Trampolines are comprised of four basic parts: springs, tubing, safety pads, and a jumping mat. Most often, the tubes consist of galvanized steel and are used to create the frame and legs of the trampoline.
Because most trampolines for private homes are used outdoors, the galvanized steel helps to keep the frame from rusting, as well as offering protection from other natural conditions. Springs are usually made by a separate company on order from a trampoline manufacturer.
The safety pads are usually outsourced as well, according to the manufacturer’s specifications, covering the springs and frame and consisting of foam. Vinyl covers and straps are used to attach the pads to the frame. The jumping pads are made of artificial fibers, such as nylon or polyethylene. This woven, heavy fabric is protected to prevent them from fading with outdoor use.
The earliest trampolines may have been used by the Inuit people, who used walrus skin to toss each other into the air. In Europe, this type of blanket-trampolining was recorded in plays and novels of the time; however, such instances were largely forced by mobs on a hapless victim. True trampolining seems to have come into existence with acrobats and the circus. One piece of folklore suggests the device was invented by a trapeze artist known as du Trampolin, who saw the possibilities of a trampoline as a type of safety net, using it both to propel an acrobat and to help secure a landing. Chances are good, though, that du Trampolin didn’t exist; at least, there’s no real record of him.
The first real trampoline was created in the early part of the 20th Century, in 1936, by gymnasts at the University of Iowa. The first trampolines were made out of a piece of canvas attached to an iron frame, using coiled springs to provide the bounce. In 1942, the gymnasts, George Nissen and Larry Griswold, created the first trampoline company, the Griswold-Nissen Trampoline & Tumbling Company. They named it a trampoline for the Spanish word trampolin, which means diving board. Once the first trampolines were built, a new sport was born: trampolining, or as it was then known, rebound tumbling.