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8 brilliant, everyday things invented by kids

By: Melissa Breyer on May 19, 2014, 4:06 p.m.
Trampoline - kid inventors

Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

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In 1930, inspired by the nets used in high-wire circus acts, 16-year-old gymnast George Nissen cobbled together a rectangular steel frame and a canvas sheet in his parents’ garage in an effort to create a bouncy version of the net. He called it a bouncing rig. He perfected it over the years and had his "aha" moment in 1937 after hearing the Spanish word for diving board: el trampolin. He added an “e” and registered “Trampoline” as a trademark, and spent his long life promoting both the apparatus and the sport. In 2000, trampolining was added to the Olympics roster; in the 2008 Summer Olympics, Nessen was given the honor of testing out the equipment before the Games began. He died in 2010 at the age of 96.