Invention By Kid : George Nissen (Age 16) – Trampoline

In 1930, at age 16, George Nissen came up with an idea that would revolutionize acrobatics: the trampoline. After seeing trapeze artists finish their routines by dropping into a safety net below, Nissen thought it would be even more exciting if they could somehow keep bouncing around – so he turned his parents’ garage into a workshop and got cracking. His invention consisted of a metal frame with canvas stretched over it, which he christened the “bouncing rig.”

While studying a business degree at the University of Iowa, Nissen continued to perfect his contraption, replacing the canvas with nylon to increase the bounce. He changed the name to “trampoline”, adding an “e” to the Spanish word for “diving board”, and registered it as a trademark. “There was no market for it because nobody has ever seen one,” said Nissen. “I had to demonstrate its worth. And that was always my forte. I like to make new things and then market them.” The late inventor spent his life traveling the world doing trampoline demonstrations and promoting both his invention and the sport. At the age of 92, he could still do a headstand.

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