The first bouncy castle was designed in 1959 by John Scurlock in Louisiana who was experimenting with inflatable covers for a government request for proposal when he noticed his children enjoyed jumping on the air structure. John was an electrical engineer and liked physics. He was a pioneer of inflatable domes, inflatable tents, inflatable signs and his greatest achievement was the invention of the safety air cushion that is used by fire and rescue departments to catch people jumping from buildings or heights. The first spacewalk manufacturing company was in New Orleans in a leased warehouse that also sewed horse pads. His wife, Frances, started the first inflatable rental company in 1966 and in 1976 they built a custom facility for the production and rental of the products. They marketed the space walks to children's events such as birthday parties, school fairs and company picnics. These original inflatables did not have the enclosure of today's inflatables.

Their son Frank Scurlock expanded their rental concept throughout the United States under the brand names "Space Walk" and "Inflatable Zoo". Frank also founded the first all inflatable indoor play park called "Fun Factory" on Thanks Giving Day 1986 in Metairie Louisiana. A second unit was opened in Memphis Tennessee called "Fun Plex" in 1987. Both locations closed after the value of the property became too great for the operations. The first inflatable was an open top mattress with no sides, called a "Space Pillow". In 1967 a pressurized inflatable top was added, it required two fans and got hot in the summer like a greenhouse. That version was called "Space Walk" and was adopted as the company name.

In 1974, to solve the heat problem, a new product line called "Jupiter Jump" was created that has inflated columns that supported netting walls which allowed the air to pass through. Further enhancements of this style were developed such as a line of castles and animals which are referred to as the "Inflatable Zoo". In the early 1990s, Frank created the first commercial inflatable water slide called the "Aqua Tunnel". Space Walk was the first company to bring an inflatable to the IAAPA convention, Showmen's Club and the American Rental Association.


The 1975 Neiman Marcus catalogue included a closed inflatable trampoline called 'The Moon Walk'. It was designed to increase children's safety.


The surfaces are typically composed of thick, strong PVC or vinyl and nylon, and the castle is inflated using an electric or petrol-powered blower. The principle is one of constant leakage, meaning small punctures are not a problem - a medium-size "bouncy castle" requires a fan with a mechanical output of about two horsepower (consuming around 2 kW electrical power, allowing for the efficiency of the motor).

UK and Australian bouncy castles have specifications calling for fully inflated walls on three sides with an open front and foam "crash mats" to catch children who may jump or fall out of the structure.

Modern moonwalks in the US are typically supported by inflatable columns and enclosed with netting. The netting allows for supervision as adults can see in from all sides.

Another type of home-use inflatable has evolved, with a blower pumping in air continuously. Pores in the seams and material allow air to escape as children play, while the blower continues to inflate the unit. This category has emerged as a response to parents who wish to buy an inflatable for home use.




In 2005, the most severe standards in the construction of an inflatable amusement were adopted nationally in Australia, forming Federal Standard AS3533.4. This was a landmark safety standard bringing the toughest design/construction/operation standards to the inflatable industry of Australia. In 2006 the European Union (EU) followed and introduced similar standards throughout EU called EN14960:2006.

So what are the current rules around the safe use of bouncy castles and other inflatable play equipment?

According to health and safety law, all bouncy castle equipment used "as a slide or for bouncing upon" by members of the public needs to be regularly tested by a competent person.

The inspection needs to be carried out before the bouncy castle is first used. After that, a test is required every year to confirm it remains in safe condition for further hires.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says anyone looking to hire a bouncy castle should ask to see proof that it has had its annual test.

And hiring a bouncy castle that does not conform to British standards means you are taking a risk with the safety of those using it.

Newer Bouncy Castles:

Bouncy castle hire has faded over the years but now with the new style disco bouncy castles it’s become more and more popular again, Disco bouncy castle hire brings back the enjoyment of the once loved bouncy castle and combines disco lights and speakers giving the users everything they could want from a party. brings the best to lead the industry now specialising in this type of castle.

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