Who Really Invented the Pogo Stick?

The invention of the pogo stick is the stuff of legend.
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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.

1 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.

2 SBI Enterprises

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.

3 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.

Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.