Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Hula Hoop

The hula hoop is a toy hoop that is twirled around the waist, limbs or neck. Invented in 1958 by Ken Vezina and Paul Iria, children and adults around the world have played with hoops, twirling, rolling and throwing them throughout history. Hula hoops for children generally measure approximately 71 centimetres (28 in) in diameter, and those for adults around 1.02 metres (40 in). Traditional materials for hoops include willow, rattan (a flexible and strong vine), grapevines and stiff grasses. Today, they are usually made of plastic tubing. Plastic hula hoops are often filled with rocks or materials which serve as weights to carry the hoop around the body.
Native American Hoop Dance was and is a form of storytelling dance incorporating anywhere from one to 30 hoops as props, which are used to create both static and dynamic shapes, or formations, representing various animals, symbols, and storytelling elements. It is generally performed by a solo dancer with many hoops.
Hula hooping has been a type of exercise and play from as early as the 5th century in ancient Greece. Before it was known and recognized as the common colorful plastic toy (sometimes with water inside the actual hoop), it used to be made of dried up willow, rattan, grapevines, or stiff grasses. Even though the toy has existed for thousands of years, it is often misunderstood as being invented in the 1950s.
In the 13th century in Scotland, hoops were later extended to adult audiences and were popular for recreation and religious ceremonies. According to their medical records from that era, doctors treated and encouraged patients with dislocated backs and heart attack victims to use this winding exercise. Then in the early 19th century, the term “hula” was added to the toy name due to the experiences of some British soldiers who travelled to the Hawaiian Islands. During their stay, the soldiers noticed and realized the resemblance of the movement of the hips with the traditional hula dances to the movements of people that go hooping.
The hoop gained international popularity in the late 1950s when a plastic version was successfully marketed by California's Wham-O toy company. In 1957, Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin, starting with the idea of Australian bamboo "exercise hoops", manufactured 1.06 metre (42 in) hoops with Marlex plastic. With give-aways and national marketing and retailing, a fad was started in July, 1958; twenty-five million plastic hoops were sold in less than four months, and in two years sales reached more than 100 million units. Carlon Products Corporation was one of the first manufacturers of the hula hoop. During the 1950s, when the hula hoop craze swept the country, Carlon was producing more than 50,000 hula hoops per day. The hoop was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York, in 1999.

“I helped Lettie wash this forenoon.  This afternoon, I fixed a set of dump boards on the wagon.  Quite cold today.  Stood at 130 above zero this morning.  Yesterday it thawed a good deal.  This afternoon has been squally.”

“I went to town meeting this forenoon.  This afternoon I finished my dump boards.  Has been a very pleasant day.”

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