About Trampolines

This is much different then the box spring mattress that you sleep on at home, although backyard trampolines are a favourite napping spot for the young and old alike. However, trampolines are not only used for backyard recreation, but for serious gymnastic sports as well.

George Nissen - Inventor of the TrampolineGeorge Nissen developed the first competitive gymnastic trampoline in 1934. Nissen was a diving and gymnastic competitor at the University of Iowa, when he has observed circus performers using a trampoline device in their circus acts.

He experimented with different designs until coming upon the modern day design of canvas attached with grommets on a steel frame. He gave the trampoline its name from the Spanish word “trampolin” which actually mean diving platform in that language. Later in 1942 he started his own company to manufacture trampolines, and the company was called the Griswold-Nissen Trampoline & Tumbling Company, and was based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

However, the trademarked and manufactured trampolines were not called trampolines but they were called rebound tumblers, sparking a new sport named after the device: rebound tumbling. Rebound tumbling is what put trampolines on the sports map, and trampolines are now used in gymnastic events from grade school on up to World Olympic competitions.

Olympic TrampoliningThe Olympic sport of “trampolining” has incorporated high-tech trampolines into game events since 2000, where athletes bounce up to ten meters, twisting and somersaulting as they rebound off the trampolines mat, and on to winning gold, silver or bronze medals in these events.

Today, trampolines come in all shapes and sizes, with mini trampolines used in personal fitness regimes, and some trampolines used in science experiments that induce the feeling of weightlessness on the rebound from the trampolines mat.

What are trampolines and where did they come from?

Not everyone has jumped on one, but more then likely you have seen a trampoline on TV or in a neighbours garden. But where did trampolines come from, and what is a trampoline made of?

The very first trampolines date back to the native American tribe of people called the Inuits, who were know to toss each other in the air, and have them land atop a stretched walrus skin held by other members in the tribe.

But early in recorded European history there is evidence of people jumping on a stretched blanket just as done by the Inuit peoples. While we suspect these folks were using their crude form of trampolines for entertainment (or perhaps ritual ceremony), the use of trampolines has also been life saving, as used by early fire departments that would encourage people to jump from burning buildings onto trampolines held by firemen below.

But what is the difference between the box-spring mattress (used onstage by comedians and on Hollywood movie sets for stunts) and the real genre of trampolines? The definition of a trampoline lies in the fabric and spring construction; a trampoline’s bounce mat – fabric used to bounce on – is not elastic at all, but rigid in nature. The bounce comes from a series of springs attaching the bounce mat to the trampolines frame.

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