Trampolines are a remarkable invention because they use both gravity and joy and combine them together. By jumping on a trampoline, two things happen; your full body is utilized in balance and your brain releases dopamine in your brain. This dopamine triggers senses in your brain and gives you a sort of exhilaration. So the saying “jump for joy,” is applicable to such contraptions as trampolines.
But how did they come to be? Who made the idea of creating such a simple object? Together we will go through a full history of Trampolines and run down their family all the way to your local Rebounderz.
The first trampoline was created in 1934 by two men named, George Nissen and Larry Griswold. Both men were scholars and athletes at the University of Iowa. They had noticed that trapeze artists had designed a sort of net to catch them after a trick. What interested Nissen and Griswold was the bounce that was created when the performers hit the mat. Immediately Nissen and Griswold began to design their own net, one that would be thicker, stronger, and create a much more prominent bouncing effect. The men fashioned their own invention, one with stretched canvas, springs, and an iron bar to hold it all together. This is how the trampoline was born.
Both Nissan and Griswold were talented gymnasts and saw the potential that could be utilized. Nissen, an accomplished diver at the University of Iowa as well, used the trampoline as a training device. This is how the trampoline got its name. Nissen named it ‘Trampoline’ after the Spanish word trampolin which means ‘diving board.’
Though Nissen and Griswold used their trampoline for their individual gymnast training, they new that the invention could be used to do so much more. Both men then took their trampoline and introduced it to the athletic department. Gymnasts, Divers, and Freestyle Skiers all found a way to use the trampoline and have it benefit their sport. From the University of Iowa, the trampoline soon spread to every major university that had an athletic department.
After all major universities began using trampoline, the United States government also decided that trampolines could be effective in more than one way. The American military used Nissen and Griswold’s trampoline to train airmen during World War II. The invention proved effective in helping the US Navy Flight School train troops to improve their balance and spacial orientation.
It did not take long for the world to see the value in trampolines. NASA soon developed the trampoline as a tool to train astronauts. The trampoline was used to help train astronauts with retention and balance. Of course, astronauts never made it to space until the 1960s, but the trampoline played a crucial role in helping astronauts prepare their bodies.
After the functional uses of trampolines had been discovered, Nissen and Griswold wondered if trampolines could be used for recreational uses. In the early 1960s, indoor trampoline parks first starting popping up across the United States. It could not be denied that bouncing on a trampoline was fun, so businesses began to invest in creating large-scale parks with public trampolines.
As customers grew to enjoy the thrill of the trampoline parks, they soon began to install large trampolines in their backyard. On these trampolines, families could jump together in privacy, without having to share with the general public like at trampoline parks.
The first personal trampolines were very large, big enough that most had to be installed in backyards. However, people that lived in smaller homes or apartments wanted to have the same experience of jumping on a trampoline, but in the comfort of their home. Because of this, the smaller indoor trampoline was born.
The smaller model trampoline soon developed into an exercise tool for people wanting a full body workout, without the hassle of going to the gym. Due to the fact that trampolines are fun and release dopamine when you jump, the struggle of working out is lessened. The personal trampoline created a workout that was both fun and surprisingly effective. Studies have shown that trampolines give benefits in both balance and muscular strength. They also help the lymphatic system and provides health benefits in the heart and lungs.
Trampolines transformed yet again, changing from a training tool to a competitive tool. In 1964, London hosted their first ever competition for trampolining. In that year, a Louisiana PE coach became the first ever US Trampoline Coach. He later went on to train many American champions, including his own daughter, Leigh Hennessy. Years later she was awarded by the Guinness Book of World Records for winning the most trampoline championships.
Since 2000, competitive trampolining has been an official Olympic sport. The sport is currently split in three main divisions: double mini-trampoline, synchronized trampoline, and tumbling. Every country is allowed to have two representatives, one man and one woman. In the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Canadian gymnast, Rosannagh Maclennan won the gold for Women’s Trampoline.
Trampolines have had a long, winding history. It seems as they though they have touched monumental moments in American history, and helped shape how we view recreational time together. Trampolines can be used to be both a tool and toy. However, we at Rebounderz prefer them as toys! Partake in the wonderful history of trampolines and join us for a bounce at your local Florida Rebounderz!