Iowan Created This Fun Fitness Toy 77 Years Ago This Week
What is it about trampolines? Seemingly every child wants one at some point in time. We had one in our backyard many years ago that the kids enjoyed for a couple of years. Now one of my daughters wants me to buy another one! The trampoline has been popular for decades, and it got its start right here in Iowa 77 years ago this week!
On March 6th, 1945, Cedar Rapids native George Nissen was granted a patent for his invention, the trampoline. SmithsonianMag.org points out that Nissen struggled through several failed prototypes but eventually came up with his device he initially labeled as a "tumbling device". He later settled on trampoline, which is Spanish for diving board. Nissen reportedly got the idea for his trampoline while attending a circus when he was just 16 years old. He wanted to keep trapeze artists bouncing around and to keep moving.
Nissen went on to get over 40 patents on his trampoline, and also saw the sport grow so big it was even added to the Olympic Games in 2000, according to SmithsonianMag.org. Nissen was an amazing athlete, winning three NCAA gymnastic titles at the University of Iowa. His daughter Dian Nissen told SmithsonianMag.org that her father was "very proud of his invention and what it led to".
What it led to is $400 million in annual trampoline sales, and trampoline parks opening around the nation, including here in Cedar Rapids. It led to a fun form of exercise that kids and adults still enjoy today.