Did you ever wonder about the history of the pogo stick? While there are many legends and rumors, no one really knows where the idea came from.
History of the Pogo Stick Begins with George Hansburg
George Hansburg patented the first pogo stick in America in 1919 at the request of Gimble's Department Store. It seems that Gimbles had ordered a batch of pogo sticks from Germany, but the toys rotted in the dampness of the ship during the long voyage to America. Gimble's contacted Hansburg and requested that he produce a similar toy but one that would hold up in a variety of conditions.
Hansburg did as he was asked and patented the modern pogo stick. He began producing the toy from his facility in Ellenville, New York, where they continue to be made to this day.
The Pogo in the Roaring Twenties
Pogo sticks became increasingly popular during the Roaring Twenties. In fact, George Hansburg taught the dancers of the Zeigfeld Follies how to use the pogo stick, and that created a new venue for the toy. Suddenly dancers and chorus lines throughout the country were utilizing pogo sticks in their shows and routines. People found more ways to include pogo sticks in their activities and even weddings were performed on pogo sticks.
It wasn't too long before people were trying to break one another's pogo feats, with jumping contests and official records.
After World War II, in 1947, Hansburg developed a new kind of pogo stick out of metal. The spring lasted much longer than the prior design, so Hansburg named the updated pogo stick the Master Pogo. This pogo stick became the company's best seller and remains the best selling pogo stick today.
Hansburg Sells Out
Although pogos never again reached the popularity that they had in the 1920s, they never totally went away either. In the 1970s, George Hansburg sold his company to local businessman Irwin Arginisky. Other companies have tried to make pogo sticks that equal Hansurg's sticks in quality and desirability but none ever quite achieved the success of the original pogo stick.
Pogo Stick Records
There have been many attempts to set records with the pogo stick over the years since its invention. Some of the records that were made decades ago have yet to be broken. Some of the world records are:
- Ashrita Furman of Jamaica set a distance record of 23.11 miles in just under 12½ hours
- The record for the most consecutive jumps is held by Gary Stewart. He had 177,737 consecutive jumps in 1990. He was on the pogo stick for a total of 20 hours and 20 minutes
- The highest pogo stick jump was achieved by Fred Grzybowski at eight feet.
The history of the pogo stick isn't very complete, and there are a lot of details that will always be unknown. What is known is that pogo sticks have given countless hours of enjoyment to the young and young at heart for decades. It is one of those old fashioned toys that will always be in style.