Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Last Bounce

Regular readers of The Garlic know that we pay attention to, and often, riff, on obituaries.

We've had some good ones, such as Stockholm Opera conducter, Sixten Ehrling, Marcel Marceau, Ingmar Bergman, and Baseball pitcher, Don Nottebart.

Today, we add another - George Nissen, the inventor of the trampoline.

I suppose we could riff that they will double-somersault the casket into the grave, or, that the final epitaph would be "BOING!"

We don't know if there is some ritual, or ceremonial platitude, they would give someone who invented the trampoline, so, we'll call it "The Last Bounce'

George Nissen, Father of the Trampoline, Dies at 96

One by one, the trapeze artists topped off their routines by dropping from their high-swinging bars into the net stretched below, then rebounding into somersaults, to the roar of the crowd at the traveling circus in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And one child in the stands began to wonder: Hey, what if there was a contraption that made it possible to keep on bouncing and flipping?

George Nissen, 16, who was a member of the high school gymnastics and diving teams, was soon tinkering in his parents’ garage, strapping together a rectangular steel frame and a canvas sheet. Though not as springy as he had hoped, he called it a bouncing rig. That was in 1930.


Then, in 1937, Mr. Nissen and two friends formed a traveling acrobatics act called the Three Leonardos and began performing across the Midwest and Texas and then in Mexico. It was there that he heard the Spanish word for diving board, el trampolin.


Mr. Nissen, who devoted his life to promoting and manufacturing the trampoline, once renting a kangaroo to bounce with him in Central Park, died last Wednesday at a hospital near his home in San Diego. He was 96.

“And at the banquet before the competition he would do a handstand,” Mr. Normile said. “It became a tradition.”


“The last time I saw him there was in 2006,” Mr. Normile continued. “He did one of those kind of yoga headstands where you’re on your head and elbows. That was only four years ago; he was 92.”

Dwight Normile for International Gymnast Magazine: Trampoline Inventor George Nissen Passes Away

Inventer of the Week Archive - George Nissen

Fascinating facts about the invention of Trampoline by George Nissen in 1935

No comments: