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Drink To The Red Solo Cup Creator, Dead At 84

By Stephen Gossett in News on Dec 29, 2016 11:56PM

Flickr / Photo: Arvind Grover

2016 just claimed another cultural icon… or the creator of one, at least. Robert Hulseman, the inventor of the red Solo cup—that ubiquitous staple of everything from high school and college parties to under-furnished starter apartments to my current bag of snow-removal ice—has died.

Hulseman, 84, died last Wednesday in the Chicago suburb of Northfield.

The drinking-vessel visionary came up with his soon-to-be omnipresent design in the 1970s while he was president and CEO of the Solo Cup Company, a business his father founded in 1936 on the South Side of Chicago. Hulseman is also credited with inventing the little paper condiment cups that you overfill with ketchup at fast food joints and the Traveler coffee lid, the Tribune notes.

But his greatest synthesis of form, function and consumer viability was the undoubtedly the red Solo cup, a creation so perfect not even Donald Trump—who, as he does, narcissistically slathered his name on them and upped the price—or Toby Keith—who recorded an ode in 2011 that was nearly as pervasive as its namesake—could dampen its booze-sloshing import. Consider playing a round of beer pong in his honor.