Children find it absolutely amazing when they see a jumping castle. Inflatables are in fact meant to be used by children. There are castles suitable for adults in the U.K. These castles are hardly rented to adults in the U.S.
Inflatables have various nicknames which are most times based on geographical location. In New England for instance, inflatables are called the bounce house which well flows with the reawakening of the hipster culture. The Latinos refer to jumping castles as ‘Brinca Brinca’ which means ‘Jump Jump’. In Western USA mostly in the rural areas, they are referred to as ‘Jolly Jumps’. This version of inflatable castle is however considered obsolete.
Enclosed inflatable castles are globally referred to as ‘moon bounce. Jumping castles can also be called Astrojump, moonwalk and spacewalk. The Southern Californians refer to it as a Closed Inflatable Trampoline (CIT).
In other parts of the world like Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and certain parts of Australia, jumping castles are called ‘bouncy castles’ or inflatable castles’. In other parts of Australia, Arizona, Canada and South Africa, these castles are known as Jumping Castle.
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Jumping castles were originated in 1959 in Shreveport, Louisiana by a mechanical engineer called John Scurlock who carried out experiments using inflatable tennis court covers. Jumping castles are mostly used by children that are up to twelve years of age.
John Scurlock was the first to make inflatable domes, tents and signs. He also invented the air cushion which is still used till date by fire and rescue teams when they need to catch people and even animals from tall buildings, billboards and other similar tall structures. This is in fact his greatest achievement.
The first type of inflatable mattress is the ‘Space Pillow’ which has no sides. It was however modified in 1967 with the addition of a pressurized inflatable top held together by a three-side wall enclosure. This modification led to the name ‘Space Walk’. This name was eventually adopted as the company name.
In 1974, the Jupiter Jump was developed. This had net walls fastened to the inflatable columns giving it better ventilation. This solved the problem of heat on the ‘space walk’ as it was usually terribly hot during summer.
In 1968, Scurlock’s wife, Frances founded the first inflatable rental company with children’s events as its major target. They got their supplies from the custom facility the family had built in 1976.
Their son, Frank Scurlock further expanded the business throughout the U.S by introducing the ‘Space Walk’ and the Inflatable Zoo. In 1986, he also developed the first indoor all-inflatable play park. This was referred to as the ‘Fun Factory’. To add to this, in the early 90s, he made the Aqua Tunnel which was the first commercial inflatable water slide.
All the above information shows that children represent a good market niche. Food is another aspect of the business that is quite profitable. This should awaken the entrepreneur in you.