When were trampolines invented

on October 17, 2023

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Trampolines, with their thrilling bounces and acrobatics, have captured the imaginations of people worldwide. But when and how were trampolines invented? The history of trampolines is a fascinating journey filled with innovation, performance, and even wartime applications. In this article, we will explore the origins and evolution of trampolines, along with the key entities associated with their invention.

The Early Years: George Nissen and Larry Griswold

  • George Nissen: The story of trampolines begins with George Nissen, a gymnast at the University of Iowa. In the 1930s, Nissen, along with his coach Larry Griswold, is credited with developing the first prototype of a trampoline.

  • 1936 Patent: Nissen and Griswold patented their creation in 1936, referring to it as a "tumbling device." This marked the birth of the modern trampoline.

The Origin of the Name: Du Trampolin

  • Du Trampolin: The word "trampoline" has an interesting linguistic history. It originates from the Spanish "trampolín," which means diving board. The term was anglicized and eventually came to describe the bouncing apparatus we know today.

Early Use in Circus and Acrobatics

  • Circus and Acrobatic Performances: Initially, trampolines found their home in circuses and acrobatic performances. These devices allowed performers to execute impressive aerial maneuvers, captivating audiences.

War-Time Application: Training Pilots

  • World War II Influence: During World War II, trampolines took on a new role as tools for training pilots. They were used to improve spatial orientation, balance, and coordination among pilots. This application significantly contributed to the growing popularity of trampolining as a sport.

Evolution of Competitive Trampolining

  • 1940s and 1950s: Competitive trampolining began to gain momentum in the 1940s and 1950s. Organizations like the International Trampoline Federation (FIT) and USA Gymnastics played crucial roles in overseeing the sport's development.

Modern Trampolines: Safety and Innovation

  • Technological Advancements: Modern trampolines have come a long way. They are manufactured with advanced materials, ensuring durability and enhanced bounce.

  • Safety Measures: The trampoline industry has prioritized safety, introducing measures like safety enclosures, padding, and strict guidelines for safe use, minimizing the risk of injuries.

The Rise of Trampoline Parks

  • Trampoline Parks: In recent years, trampoline parks have become a global entertainment trend. These parks offer a wide range of trampolines, foam pits, and other attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Trampolining as an Olympic Sport

  • Olympic Recognition: Trampolining was included as an Olympic sport at the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics, marking its ascent to the world stage. This recognition showcases the incredible acrobatic skills of trampolinists.


The invention of trampolines can be attributed to George Nissen and Larry Griswold, who developed the first modern prototype in the 1930s. Trampolines have come a long way since then, evolving from their early use in circus and wartime pilot training to becoming a recognized Olympic sport. With advancements in safety and design, trampolines have become a beloved activity for people of all ages, offering both recreation and a thrilling sport.