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Tag: inflatable castles

The History of Bounce Houses

Inflatable houses, together with inflatable castles, first came into existence in 1959. Prior to this time the concept of a Bounce house for sale did not exist. They were first designed in Shreveport, Louisiana by John Scurlock.

Scurlock was initially experimenting with various kinds of inflatable covers for tennis courts when he noticed that his employees were amusing themselves by jumping and bouncing on top of the covers. Scurlock was an expert on mechanical engineering and loved the concept of physics. He later became a pioneer of creating inflatable tents, inflatable domes and inflatable signs among others. Perhaps Scurlock’s biggest achievement was inventing the safety air cushion, which is now used by fire and rescue departments to catch people falling or jumping from heights or buildings.

An Inflatable House Line

The first to manufacture a line of inflatable houses and space walks was a company in New Orleans. They created their products inside a leased warehouse, which also produced horse pads. Scurlock and his wife, Frances, also opened up the first inflatable rental company in 1968. In 1976, they opened up a custom facility made for renting and producing their inflatable products. The Scurlocks started renting and selling their inflatables to children’s parties, school fairs, and company picnics. However, the very first inflatables did not come with an enclosure, which caused a safety hazard.

Years later, John and Frances’ son, Frank Scurlock, decided to expand his parents’ rental concept throughout the USA. He also trademarked the names “Inflatable Zoo” and “Space Walk”. On Thanksgiving in 1986, Scurlock opened up the very first all-inflatable indoor play park, called “The Fun Factory,” located in Metairie, Louisiana. The following year, he opened up its second branch in Memphis, Tennessee, called “Fun Plex”. Both of them were later closed down after the property’s value became too great for their operating cost.

The Space Pillow

The very first inflatable consisted of an open-top mattress without any sides, which was called a “Space Pillow”. A pressurized inflatable top was soon added, which needed two fans since the surface became scorching hot. However, in 1974 the heat problem was solved when the ‘Jupiter Jump’ bouncer with inflated columns was introduced to the world.

The ‘Jupiter’ also had netting walls that allowed air to pass through.  In the 1990s, Frank built the very first water slide, which was known as the “Aqua Tunnel”. Space Walks also became the very first company to deliver inflatable houses and castles to the American Rental Association and the Showmen’s Club.

Since then, manufacturers continued to add further enhancements as time went on, which is how we arrived at the more modern styles of bounce houses.