The Amazing History of Inflatable Water Slides

Inflatable water slides have become a staple of modern parties and events, whether it’s a work party, a kid’s birthday, or a simple get-together, but where did they come from? You may think the history of inflatable water slides is pretty simple, but in reality, it’s pretty amazing. These bouncy, slick marvels have become an indispensable part of parties across the globe, and with an understanding of their history, you’ll have an even bigger appreciation of the joy they bring.

Ancient Civilizations

While it might initially sound far-fetched, water slides have ancient origins. Through a lot of work, archaeologists traced the origins of these water slides to ancient civilizations like Rome and Egypt. These civilizations, looking for entertainment and leisure, inflated animal skins to use as slides. These ancient people would use these skins to slide into pools, giving them a refreshing and fun way to cool off.

The 1930s

The precursor to today’s beloved inflatable water slides made its debut in the 1930s, thanks to an innovative accident by John Scurlock. Scurlock was an inventor who had a reputation for incredibly creative ideas, and one day, when he was experimenting with tarpaulin sheets, he ended up creating a makeshift slide. These sheets would originally cover tennis courts, but with their size and sleekness, they were perfect for water slides. After his discovery, he continued to work and ended up developing the modern inflatable water slide, which would transform outdoor fun and entertainment for generations to come.

First Commercial Inflatable Water Slide Patent

In 1959, the world discovered the first commercial inflatable water slide. Tom Lochtefeld patented the “Sea-Serpent,” an innovative design of elongated tubes with he connected with a sturdy double-layered nylon tarpaulin. It took only five minutes to inflate this structure, something incredibly amazing for the time.

This marked a significant milestone in the history of inflatable water slides. It was a great source of play and fun for everyone, making the “Sea-Serpent” the go-to source of inflatable water slide fun.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

In the 1970s, the invention of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) marked a turning point in the construction of inflatable water slides. Before this innovation, the standard materials people used weren’t as durable or cost-effective, limiting the popularity of inflatable water slides. Then, with the introduction of PVC and its remarkable resilience and economic feasibility, the industry was never the same.

This advancement made inflatable water slides more accessible and affordable, significantly contributing to their burgeoning popularity during this era. As a result, water parks and backyard parties began featuring these slides more prominently, leading to an explosion in demand and popularity.

Water Parks

PVC changed the inflatable water slide industry, and then it changed even more in the 1980s as water parks began emerging as hot places for water-based fun. These water slides weren’t your typical backyard fare, and their popularity had a major impact on the status of inflatable water slides in popular culture. While many people couldn’t get to water parks, they could go to local fairs with water slides, or they may want water slides for their own backyard. More and more people wanted to have some fun and cool off, and that helped make these slides become a staple of summertime fun.

Commercially Produced Water Slides

In 1991, the European market witnessed the introduction of its first commercially produced inflatable water slide, thanks to the innovative efforts of Bouncing Castles Ltd. This pioneering company would later undergo a transformation to become AJL Manufacturing, signifying its growth and expansion in the industry. Their flagship product, the “Biffy-Bounce,” marked a significant milestone in the inflatable and water slide industry.

It was hugely popular, and it also expanded the reach of inflatable water slides beyond America’s border. These inflatables, like the “Biffy-Bounce,” helped to pave the way for the inflatable water slide industry in Europe and beyond, setting a new standard for outdoor entertainment across the world.

“Water Parks in a Box”

The 1990s wasn’t done, though. This era also saw the introduction of “water parks in a box,” an innovative concept where you could set up and tear down a water slide with ease. This new era of convenience and accessibility made these water attractions boom in popularity, as anyone could create a waterpark in their backyard for occasions big and small, like:

  • Birthday parties
  • Family gatherings
  • Community festivals

These inflatable slides were the choice for adding a splash of excitement to outdoor activities, but it was still only the beginning. The future held a lot of potential for inflatable water slides, and it didn’t take long for developers and inventors to bring that potential to life.

Inflatable Water Parks

Not too long after these “water parks in a box” took off, Wet ‘n’ Wild in Las Vegas introduced the first-ever inflatable water park. This pioneering attraction boasted the world’s longest inflatable water slide, an awe-inspiring structure that stretched over 1,700 feet. This groundbreaking development marked a significant leap forward, merging the traditional fun of water parks with the innovative use of inflatable technology.

It represented a bold venture into previously unexplored territory, setting a new benchmark for water-based fun. These water parks offered a unique experience to visitors and paved the way for future advancements in the design and concept of inflatable water slides.

Water Slide Advancements

Over the years, the evolution of inflatable water slides has been nothing short of remarkable, with significant advancements in both technology and materials. The water slides of today are more advanced than their predecessors, offering more safety and fun. Modern designs include:

  • Obstacle courses
  • Towering slides
  • Interactive splash pools

All ages can have fun with these slides, making them the choice for summer fun. If you want endless hours of entertainment and cooling relief from the heat, invest in an inflatable water slide. Their technology and design have come a long way, and who knows what the future has in store for the next few decades of inflatable water slide fun!

The history of inflatable water slides is amazing, and these ancient novelties have become major modern-day sources of entertainment. There’s a lot to love about the joy and excitement that these inflatable rental water slides bring, and Bouncin Bins is here to help. As your go-to source for anything and everything water slides, we can help you make your event fun and memorable with our extensive selection of water slide rentals!

The Amazing History of Inflatable Water Slides