I treasure the day that I passed down my beautiful bouncing Pogo Stick to my little sister because (I admit) it gave me the smallest glint of pleasure watching her fail bounce – at all! My sweet little sister fell like a rock every time she hopped on those pastel footpads (oops!). This isn’t to say I was a jumping champion but it was comforting to discover I wasn’t the only uncoordinated Pogo Stick enthusiast.
It’s hard to believe that such a simple toy has survived for so many years with a constantly budding fan base. Here is some history of the Pogo Stick from Pogostickusa.com:
The legend behind the inspired design of the Pogo Stick goes like this – American George Hansburg, while on holiday, came across a poor Burmese farmer with a very devout daughter who couldn’t attend temple each day because she had no shoes and the road to temple was long and rocky. The farmer decided to build a wooden jumping stick so that she could hop to temple without ever touching the ground. Hansburg, inspired by the farmer, crafted his own jumping stick when he returned home, but with an addition of a spring. He named his creation the “Pogo Stick.”
Regardless of his true inspiration, Hansburg patented his “Pogo Stick” in 1919. Shortly after production began, Pogo Sticks were promptly imported by the Gimble Brothers Department Store. Unfortunately, the wooden sticks rotted on the “wet ship ride,” prompting the Gimble Brothers to ask Hansburg to produce a more resilient Pogo Stick. The upgraded version of the stick was called the “Master Pogo,” the very version we know and love to this day. (The Pogo Stick has also expanded to include a junior version for younger jump enthusiasts).
Pogo Stick business boomed in the 1920s because if you couldn’t dance the jitterbug, you could at least jump on a stick with both feet (though it’s still easier said than done). The popularity of this classic toy expanded even further to include “the New York Hippodrome chorus girls [performing] entire shows in them, marriage vows exchanged on them, [holding] jumping competitions, and [setting] and re-setting world records for most consecutive jumps.”
While the record for the most consecutive jumps on a Pogo Stick is probably the best known Pogo Stick-related World Record, my favorite is a little lesser known – the longest distance jumped on a Pogo Stick. According to the Guinness World Record website, “Ashrita Furman of Jamaica, New York, USA set a distance record of 37.18 km (23.11 miles) in 12 hours 27 min on June 22, 1997 at Queensborough Community College Track, New York, USA.” And here I thought the most exciting thing to do on a track was run – I was clearly mistaken!
“Pogo Stick History.” Pogostickusa.com. September 25, 2009. http://www.pogostickusa.com/history.htm
“Pogo Stick Jumping Distance.” Guinness World Records. September 25, 2009. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records/amazing_feats/marathon_efforts/pogo_stick_jumping_-_distance.aspx