2016 only has a few short days to go, but it's not done yet taking beloved icons and cultural figures. Following the untimely deaths of Carrie Fisher, her mother Debbie Reynolds, and pop superstar George Michael over the past week, a different kind of celebrity has also said goodbye to the world leading up to New Year's eve. Robert Leo Hulseman, perhaps best known as the inventor of the Red Solo cup, immortalized in song, movie and television as the go-to party cup, has passed away at the age of 84.
Though you probably don't recognize his name, Robert Leo Hulseman's contributions are just as important to the world of entertainment, partying, maxin' and relaxin and many spring break vacations as other more well known celebrities and Hollywood icons. He has had a cultural impact that is unique, to say the least, but his legacy will live on at many a kegger following his death last week.
CNN brings this sad news, with the man's invention said to be a 'staple at every great party ever'. At this time, it was not disclosed how Robert Leo Hulseman died. The Solo Cup Company is a family business that was started by his father way back in 1936. Hulseman went to work for his dad at the young age of 18. He eventually worked his way up to CEO of the company, and succeeded his father in 1980.
Robert Leo Hulseman helped the company grow into one of the largest food service packaging companies the world. When Solo first started out, they were known for their cone-shaped paper cups that would fit into the office water cooler. In the 1950s, the Illinois-based company began making wax-lined cups as the soda industry experienced a boom. It wasn't until sometime in the 1970s that Hulseman had the idea for his first Red Solo Cup, which has now become an ubiquitous party staple.
The cups are popular for being strong and party-resistant. And they are also easy to mark on, allowing party goers to decorate and name, so not all Red Solo Cups look the same. They are thick, molded polystyrene and many in the industry have called it the 'perfect cup'. They drop, stack, and are easy to dispose of without causing substantial damage to the inviroment. Two things have made them incredibly popular over the years, though. They are cheap. And the red color perfectly hides whatever you may be drinking.
In later years, the Red Solo Cup started coming in a variety of colors, including Blue, Yellow, Green and even Purple. But the Red Solo Cup has been the consistent best seller. A company executive had this to say to Slate back in 2011.
"I've tested this over and over. Consumers prefer red, and it's not very close. I think for one thing it's a neutral color that's appealing to both men and women."
Other company inventions that Robert Leo Hulseman is directly responsible for include Solo Traveler coffee cup lids. It was in 2011 that Country Western superstar Toby Keith debuted his hit single Red Solo Cup, which stands as an ever-lasting ode to the evergreen party staple. We've included the music video here, so we can all remember and honor Robert Leo Hulseman, and the unique contribution he gave to the world of leisure, relaxation and stone cold partying. He may not have cured cancer, but in terms of the world of entertainment, he should be celebrated none the less as we head into the New Year, with New Year's Eve sure to see its fair share of Red Solo Cups passed around as the fireworks and party poppers go off over head.