The Eskimos, who tossed one another in the air on walrus skins, have the honor of introducing the world to the fun of trampolining. George Nissen and Larry Griswold, two men from the University of Iowa, constructed the first modern trampoline. Though their contraption was made of canvas, today's trampolines -- used for flight and athletic training, exercise, hurricane barriers, catamarans and play --- are fabricated from a strong, man-made polymer.
Most of the trampoline mats you see gymnasts use or watch children bounce on in neighborhood backyards are constructed of a fabric made by Royal Ten Cate, a 300-year-old company in the Netherlands. The division that fabricates the trampoline material is TenCate Industrial Fabrics.
The material, called TenCate Permatron is the No. 1 trampoline mat fabric in the world. It is a man-made polypropylene that is woven with carbon fibers. Though it looks as though it stretches, trampoline material does not. TenCate Permatron Trampoline Fabric, sold in linear yards up to 165 inches wide, uses fibers that are thermally interlocked and UV treated so they flex without tearing, and the trampoline material won't break down in the sun.
Frame and Springs
A trampoline's frame, according to Happy Trampoline, is the most important part of the apparatus. The frame is made from various gauges of galvanized steel piping and is welded together. Holding the trampoline to the frame are heavy-duty springs. The size of the spring depends on the size of the trampoline.
Under the trampoline mat is trampoline padding, made of 1/2-inch to 1-inch vinyl and polyethylene foam. The padding protects users from hitting the trampoline springs or frame.