Question from Joyce P.:
I saw a motorized pogo stick on Auction Kings. What can you tell me about this crazy invention?
The owner of a tool and die shop in Elwood, Indiana, Gordon Spitzmesser, invented this pogo stick which was basically a small gasoline motor by combining the barrel of a grease gun with a lawnmower piston. Bouncing pushed the piston in the cylinder, compressing the file and firing a sparkplug which would cause the stick to launch into the air. The average bounce was about 30 inches high.
Spitzmesser applied for a patent on January 10, 1958. He was issued U.S Patent 2,929,459 on March 22, 1960 for a Combustible Gas Powered Pogo Stick.
Chance Manufacturing, an amusement ride manufacturer, purchased the patent rights from Spitzmesser. Chance sold the invention in the 1960’s as the “Hop Rod.” Ultimately, the toy was banned after too many people were injured in accidents involving the hopping stick. Today, there are very few left in existence and I am certainly not rushing to try one out.