What’s a Pogo Stick?

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The pogo stick was invented in 1919 by George Hansburg, with the initial design made of wood by Pohlmann and Goppel. The metal pogo stick was later developed to avoid issues with wood. The toy has gone in and out of fashion, with new designs allowing for higher jumps. To use the pogo stick, balance and timing are required. The Guinness World Record for distance and consecutive jumps were set in 1997 and 1980, respectively. Safety equipment, such as a helmet, is recommended.

The pogo stick, which is an inflatable toy, was developed by George Hansburg in 1919, according to some. Pohlmann and Goppel first made the design, which was initially made of wood. The first two letters of each manufacturer’s name make up the Pogo name.
Pohlmann and Goppel exported pogo sticks to countries such as the UK and the US, where popular department store Gimble’s first carried them. Early exports were faulty because the wood warped or rotted on its way to the United States. Hansburg redesigned the metal pogo stick to avoid problems arising from the use of wood. Most people are more familiar with the metal pogo stick styles made today.

The first pogo sticks were used by children, as well as men and women. The Great Ziegfeld taught his dancers how to use them on stage. In fact, the 1920s were the height of the pogo stick’s allure, though the toy has gone back and forth in fashion ever since, with interest peaking throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries. The newly developed pogo sticks have improved its bounce and can create huge leaps of several feet in the air with each bounce.

The traditional metal pogo stick looks like a long vertical bar with a T-handle that the user can hold on to. Further down the bar, towards the ground, the stick has two footrests on either side of the stick. Below the footpegs, the pogo stick bar continues but adds a coil spring around the bottom of the straight bar. This allows the user to move the footpegs by jumping. The bottom of the stick also features a capped rubber or plastic end, so jumping will result in an easier landing.

To use the pogo stick, you must achieve both balance and timing. When both feet have pushed the footpegs and coil spring all the way down, the spring can be released by the user who jumps slightly. While most beginners can perform a jump, some proficiency is required to jump multiple times consecutively. It can be even more challenging with new pogo stick styles, which allow the user to bounce several feet instead of a few inches in the air with each release of the springs. If you can get the hang of it, it can be a lot of fun, and even fun to watch someone else try to learn how to do it!

The pogo stick soon inspired people to set the Guinness World Record for distance covered or consecutive jumps. In 1997, Ashrita Furman set and still holds the record for longest distance traveled on a pogo stick. In 12 hours and 21 minutes, Furman jumped 23.10 miles (37.18 km). In 1980, Gary Stewart set the current world record for most consecutive jumps on a pogo stick. In 20 hours and 20 minutes, Stewart jumped 177,737 times.

For safety’s sake, even if you’re not planning on breaking a pogo stick record, you should wear a helmet. It can hurt to fall backwards or forwards from a pogo stick. Safety equipment is especially important when using newer high-rebound models like the Flybar®.

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