Wooden Hula Hoops were introduced in Australian stores in 1957 after they proved to be a popular exercise tool in schools. Richard P. Knerr and Arthur K. Melvin of Wham-O, a fledgling California toy manufacturer, soon took notice of the Hula Hoop craze and began selling plastic hoops in the United States. Within four months, twenty-five million Hula Hoops had been sold! For the true origin of the Hula Hoop, however, we must delve much deeper in history. Thousands of years ago, children in ancient Egypt were known to play a similar game with large hoops of dried grapevines which they propelled along the ground with a stick or swung around the waist. The word "hula" first became associated with the toy during the 1800s when British sailors visiting the Hawaiian Islands noticed the similar hip motions involved in "hooping" and hula dancing.