History of the Inflatable Bouncer That Is So Popular for Party Rentals

The inflatable bouncer, also called a bouncing castle, bouncy castle or jumping castle, has become a firm favorite for people needing to keep children occupied. They are now a common feature at fairs, amusement parks, church and company functions, restaurants and other eating venues, and backyard parties.

Where did these devices come from and who first used them? There are a few different theories on the origin of the bouncer. The most reliable version seems to be that the first inflatable products intended for amusing children were made in 1959 by John Scurlock, a mechanical engineer from Louisiana. He also had an interest in physics and got the idea for an inflatable device for children to play on by accident, when he was experimenting with inflatable tennis-court covers. He noticed that his employees were having fun jumping on the covers, and the idea grew from there. Scurlock did a lot of work with inflatable products and is also credited with the invention of the safety cushions used by rescue personnel to catch people falling from great heights – when jumping out of a burning building, for example. Another version is that two British students invented an air cushion for jumping on as part of a promotional exercise.

Both of these claims have some merit. It is doubtful, however, that the theory explained in the video clip below is the real origin of the bouncing castle!

Whatever their origin, inflatable bouncers are a lot of fun for kids and can be easily rented to keep them amused for hours on end.