Although American George B. Hansburg (1888-1975) is generally credited with inventing the pogo stick in 1909 and patenting his design in 1919, pogo sticks were being manufactured in Germany before 1919, although the designer and producer is unknown. Indeed, the origins of the pogo stick are somewhat mysterious and even Hansburg spun a tall tale about the inspiration behind his pogo stick.
Two Tall Tales
Hansburg claimed that his inspiration for the "pogo stick" came from a visit to Burma (now Myanmar) where he met a farmer who had made a wood and spring contraption for his daughter Pogo. A 1922 issue of Popular Science Monthly claimed that pogo sticks were invented by a blacksmith in the Transylvanian village of Pogo in the 1700s. Interestingly, both stories claimed that the pogo stick was invented so that people could cross muddy areas without getting their feet dirty or wet.
Hansburg's company SBI Enterprises supplied Gimbel Brothers stores with the "Master Pogo," which sparked a pogo craze in the 1920s. Hansburg even taught the chorus dancers of the Ziegfield Follies how to pogo. In 1957, Hansburg added a two-handled pogo stick to his invention's mutations. In the 1970s, Hansburg sold SBI Enterprises to Irwin Arginsky. The company continues to produce a range of pogo sticks.
Powered Pogo Sticks
In the 1950s, inventor R.J. Mays patented a pogo stick powered by an internal combustion engine and in 2001, Carlton Calvin invented the air-powered pogo stick.
- Popular Science Monthly: Pogo Stick Invented to Hop Across Stream
- The Montreal Gazette: Pogo Stick Inventor Dies
- Time: Two-Handed Pogo Stick
- Popular Culture 1920 -1939; Jane Bingham
- The 1920s; Kathleen Morgan Drowne and Patrick Huber
- Time: Best Inventions of 2001: Air Powered Pogo Stick
- Science 2.0: Powered Pogo Stick Research Progress
- Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images