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History of the Trampoline

History of the Trampoline

The invention and the various uses of the trampoline have bounced around the globe undocumented since the early days of mankind. The first documentation of a trampoline-like concept resides on the walls of historical archaeological drawings that were discovered in ancient China, Egypt and Persia. However, Eskimos are credited with having actually constructed the first “bouncing device” out of Walrus skin and used it for social entertainment; bouncing their friends around. The Walrus skin invention was adopted by firemen and used as a “soft landing” for victims escaping fires in multiple storied buildings. The reemergence of the walrus skin/bouncy device came in 1934 when two gymnasts Nissen and Griswold discovered its use for tumbling and gymnastics They produced the first iron framed canvas taut device that served as a catching board or safety net for gymnast much like tight netting did for trapeze artists. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that Nissen and Griswold developed a think tank, took a trip to Mexico and learned of a new word pronounced “trampoline” and meaning “diving board. It was the perfect assimilation name for their new bouncy device. After a few years of perfecting their production The Griswold-Nissen Trampolining & Tumbling Company started producing their trampoline product for commercial uses.

Trampolines can also be an integral part of fitness – it was vetted and utilized in WW2 military training programs, it was also selected to propel soldier fitness standards at the Navy Aviation training center. The fact that the trampoline has been utilized at the highest level gives credence to it’s ability to kick start the metabolism that starts the fire that serves a catalyst in achieving good health.

I bounced around the idea of getting a trampoline for years until my daughter started gymnastics at 7, by the time she was 10 we had a 17-foot trampoline. She joined competition cheer and the taut bounce of the trampoline worked wonders for training her in the area of tumbling heights. I, too, bounced around on the surface and chanted “throw-back cheers” a time or two and even embarked upon my “fat burning zone” pretty quickly. We’ve since moved and found ourselves purchasing another 17-foot trampoline for our backyard living space for social fun and fitness purposes.

In an age of digital gaming and wi-fi connections it can be hard to transition from your lumbar supportive office chair, chaise lounge or comfy couch to moving around, therefore, the trampoline is fast becoming a domestic staple. If serving no other purpose than to “get you moving,” the trampoline is worth it. You’re worth it. It’s time to open the barbecue pit, dust off the lawn furniture and marinate the meats and veggies. You’ve got a backyard social scene to host and long as you include Nissen and Griswald’s in some capacity on your invite your guest are bound to have a bouncing good time. Thanks to the invention of the trampoline we can add height to any event while staying fit by the default of fun. 

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