Let’s Toast The Inventor Of The Solo Cup, Who Died Last Week

Image courtesy of Joshua Derr

The red plastic Solo cup has become an American icon of… well, people mostly associate the product with drinking booze at parties. The inventor of the product claimed that he originally intended the product for picnics, and his favorite color of cup was blue.

Robert Hulseman’s father founded the Solo Cup Co. in 1936, and it remained a family business until its sale to Dart Industries in 2012. Hulseman invented what would become the company’s signature cup in the ’70s, as a complement to the company’s selection of plastic and paper dishware.

His children even helped him choose the original colors. While the most common current colors are red and blue, it also came in peach and yellow when the product debuted.

There’s a common legend that the lines on the side indicate the serving sizes for liquor, wine, and beer. The company insists that this is not true, even putting out a handy graphic showing other possible uses that you could have for measurements of one, five, and 12 ounces.


Robert Hulseman died at his home in Illinois after a series of strokes. He was 84 years old, and worked for his family’s company for 60 years, serving as president and CEO. He also helped to invent Solo’s plastic lids for coffee cups and other hot beverages.

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