These Photos Of People Freaking Out Over Hula Hoops Bring Us Back To A Simpler Time

The Hula Hoop was patented 56 years ago this Tuesday.

In 1958, Wham-O founders Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr came up with the crazy idea for a circular hoop made of plastic. As it turned out, the idea was a pretty good one: Wham-O went on to sell 25 million such hoops in the first four months of production. But the company didn’t receive a patent on the invention, now formally known as the Hula Hoop, until March 5, 1963.

Photos from 1958 onward show a much simpler time when a circle of plastic could bring pure joy.

See the photos of people enjoying toy hoops and Hula Hoops below.

Above: Benedictine sisters at the Christ King Convent in Oklahoma City try their hand at the hula hoop craze, Oct. 18, 1958.

Kids hold up toy hoops in San Francisco circa 1958.
Kids hold up toy hoops in San Francisco circa 1958.

  

 

 

11-year-old Ann Evans of Aberdare, Wales, the world toy hoop marathon champion, keeps seven hoops twirling simultaneously, No
11-year-old Ann Evans of Aberdare, Wales, the world toy hoop marathon champion, keeps seven hoops twirling simultaneously, Nov. 17, 1958.

  

 

 

Duke Ellington hoops it up in 1958.
Duke Ellington hoops it up in 1958.

  

 

 

A group of six children play with hoops in a circa-1960s hoop class.
A group of six children play with hoops in a circa-1960s hoop class.

  

 

 

A European woman tries out a toy hoop, circa 1958.
A European woman tries out a toy hoop, circa 1958.

  

 

 

George Washington University cheerleader Anne Sneeringer unsuccessfully attempts to coach Ed Rurbach in the art of spinning a
George Washington University cheerleader Anne Sneeringer unsuccessfully attempts to coach Ed Rurbach in the art of spinning a toy hoop, circa 1958.

  

 

 

Bonnie Manchester demonstrates a hoop in Newport Beach, California, in 1958.
Bonnie Manchester demonstrates a hoop in Newport Beach, California, in 1958.

  

 

 

Hooping in Manchester circa 1959.
Hooping in Manchester circa 1959.

  

 

 

A girl twirls a toy hoop in Chicago sometime in the mid- to late 1960s.
A girl twirls a toy hoop in Chicago sometime in the mid- to late 1960s.

  

 

 

Mimi Jordan, 10, drinks milk and holds a sandwich while hooping.
Mimi Jordan, 10, drinks milk and holds a sandwich while hooping.

  

 

 

National hula hoop champion Sandra Gaylord spins her hoops in 1972, as world professional trampoline champion Judy Johnson do
National hula hoop champion Sandra Gaylord spins her hoops in 1972, as world professional trampoline champion Judy Johnson does her thing using a hoop as well.

   

 

 

A man with a toy hoop he bought at Selfridges in London, 1958.
A man with a toy hoop he bought at Selfridges in London, 1958.

  

 

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