A Brief History of the Inflatable Moonwalk
How the Inflatable Moonwalk Came Through Age
Curious about the origins of a bouncy castle, aka inflatable moonwalk? Here’s all you need to know!
If you’ve been to a children’s party any time between the 1970s and now, then you have most likely come across your fair share of inflatable bouncers.
They made headlines back when they debuted in America in the 1970s, and have since made their way into the lives of families all over the world.
But, jut what is there to know about the history of the inflatable moonwalk? A lot!
Keep reading to find out where it originated (hint: it wasn’t in Australia).
Who Invented the Inflatable Moonwalk?
An American man by the name of John Scurlock is responsible for creating inflatable moonwalks, even though the name (nor the design) didn’t come until a bit later.
In Shreveport, Louisiana Scurlock was working with the US government to create inflatable covers when he realised that his kids loved jumping all over the covers.
Not only were they having fun, but it proved to be a pretty sturdy design that was safe for kids to play on. However, at the time, he didn’t pursue the blow-up castle design just yet.
Scurlock stuck to designing inflatable tents, signs, and air cushions for the US government until a few years later when his wife Frances started the world’s first inflatable rental company in 1966.
This lasted for about ten years until 1976 when the couple built their own warehouse where they could manufacture and rent out inflatable party products.
Just a year before, in 1975, Neiman Marcus, included a moonwalk in their catalogue, and the rest is history.
The blow-up jump house, well, blew up all over the country and quickly spread to other parts of the world.
When their son took over the family business, he began to copyright the actual names and designs of the inflatables, coining the brand names Space Walk and Inflatable Zoo.
What About the Construction of Bounce Houses?
What are bounce houses made of? Great question, and it certainly plays into the overall history of moonwalks.
Originally, indoor blow-up bouncers were made of strong PVC and vinyl or nylon.
Then, an electric-powered blower inflates the castle, water slide, or tent.
In Australia, the requirements are a bit different. The UK and Australian inflatable moonwalks have to have fully inflated walls on at least three sides.
Laws also require that they have an open front and foam mats on the sides to catch children who might fall out. Sometimes there is netting, but back in the 1970s, there definitely wasn’t.
The first commercial inflatable to go up in an American shopping mall was basically a soft inflatable mattress that had no sides on it. This was the “Space Pillow.”
Then, in 1967, the creators added a top and two fans to help mitigate the summer heat. This was the construction of the first “Space Walk.”
However, the fan didn’t help the heat too much and kids and parents alike complained that it was too hot to play inside of the Space Walk.
So, in the 1970s, designers altered the construction again. They decided to create inflatable columns that supported netting walls. This netting wall allowed for much more air to pass through the inflatable.
The result? Happy parents and happy children!
It’s the bounce house construction you’ll most commonly see today. Just take a look at the world’s largest inflatable theme park to see how they use bounce houses.
The Different Types of Inflatables
Nowadays, you have more than enough variety to choose from when picking a style and design for your inflatable.
After the initial design hit the markets in the 1970s and 80s, party rental companies started to capitalise on the trend and began designing various other crazy, fun inflatables for parties and events.
Not only do you have water slides now, but you’ve got interesting designs, such as:
- Ancient Castle Slide
- Batman Car Slide
- Alligator Land Dual Slide
And the list goes on and on.
This is what’s so unique and diverse about inflatable moonwalks in the present day. You can find just about any kind of design you’re looking for, regardless of the event, age, or theme of the event.
Inflatable obstacle courses are a more recent design that has become famous for their use on TV game shows and in other actual competitions.
A junior army training centre can rent a camouflage inflatable obstacle course for a day event, for example. Or, a mum of twins could rent an adrenaline jungle maze for her kids’ birthday party.
The diversity that commercial jumping castles have now is something that began with the first design back in the 1970s.
What’s even better? Now there are inflatable tents just for adults.
What started as a child’s play toy in the 70s has now transformed into a full range of inflatables for adults, ranging from inflatable pubs to cube tents and even inflatable movie screens for nighttime events.
While these are popular for weddings, concerts, sporting events, and more, they’re also great for adults who want to add a little flair to their parties.
However, professional corporate companies also use them now for practical purposes at large events.
Where to Rent a Moonwalk in Australia
The inflatable moonwalk design has truly come full circle. The original design was for the US government, meaning that it was always supposed to be professional.
Then, it hit the markets as a child’s toy. Now, adults can enjoy inflatable bounce houses and tents just as much as their kids do.
Looking for an inflatable moonwalk to add something special to your next party or event?
Here at Australian Inflatables, we specialise in providing you with a wide variety of top-notch inflatables of every kind.
We have inflatable tents, water slides, obstacle courses, castles, and more.
We suggest going all out and opting for an inflatable game while you’re at it too. Browse our selection of inflatable games.
If you don’t see what you’re looking for, then feel free to get in touch with us and let us know what you need. We’ll try to accommodate you as best as possible.