How I Started with Amberg

The first time I saw the Trampoline Thing, was at a store opening. I had my kids with me, who were 7 and 10. They both wanted to try it out.  There must have been 40 other kids who wanted to do it also as it took well over an hour to get to the front of the line. I was amazed that everyone was doing such a great job of waiting for their turn.  It was fun to watch the kids in front of us having their turn; they were all having a blast. It didn’t matter whether the kid was young or old, the laughter and screams of delight started as soon as they were strapped in and started to jump.  We went back several times over the course of the opening celebration and that line of kids was always there. My kids always had a great experience and I must admit that when I tried it out I had fun too. While I was waiting, I got to talking to the operators who went around the country to these opening; the seeds of an idea began to form.

After three years of thinking about it I decided to jump in and buy a bungee tramp.  When I went to pick it up and get trained I remember thinking “what in the world have I gotten myself into” It seemed so big and massive. How in the world could I ever run this big yellow metal monster? My first couple events were doing soccer tournaments. I discovered that it was fun watching kids learn to jump and flip. I also gained confidence in running that big yellow monster and gradually decided that I needed to have a few more pieces if I wanted to really get ahead and so Blue Dragon Amusements was born.

From that humble beginning and 10 years I added 20 pieces of equipment and took on all kinds of jobs, birthday parties, company picnics to city festivals. As I neared retirement from my 9-5 job with the Post Office, I felt that I was ready to really take off with the business now that I could give it a more full time attention.

When Dawn with Amberg Entertainments mentioned that she was interested in trying some new adventures and was looking for someone to take on her company we agreed that I could give her customers the great service that she wanted to leave them with.  We worked together most of the 2011 season making sure the transition went well and in October I took total control of the Amberg Entertainment.

So in one fell swoop I grew three times as large as I had been.   Years of working with my children gave them a great learning experience, Eryn was really watching because she really began to shine last year and take on a real interest and part of the company. This year I decided to let her be the voice of the company, I am constantly amazed at how natural she makes all the juggling seem.  But not one to just leave it at that I went out and bought a number of new and exciting products to give all our old and new customers some new fun for the upcoming season. 2012 promises to be a great year and will solidify two great companies into one. Blue Dragon Amusements is still part of my now along with Amberg Entertainment.  I think that a new name is in our future but for now we will concentrate on good service and lots of fun.

Read More

The History of Bounce Houses

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.

History

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.

Construction

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.

Read More

The History of Sno Kones

The History of Sno Kones

The first recorded snow cones were produced by Samuel Bert of Dallas, TX in 1919 at the State Fair of Texas. He created the first ice-crushing snow cone machine in 1920 and sold both snow cones and snow cone machines until his death in 1984.

The first block-style ice shaving machine was patented in 1934 by Ernest Hansen of New Orleans, Louisiana. An immense hit, Hansen’s snow cones set themselves apart because of the difference in consistency: while most snow cones are rough and crunchy in consistency, Hansen’s block shaving machine produced ice flakes the consistency of actual snow. The difference in consistency and surface area of the ice particles allows for significantly different uptake and retention of the flavoring syrup. Because of these differences and as an homage to Ernest’s ingenious method, traditional block ice shavers are often referred to as New Orleans style. Ernest’s family continues to work in the snow cone business to this very day.

Yet another variation of the snow cone originated in Asia, where shaved ice desserts have been popular since the 19th century. When Japanese immigrants came to the Hawaiian islands to work, they brought this confection with them, using hand-operated steel blades to shave the ice in a method very similar to Ernest Hansen’s. The treat quickly became immensely popular throughout the islands, where the tropical temperatures ensured “shaved ice” sold all year. Hawaiian shaved ice cones are known for the ice’s extremely fine–near powdery–consistency, as well as the unusual flavor combinations used: typically, tropical fruit flavored syrups are used, with many variants including a scoop of vanilla ice cream or Japanese azuki, a red, sweet bean.

Tracing back the sno cone’s origin, it is believed that it was invented during the Roman Empire (27 B.C. to A.D. 395). Snow was hauled from the mountaintops to the city, syrup was added and people had flavored snow.

By the late 1800s and early 1900s, when it came to shaving ice or ‘snow’, a wood plane was used. Hand held ice shavers were designed solely to produce sno-balls. Numerous manufacturers were creating such shavers by the late eighteen hundreds. In 1920, Samuel Bert of Dallas, Texas invented a snow cone making machine. A year earlier, he sold shaved ice at the 1919 State Fair of Texas. Ernest Hansen, an inventor from New Orleans, patented the first motorized ice block shaver in 1934. Hansen was helped by his wife who created several flavors of syrup to be added to the shaved ice, which came to be known as “snowballs”. It is said that Hansen was inspired to create his invention due to the popular Italian ice sold from pushcarts in the city. Hansen continued work at the original Hansen’s Sno-Bliz in Uptown New Orleans on Tchoupitoulas Street through 2005. Mrs. Hansen died in late 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina and Mr. Hansen died in March 2006.

