Space hoppers, a forgotten favourite?

Today we look at Space hoppers or for our Atlantic cousins over the pond the “sit and bounce”, its name and instructions, efficient. Described in its wikipedia article as:

 “In practical terms, this is a very inefficient form of locomotion.”

Its not like anyone would travel the alps on them, we think they are more designed for fun or are they?

Triceratops on a space hopper

Triceratops on a space hopper

Design

The Italian Aquilino Cosani is the man we have to thank for the space hopper or “pon pon”. Pon Pon  was its original name due to the sound it makes as it bounces. Aquilino had the idea, in the late 60s, for the space hopper after watching kangaroos, he realised people were always happy when they were jumping around. Made from PVC they soon took off (and came back down again).

Sales

The pon pon was not patented and many companies produced their own versions. In the uk one company, Wemberly, very cleverly got them into Butlins holiday camps and encouraged people to race them. It is estimated they were selling around 200,000 a year! In the US now named the 'Hoppity Hop' they were selling around 300,000 a year.

Triceratops on a space hopper

Triceratops on a space hopper

Tv and Films 

The space hopper in England became synonymous with the times as can be seen in this picture by Finnish Photographer Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen in 1971. It even was featured in an episode of Endeavour to set the time of the Apollo space launch. It literally was hopping in space, well a distant planet in Star Trek as well as in Doctor who. It's not just science fiction, the space hopper has featured in the Goodies and more recently in an episode of friends.

Crossing the Alps

To aid a homeless charity and to highlight how tough it is for homeless people to get a job without a permanent address, Steven Payne space hopped across the alps in 2018. It took him 17 days to travel 76 miles.  A highly admiral use for a space hopper.

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