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The inventor of the red solo cup, Robert Leo Hulseman, has died at the age of 84

The vessel is an enduring icon of Americana

Christopher Hooton
Friday 30 December 2016 12:10 GMT

2016 has claimed another hero, albeit an unsung one.

Hard-drinking college kids everywhere owe a debt of gratitude to a devoted Christian from Scottsdale, Arizona, who died peacefully surrounded by family shortly before Christmas.

Robert Leo Hulseman - Bob to those who knew him - was described as “a gentleman who demonstrated class at all turns” in an obituary, and an “industry pioneer” who developed the now ubiquitous Red Solo Cup.

The iconic apple red drinking vessels became synonymous with American house parties, frat parties, barbecues and tailgates - simple, utilitarian but also multi-purpose, being used in countless games of beer pong and flip cup and unlikely to disappear anytime soon. The cups became such a staple that they’ve been used in pretty much every film that depicts a modern college party.

Red Solo Cups in American Pie (1999)

The Solo Cup Company is a family business that was started by Hulseman’s father. Starting off in the factory, Bob eventually rose to become president and CEO before his retirement.

Though he wasn’t partial to a keg stand himself, being devoutly religious, his family are proud of his major part in the proliferation of an icon of Americana.

If you’re drinking from a Red Solo this New Year’s Eve, pour a sip out of for Bob.

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