Robert Leo Hulseman, the man who invented the infamous “beer pong” red solo party cup has died last week at the age of 84.
The Solo Cup Company was Hulseman’s family business. His father originally started it in 1936, and Hulseman began working for his father when he was only 18, according to his obit on Legacy.com.
He succeeded his father, becoming CEO of the company in 1980, aiding the company’s growth into one of the largest food packaging companies in the world.
They originally designed “cone-shaped cups”, used in office water coolers. In the 1950’s, as sodas became more popular, the company added a “Wax lining” to the cups.
In 1970’s, they designed the infamous red cup found in all parties around the world.
The material is made up of molded polystyrene. The cups are now known to be the most cost-effective cups for parties.
The cups have also later become blue. However, the red cups are still selling.
“I’ve tested this over and over. Consumers prefer red, and it’s not very close,” a company executive said in 2011. “I think for one thing it’s a neutral color that’s appealing to both men and women.”
The cup has also been featured in the country star Toby Keith’s hit song “Red Solo Cup”:
“Red solo cup you’re more than just plastic. You’re more than amazing you’re more than fantastic. And believe me that I’m not the least bit sarcastic. When I look at you and say. Red solo cup, you’re not just a cup. (No, no, God no). You’re my, you’re my friend. (Friend, friend, friend, life long). Thank you for being my friend.”
The company has also designed other drink-related items, including the Solo Traveler coffee cup lids.