Very few people don’t know what a trampoline is these days. Throughout the 20th century, and especially in the past decade, trampolines have been gaining popularity, as more and more children started nagging their parents to get them one; and is it really a surprise why?
Trampolines are quite possibly some of the most enjoyable leisure devices ever built. They basically consist of a piece of strong fabric stretched around a sturdy frame, and uses lots of springs that allow people to bounce on it and even do various tricks and acrobatics. Who can resist such fun?
A Short History of Trampolines
So, you want to know all about trampolines. The best way to do that is to start at the beginning, which means going back to their origins. Sounds boring? Well, you can think of it more as going back in time than seeing it as a history lesson.
If you want to see the earliest trampoline models ever, you can go way back around the late 19th century. In 1887, the first life nets – which looked very much like modern day trampolines -were invented and used by firemen to save people jumping out of burning buildings and houses.
While, at first (as it usually happens), such devices were mostly used for practical purposes, by the early 20th century, circuses were already using a type of bouncing bed for entertaining purposes.
The first actual trampolines appeared around the 1930s and 1940s. By 1942, the first trampoline manufacturers were already busy building the devices for commercial use (back then they were called “rebound tumblers”) and around the early 1960s, commercial “trampoline parks” were already gaining in popularity, as over the following decades, the sport became more and more well-known and loved by people of all ages.
Today, trampolines come in all shapes and sizes, and it is not uncommon to find some well-built recreational models in an average household garden. Children and teenagers are the biggest fans of these whacky inventions, but professional gymnasts also use top class competitive trampolines in many important international sporting events.
Now, don’t think that just because they look simple, it’s easy to build trampolines. Quite on the contrary, manufacturers have to take a lot of factors into account, such as the sturdiness of the materials used, the quality of the design and the size of the device, as well as the number of springs used.
Competition trampolines, such as those used in sporting events, are mostly fitted with strong frames made of steel or galvanized metals. The same metals are used for constructing the springs, as well.
The mat is usually made of a type of waterproof canvas material that can withstand shocks and stress, while also protecting the user from the springs. The size of a trampoline is especially important in the case of sporting competitions, as they have to follow certain standards (they generally come in sizes of 7′ x 14′, 6′ x 12′ or 5′ x 10′).
Home and recreational trampolines are built similarly, but with more flexibility and less emphasis when it comes to durability. They are also less expensive as a result, although you may want to steer clear of the ones that are “suspiciously” cheap.
The standard size for a recreational trampoline is 10 x 14 feet, and these are either used for exercise or sheer fun. They come in more shapes and sizes than competitive models, the smallest rebounder trampolines being as small as 2’x2’.
The Uses of Trampolines
Now that we managed to figure out how these contraptions are made, let’s see what we could use them for. Everyone knows the most common uses, which are backyard play and competitive sports, but there are a few other interesting uses that most people don’t know about.
Aeronautical training is one of them, many experts considering trampolines to be a perfect tool for maintaining the physical well-being of pilots and naval aviation cadets. Also used for physical training are mini trampolines, which are considered to be great for strengthening and toning the body as a low-impact exercise.
A slightly crazier and less popular (but not less fun!) sport played with trampolines is called slamball. This is basically a contact sport, somewhat similar to basketball, except that it is played on trampolines.
Now, it’s true that these creative uses were not discovered all at once, but it’s still quite amazing to see how many things can be done using a simple trampoline. If you haven’t been living in a cave for the past few decades, you probably know a lot about trampolines already. Still, it’s always a great idea to try to find out more about these amazing devices before you consider buying one.
By getting to know all about trampolines, you can make sure that your kids (and your entire family, as well) can get the sturdiest, most comfortable and most enjoyable model available on the market.Be Sociable, Share!