a form of exercise. Older hoops have been made from metal, bamboo, wood, grasses, and even vines. However, modern companies "re-invented" their own versions of the hula hoop using unusual materials, for example; plastic hula hoops with added bits of glitter and noisemakers, and hoops that are collapsible. Origins of the Name Hula Hoop Around 1300, hooping came to Great Britain, homemade versions of the toy became very popular. In the early 1800s, British sailors first witnessed hula dancing in the Hawaiian Islands. Hula dancing and hooping look somewhat similar and the name "hula hoop" came together. Wham-O Trademarks and Patents the Hula Hoop Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin founded the Wham-O company, which helped popularize another ancient toy, the frisbee. Knerr and Melin started the Wham-O company from their Los Angeles garage in 1948. The men were marketing a slingshot originally invented for training pet falcons and hawks (it slung meat at the birds). This slingshot was named "Wham-O" because of the sound it made when it hit the target. Wham-O also became the company's name. Wham-O has become the most successful manufacturer of hula hoops in modern times. They trademarked the name Hula Hoop® and started manufacturing the toy out of the new plastic Marlex in 1958. On May 13, 1959, Arthur Melin applied for a patent for his version of the hula hoop. He received U.S. Patent Number 3,079,728 on March 5, 1963, for a Hoop Toy. Twenty million Wham-O hula hoops sold for $1.98 in the first six months. Hula Hoop Trivia Japan once banned the hula hoop because the rotating hip action seems indecent.On June 4, 2005, Australian Kareena Oates set a Guinness world record for hula hooping — with 100 hoops for three full revolutions.101 hoops were spun by Alesya Goulevich of Belarus on June 11, 2006105 hoops were spun by Jin Linlin of China on October 28, 2007.The world record for the largest Hula Hoop (by circumference) spun was set by American Ashrita Furman at 51.5 feet on June 1, 2007.