Chronology of Inflatables: Who and When
History of Bounce House
Bounce house was first invented by John Scurlock in 1959. The idea of the pioneer inflatable structure had came to John’s mind was because he was then designing a large inflatable tent for tennis court and he saw some of his coworkers were having fun jumping on the air covers for the tennis tent.
The initial bouncers are topless and with no walls and nets like today, it is called space pillow. It has high potential health threats to kids’ safety.
In 1967, enclosed walls and top were added in order to solve the problem of kids falling outside, but it causes another problem, the heat. Because of the inflatable walls and top, temperature in the bounce house heats up quickly, especially in summer. At this time, the bounce house was called space walk, also it was the name of that manufacturing and rental company.
In 1974, modern-like bounce house with inflatable columns and netting was created in order to solve the heat problem. With netting, so a moonwalk allows air to flow through.
Inflatable Rental Company
The very first inflatable bounce house rental business called Space Walk was opened by John’s wife, Frances, in 1968 in New Orleans, LA, USA. They also have another brand name, called inflatable zoo.
What about the company Space Walk now? Do they still in business? Yes, they are still here and provide the top notch inflatable rental services across states, here is their website (here comes fun).
Inflatable Water Slide
Inflatable water slide was invented by John’s son, Frank Scurlock. The exact date of the invention of first commercial inflatable water slide stay unknown, but it was in the early of 1990s. The earliest name of inflatable water slide Frank gave is aqua tunnel.
The earliest zorb ball prototype was invented Gilles Ebersolt, a french architect, in 1977. Gilles wrote a detailed information about his work in below pdf on his website.
Bubble ball was created by Henrik Elvestad and Johan Golden in Norway in 2011.
Air dancer was invented by Peter Minshall for 1996 Summer Olympics, Peter and his artist team started their design from 1995. The original name of this inflatable tube man is tall boy named by Peter.
Inflatable Photo Booth
The inventor of inflatable photo booth is the same company who invented bounce house, the Space Walk. They present the very first inflatable photo booth to market in 2012, according to their website.