Shaving ice or gathering snow and adding flavor has been popular around the world. One variation of the snow cone comes from Asia. When Japanese immigrants came to the Hawaiian islands to work, they brought the snow cone with them, using hand-operated steel blades to shave the ice in a method very similar to Ernest Hansen’s. The treat quickly became immensely popular throughout the islands where the tropical temperatures ensured “shaved ice” sold all year. Hawaiian shaved ice cones are known   for the ice’s extremely fine-near powdery-consistency, as well as the unusual flavor combinations used: typically, tropical fruit flavored syrups are used, with many variants including a scoop of vanilla ice cream or Japanese azuki, a red, sweet bean
In Cuba and many Cuban neighborhoods, snow cones are known as “granizados,” after the Spanish word granizo for hailstones. In Miami neighborhoods, they are often sold in conjunction with other frozen  confections in ice cream trucks and stands throughout the city. A classic Cuban flavoring for granizados is anise, made from extracts of the star anise spice
In Puerto Rico and in many Puerto Rican neighborhoods, snow cones are named “Piragua”, because they are made in pyramid shapes and agua means water in Spanish. Most Puerto Rican snow cone vendors use street snow cone carts instead of fixed stands or kiosks.

In Mexico, Columbia and south Texas, a finely shaved and syrupy ice is called a raspa, or raspado. Raspar is Spanish for “scrape”; hence raspado means, roughly, “scraped ice.” Raspas come in a wide range of fruit flavors and classic Mexican flavors, such as leche (sweetened milk with cinnamon), picocito (lemon and chili powder), chamoy (fruits and chili sauce), cucumber, guanabana, guava, pistachio, tamarind, among others. When these ingredients are combined with fresh fruit it is called cholado

Snow cones from Lebanon are widely known for their religious purposes in Maronite Catholicism. Snow cones are served to children entering their teenage years, prior to their confirmation in the Church. This practice dates back to the early 1960s, and was first began by Father Francis Ephrem Boustany. Today, snow cones are not limited to the Church. They are a popular summertime treat among both Maronites and Muslims.

In the Dominican Republic and many Dominican neighborhoods, snow cones are called “frio frio”. “Frio” is the word for “cold” and is thus named for the cold chills one gets while eating it.

The dessert ice kachang served in Malaysia and Singapore is another form of shaved ice. Ice kachang originally was served with red beans but now includes various fruits and other sweet toppings.

So how do you prefer your sno cone? And what childhood memory do you recall with sno cones? Snow cones have a long history around the world and are most likely to be here for many more years to come.Manufacturefun.com offers a wide range of possibilities for businesses, schools or concessionaires. Visit them online for more information on their popcorn popper, snow cone machines or cotton candy machines.

Read More

The History of Cotton Candy

The History of Cotton Candy

Most would assume that cotton candy came into existence in the late nineteenth century, but that’s not correct. Cotton candy was actually a popular trend in Italy that began in the 1400’s. The old fashioned way of making cotton candy – or spun sugar as it was called – was to melt sugar in a pan and then use a fork to make strings of sugar over an upside down bowl. The sugar would then dry in strings and be served as a dessert. This process of making spun sugar wasn’t practical in the least – especially not for mass production; it was simply too time consuming.

Even centuries later, in the eighteenth century, confectioners were making spun sugar desserts and decorations. Generally it was made by using a utensil of some sort to make threads, creating a “web”. At other times, it was made into threads over an oiled rolling pin. All in all, the technique varied slightly and required different levels of cooking skill, but the end result was nearly always the same. However, due to the amount of skill needed to create these desserts, only the wealthy usually had it. Very rarely did the average person get lucky enough to try some.

Candy makers William Morrison and John C. Wharton corrected these flaws though. In 1897 they created a machine that would melt the sugar and any flavoring and/or coloring and then use centrifugal force to push the melted mixture through a screen to create the strands of sugar. After the strands collect in a pan or bowl, they’re twirled onto a paper or cardboard cone and ready to be served.

Cotton candy made one of its first world debuts in 1900 at the Paris Exposition and then again in 1904 at the St. Louis World Fair. (The Ferris wheel also was one of the highlights of this particular fair, but that’s another story!) At the St. Louis World Fair, Morrison and Wharton sold boxes of “Fairy Floss” for 25 cents a box. Now, back in 1904, this was quite a bit. In fact, a box of Fairy Floss cost half the admission
price to the World Fair. Despite the somewhat high price for the sugary concoction, the duo sold an astonishing 68,655 boxes ($17, 163.75 for those too lazy to do the math). About a year later, one candy store had already purchased a machine and was selling cotton candy for 5-10 cents.

Though it was at time called spun sugar and Fairy Floss, a new name for it emerged around 1920 in America. The name was none other than cotton candy. Although this is the most common name for it, cotton candy still has a few alternative names throughout the world. For example, it is called candy floss in the United Kingdom and is even still called fairy floss in other parts of the world.

By the late 1940’s, Gold Metal had created a machine that would revolutionize the cotton candy industry. Another company changed created an automatic cotton candy machine. Not only did it make cotton candy on a mass scale, but it also packaged it automatically. Thanks to these two major changes, cotton candy can be bought in numerous stores as well as at traditional places such as carnivals and circuses.

While December 7 has come to be National Cotton Candy Day for reasons unknown we suggest that you not wait to celebrate this great holiday. Amberg Entertainments can rent you a cotton candy machine so you can experience the joys of Fairy Floss. We can provide a wide variety of flavors such as the traditional pink Silly Nilly as well as Boo Blue, Pina Colada, Bubble Gum, Banana, Sassy apple and Sour Razzberry.

Read More