Rolling hoops: The coolest toys around in the Victorian era

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Rolling hoops
Below is an article published in 1961, reminiscing about the super-popular toys that were around for generations oh so long ago: rolling hoops and sticks.

Do you remember?

by Helen T Bartschat

Rolling hoops

There are the days we have been waiting for; the corner of the calendar that we’ve been yearning to turn. The bright sunshiney days that come now and then seem to have a special shine on them. The robins and many other birds are singing, the buds on tree and bush are budding and now the farmers are expecting the swallows to come very soon. They will return quietly and some morning they will just be here as though they had never left last fall, gracefully flying about the eaves of the barn, or old chimney places.


The boys and girls have been out on their bicycles having a grand time, that is when the day is bright. They are willing to put them up when a cold rain comes or a brief snow squall. They know now that it won’t be long now until spring will be here in all its beauty, to stay.

Rolling hoops

Rolling ones hoop was a pleasure to boys and girls in this time of year when we were kids. In almost every generation hoop rolling has been a fad and one that will get rid of an excess of energy in both boys and girls. Do you remember the old metal hoop with a handle fastened to it? Almost every boy owned one of these, and in the wintertime, it hung in the old summer kitchen or in the woodshed. The small wooden hoops were usually rolled by the girls, using a small paddle to roll them along.

Rolling hoops

Hoops on brick walks

Do you remember how the heavy metal hoops sounded as they were rolled over the old uneven brick walks? Some lighter ones were prized possessions of the girls. The blacksmiths of town always got orders early in the springtime for these metal hoops. Do you remember the light, hollow sound of the little wooden hoops? They were usually stays off small kegs. As the season rolls on, there will be another fad or sport appear. The fall time is the time for rolling hoops also, and they will be hunted up again.

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Rolling hoops has always been fun, good exercise, real pleasure. The fresh air, stimulating exercise of every muscle in the body combine in building good health.

The hula hoop

Do you remember how popular the hula hoop was about three years ago? The craze hit the adults as well as the youngsters and just everyone seemed to be gyrating, winding, bumping, and whooping it up with the varicolored hoops. The joyful trek to the store to buy them never lagged for a moment after they were put on the market.

Came from California

It is said that the first of this novelty appeared in California and the crazy just traveled at a terrific rate of speed all over the country. That summer we saw them by the thousands and thousands on every counter in the New England States from Maine to Cape Cod, while on a motor trip. At first, they brought $2.00 each, but after some months they were a fourth of that price. However, some of them were better hoops and one gets just what he pays for.

Didn’t last long

But like rolling hoops, walking on home-made stilts and other crazes of yesteryear and which are coming back again, the pretty hula hoops didn’t remain popular for long. It was an enjoyable fad for a time and now we don’t see it. Later under a London dateline, we read that the hula hoop craze had spread across the Atlantic ocean and that the latest in London was a new hairstyle, “the hoop.” It was described as an upswept hairdo in the shape of a hoop dyed gray in the center. So what next? Too much of this and milady will have little hair for any hairdo. We can’t say how long the style was followed.

What became of them?

It was really fun to watch the children perform with the pretty little hula hoops. What we are anxious to know now is what became of them.

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Hoop-rolling has never been a lost art but professionals warned adults that hula hoops were for children alone. Unless they are Hawaiian dancers, they should leave the hoops to their children. After many of them were sold to adults, a painful crawl to the doctor was reported. Grownups can’t seem to leave the children’s toys alone. The supple bodies of the youngsters can be twirled about and doubled up in the most grotesque gyrations but adults end up with backaches and the vertebrae of oldsters could be hula-hooped out of alignment.

So just let the youngsters do the gyrating with the hula hoops if they do get popular again, which we expect they will. Old styles and old customs that are worth anything do come back again in time.


Rolling hoops

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