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.