The history of companies is built by many short stories; some boring, some not. We’re going to try and tell the not-so-boring ones (in our humble opinion) about Katy Spring & Mfg., Inc.; a company in Katy Texas that started with a conversation that ended something like this; “Why not.”
These are the stories about Katy Spring, small bits of a bigger story that started in 1999. The stories are still unfolding new chapters every day, thanks to our wonderful customers. It’s written for our customers and future customers so that they can get to know our company, our employees, some historical background and philosophy a little better.
The stories are not told in chronological order. This blog is more of a “Readers Digest” about Katy Spring, written in whatever random order they appear. So without further ado, let’s get started with the next read which is titled; “The History of the Pogo Stick”
Every spring that Katy Spring manufactures was part of an invention at one time. That’s why Katy Spring treats every inquiry with respect.
With the number of inventors that we are approached with yearly, Katy Spring does have a system to help potential customers find what they’re looking for, whether it’s from Katy Spring or not. It’s tough to determine which products will succeed and which ones will not, so we treat all projects as if they have good potential. Which brings me to the Pogo Stick.
George Hansburg patented the first pogo stick in America in 1919 at the request of Gimble’s Department Store. It seems that Gimbles had ordered a batch of pogo sticks from Germany, but the toys rotted in the dampness of the ship during the long voyage to America. Gimble’s contacted Hansburg and requested that he produce a similar toy but one that would hold up in a variety of conditions.
Hansburg did as he was asked and patented the modern pogo stick. He began producing the toy from his manufacturing facility in Ellenville, New York, where they continue to be made even today.
Pogo sticks became increasingly popular during the twenties. In fact, George Hansburg taught the dancers of the Zeigfeld Follies how to use the pogo stick, and that created a new use for the pogo stick. Dancers and chorus lines throughout the country begane utilizing pogo sticks in their shows and routines. People found more ways to include pogo sticks in their activities. Even weddings were performed on pogo sticks.
It wasn’t too long before people were trying to break one another’s pogo records, with jumping contests and official contests.
After World War II, in 1947, Hansburg developed a new kind of pogo stick out of metal. The spring lasted much longer than the prior design, so Hansburg named the updated pogo stick the Master Pogo. This pogo stick became the company’s best seller and remains the best-selling pogo stick today.
Although pogos never again reached the popularity that they had in the 1920s, they never totally went away either. In the 1970s, George Hansburg sold his company to local businessman Irwin Arginisky. Other companies have tried to make pogo sticks that equal Hansurg’s sticks in quality and desirability but none ever quite achieved the success of the original pogo stick.
There have been many attempts to set records with the pogo stick over the years since its invention. Some of the records that were made decades ago have yet to be broken. Some of the world records are:
· Ashrita Furman of Jamaica set a distance record of 23.11 miles in just under 12½ hours
· The record for the most consecutive jumps is held by Gary Stewart. He had 177,737 consecutive jumps in 1990. He was on the pogo stick for a total of 20 hours and 20 minutes
· The highest pogo stick jump was achieved by Fred Grzybowski at eight feet.
The history of the pogo stick isn’t very complete, and there are a lot of details that will always be unknown. What is known is that pogo sticks have given countless hours of enjoyment to the young and young at heart for decades. It is one of those old fashioned toys that will always be in style.