What is a trampoline?

If you look it up in the free dictionary, the term trampoline refers to a strong sheet usually made out of canvas, which is attached to a metal frame using springs, allowing a person to perform either gymnastic or simple jumps.

This device, or gizmo as I like to call it, has evolved a lot over the course of time so the above definition does not do it any justice. It is no longer a simple object, as it now comes in various shapes and sizes, with and without safety enhancements, etc.

Nowadays, the canvas sheet is called bounce mat and it is made out of very strong and resistant woven fabric, though it is not actually the elastic part of the system. Because polypropylene is widely used to manufacture the fabric, this also makes it waterproof.

The elasticity of the rebounder actually comes from the coiled springs that connect the mat to the frame, by storing energy and tension which leads to a jump once it is released.

Early trampoline-like gizmos

History records show that Inuit people used to toss each other in the air with the help of a walrus skin. There are even evidences that in Don Quixote, blankets were used in a similar way for the same purpose and that back in 1887 firemen used to catch people jumping out of burning buildings using a similar canvas.

In the 19th century, it is believed that Circuses used similar devices in their shows but they could have been more like a springboard rather than the ones which are used in present.

If you’d like to buy a trampoline from our days, here are some that are best sellers in their class.


The first records of a more modern shape and build come from the 1930’s when gymnastics performer George Nissen, said that he saw Mexican athletes used such a device to do their tricks. He said that they referred to the object as being a trampolín, which in Spanish means dive-board. This is the moment when the anglicized term was born to be a trademark for the apparatus.

vintage rebounder

Construction and safety aspects of a rebounder

The most common jumpers you can find on the market are circular, followed closely by those in octagonal or rectangular shape. These start from a size of 30 inches in diameter, designed for toddlers, and up to 15-20 feet ones which are built to be used only by one or more adults.

Because they are considered to be dangerous to use, a lot of standards have been put in place so that consumers can prevent any injuries. Among these safety enhancements I would like to mention the foam pads covering the metal frame and poles, the net enclosure which surrounds the rebounder and the use of all sorts of materials for both the frame and springs. You should never put yourself or your children to risk, so it is wiser to spend a bit more on one that has such features.

In today’s terms, trampoline sales are actually buoyant, with numbers increasing year over year. Even though these products are not actually cheap, the activity has a lot of benefits for those practicing it. Not only one can have a lot of fun while using it, but you can also work and tone your body at the same time.

Picture #1 source | picture #2 source | other facts mentioned from Wikipedia.

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