The Story Behind the Fun

You might think that the earliest versions of the bounce house date back centuries, but inflatable castles are a relatively modern invention.

In 1959, John Tom Scurlock, who was working at NASA applying mathematical concepts to plastics, became excited about his new idea - an inflatable amusement ride he would eventually call the Space Walk.

But these early bouncy castles weren't quite as safe as the modern versions, despite the fact that their invention is closely tied to the creation of the inflatable stunt cushion. Scurlock, of Shreveport in Louisiana, was initially experimenting on creating inflatable covers for flat areas such as tennis courts, and noticed that his colleagues and employees enjoyed jumping around on them, so he decided to market the idea. This means that the first bouncy castles anyone ever jumped on did not contain any walls or roofs, and were just a bouncy base for people to jump on. Thanks to Scurlock's creative mind and entrepreneurial spirit, the bouncy castle was created - and if you've ever wondered why some countries call them the "Moon Walks" or "Space Walks", you can thank Scurlock's connection with NASA!

Scurlock and his wife Frances decided to take a chance with his new idea almost a decade later in 1968 and founded the first inflatable hire companies - amusement ride rental company Space Walk Inc, and Safety Air Cushion Inc, which was targeted at Hollywood stunt men. It was around this point that walls began to be introduced - unfortunately, this made the unit incredibly warm inside, and it was not until 1974 that turrets and netting were introduced.

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