The History of Bounce Houses

Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The History of Bounce Houses

In 1959 a man by the name of John Scurlock was watching some of his employees bounce on an inflatable tennis cover he recently designed.
The employees were having so much fun that Scurlock was struck with the idea of an inflatable floor for recreational purposes. Soon Scurlock’s idea progressed and he started a company called “Space Walks.” These Space Walks started out as inflatable mattresses but soon progressed into bounce house type structures with walls and circulating air.

Meanwhile in England some students used Scurlock’s idea to build an inflatable unit for a fund raiser. As the idea spread the word “moonwalk” was commonly used to discribe these inflatable units. Safety regulations were soon passed in the US and UK and the inflatable industry was born.

In 1959 a man named John Scurlock designed an inflatable cover for a tennis court, an idea that would eventually lead to one of the most  popular party accessories available today. He soon noticed that his workers enjoyed jumping with the inflatable covers. John Scurlock a mechanical engineer, then designed and manufactured some inflatable tents, inflatable domes and inflatable signs. He then decided to form a company called Space Walk and made the Space Walks, the first inflatable moonwalk business.

First it was just a large air mattress and decided to add walls. It is nice to know that this invention an ingenious ideas formed the first prototype bounce house and was became a part of our past times.

The Space Walk came first, it was named that way beacause it was made to make people feel that they are walking in the moon. Everyone loves it especially during the 1950′s when the Space Race was made.

The structure of the first bounce house was little more than a large and high inflatable mattress. Walls weren’t added until the late 1960′s and then they were mostly called Moonwalks in the U.S.

If you have ever experience leaving your mattress unattended or even a bed, then you can see your kids are enjoying bounce on them. Their laughs of delight will fill your home for hours as they amuse themselves. However there no guarantee for that coz they may fall down and be hurt. So, why not give yourself a break and let your kids have some fun in buying a bounce house that will keep them safe and entertained.
The History of Inflatables, Bounce Houses Jump Houses and Moonwalks.

Other Interesting Moon Bounce, Jump House and Inflatable Info

Inflatable castles

The name given to such structures varies. They have been marketed with such names as Bounce house, Moon Bounce, Astrojump, Moonwalk, Jolly jump and Spacewalk. The term ‘Jolly Jumps’ is often used to describe the inflatable playground structure in rural areas and some areas in the Western US.

Historically, names for inflatable structures, particularly in the United States, are composed of two, one syllable words. Thus, the popularity of terms such as Bounce House, Moon Bounce, Astrojump, and Moonwalk can be seen. “Bouncy Castle or Inflatable Castle are used in Ireland, the UK, New Zealand and parts of Australia, and Jumping Castles in Arizona, Australia, Canada and South Africa. The term moonwalk has become a generic term for enclosed inflatable trampolines in the US.

Inflatable structures are rented for functions, school and church festivals and village fetes. Although they are aimed at children, adult castles can be hired in the UK. Because of liability concerns, moonwalks are rarely rented to adults in the US.

The growth in popularity of moonwalks has led to an inflatable rental industry which includes inflatable slides, obstacle courses, games, and more. Inflatables are ideal for portable amusements because they are easy to transport and store.


The first inflatable structure was designed in 1959 by John Scurlock in Shreveport, Louisiana who was experimenting with inflatable covers for tennis courts when he noticed his employees enjoyed jumping on the covers. He was a mechanical engineer and liked physics. John was a pioneer of inflatable domes, inflatable tents, inflatable signs and his greatest achievement was the invention of the safety air cushion that is used by fire and rescue departments to catch people jumping from buildings or heights.

The first space walk manufacturing company was in New Orleans in a leased warehouse that also sewed horse pads. His wife Frances started the first inflatable rental company in 1968 and in 1976 they built a custom facility for the production and rental of the products. They marketed the space walks to children’s events such as birthday parties, school fairs and company picnics.

Their son Frank Scurlock expanded their rental concept throughout the United States under the brand name Space Walk and Inflatable Zoo. Frank also founded the first all inflatable indoor play park called Fun Factory on Thanksgiving Day 1986 in Metairie, Louisiana. A second unit was opened in Memphis Tennessee called Fun Plex in 1987. Both locations closed after the value of the property become to great for the operations. The first inflatable was an open top mattress with no sides, called a Space Pillow. In 1967 a pressurized inflatable top was added, it required two fans and got hot in the Summer like a green house. That version was called Space Walk and adopted as the company name.

In 1974, to solve the heat problem, a new product line called Jupiter Jump was created that has inflated columns that supported netting walls which allowed the air to pass through. Further enhancements of this style were developed such as a line of castles and animals which are referred to as the Inflatable Zoo. In the early 1990s Frank created the first commercial inflatable water slide called the Aqua Tunnel. Space Walk was the first company to bring an inflatable to the IAAPA convention, Showmen’s Club and the American Rental Association.


The Discovery Channel television series Some Assemble Required documented the construction of an inflatable bounce house with US based manufacturer Magic Jump Inc. The surfaces are typically composed of thick, strong PVC or vinyl and nylon and the castle is inflated using an electric or petrol-powered blower. The principle is one of constant leakage, meaning small punctures are not a problem – a medium-size “bouncy castle” requires a fan with a mechanical output of about two horsepower (consuming around 2 kW electrical power, allowing for the efficiency of the motor).

UK and Australian bouncy castles have specifications calling for fully inflated walls on three sides with an open front and foam “crash mats” to catch children who may jump or fall out of the structure.

Modern moonwalks in the US are typically supported by inflatable columns and enclosed with netting. The netting allows for supervision as adults can see in from all sides.

Cheaper inflatable structures are usually made of polyester rather than nylon PVC and do not use a blower, instead they are inflated with a pump similar to an airbed. They do not last as long and it is illegal in the UK and USA to hire these out.

Another type of home-use inflatable has evolved, with a blower pumping in air continuously. Pores in the seams and material allow air to escape as kids play, while the blower continues to inflate the unit. This category has emerged as a response to parents who wish to buy an inflatable for home use.