Wham-O Founder Passes Away
Richard Knerr June 30, 1925 - January 14, 2008
Richard Knerr, co-founder of Wham-O Inc, passed away Monday at the age of 82 at Methodist Hospital in Arcadia after suffering from a stroke. His business partner, Arthur "Spud" Melin, preceded him in death in 2002.
Wham-O was founded on a slingshot, and together childhood friends Knerr and Melin went on to found an empire. The name Wham-O was onomotopoeia for the sound made when the slingshot hit its mark. The company had a knack for catchy names, starting huge crazes with toys like the Hula Hoop, Hacky Sack, and Slip'n Slide.
All of our childhoods were touched by this man, the pioneer behind Super Balls, Frisbees, Water Wiggles and my personal favorite - SuperElasticBubblePlastic. Knerr was never afraid to try anything new, and according to the LA Times, the approach sometimes resulted in flops, such as the do-it-yourself fallout shelter.
Founded in 1948, Wham-O is now owned by Cornerstone Overseas Investment, based in Hong Kong. (Hoovers.com)
Knerr, who was known to linger in toy stores, told The Times in 1994: "If Spud and I had to say what we contributed, it was fun. But I think this country gave us more than we gave it. It gave us the opportunity to do it." - The LA Times