Former Solo Cup Co. President and Chief Executive Robert Hulseman has died.
USA TODAY

The man who invented the Solo Cup, the pervasive party-starting disposable cup, died last week.

Robert Hulseman died at his Illinois home of health complications following a series of strokes, the Associated Press reported. He served as president and chief executive of the family-run Solo Cup Co., but his invention of the plastic cup — particularly the red ones — is what stands out to many.

The cups were a mainstay — nay, a requirement — at college keggers, beach bangers and pretty much every party. Its ubiquitousness ingrained it into popular culture. The cups even earned the title of a Toby Keith song. People also would poke them through fences to spell out messages, like a teenager who asked out his prom date using the cups.

The AP said the cups were invented in the 1970s and, according to his son Paul Hulseman, “were never intended for keggers.”

His obituary said he started working at the company, which his father began, at age 18. He helped turn it into “one of the largest foodservice packaging companies in the world,” the obituary said.

Aside from the Solo Cup, he also developed the coffee-topping Traveller Lid. He also was a philanthropist, was known for his humor, could dance and had a gift for music. His funeral was Monday in Illinois.

Follow Sean Rossman on Twitter: @SeanRossman

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