It’s fair to say that the humble spring may not always seem to be the most glamorous device in the world, and whilst few people would argue that springs are not essential within society, far less would vehemently state that they are ‘fun’. However, when you start thinking about it, many of our favourite childhood pastimes just wouldn’t be the same without springs. Here are a few products containing springs which are guaranteed to evoke a few fond memories:
The slinky was invented as long ago as the 1940s, and in essence this common toy is just a pre-compressed helical spring. Known for being able to travel down a flight of steps, the slinky has evolved over the years into slightly different forms, including the rainbow plastic variety and the ‘slinky dog’ that was given widespread fame in the famous Pixar movie Toy Story. Considered to be the ‘national toy’ of the USA, this childhood friend can also help professors to simulate the properties of waves to their pupils, so you may well have run into this toy even in the years after your early childhood.
Trampolines help children to while away many happy hours in the back yard, and the success of the trampoline has also resulted in the pastime being adapted into a competitive activity that has even reached Olympic heights. This success is totally down to the tension springs within a trampoline, rather than the fabric, as many people tend to think. Actually, the material bed of the trampoline possesses no elasticity of its own, and the ability to bounce on a trampoline comes solely from the springs that anchor the fabric to the (usually steel) frame. Some unrelated sports (like diving or skiing) also use trampolines to train candidates in aerodynamics, so they are useful as well as fun.
The first rudimentary pogo stick concept was patented in 1891, and ever since the ‘modern’ pogo stick was unveiled in 1920 it has been a favourite childhood toy. Pogo sticks have undergone numerous changes in the subsequent years – most notably in the creation of high performance pogo sticks for the sport of ‘Extreme Pogo’(see right) – but the basic form has always been, and probably always will be, an upright vertical handle with a compression spring at the base. Compression springs allow the stick to bounce when the recoil of the fully compressed coil launches the user into the air; a fact that has sometimes resulted in pogo sticks being considered as potentially dangerous to make use of.
OK, so mattresses are not toys, but relatively few grown adults could hark back to their childhoods without remembering at least a few times when they used their mattress like a trampoline (and were probably then chased away by an angry parent…). A mattress’s ‘springy’ nature comes from coil springs within its core or foundation, and just like in car suspension these springs help to absorb the shock of an impact, meaning that – to the chagrin of many adults – they really are irresistible for small children to bounce on.
As you can see, springs turn up in all sorts of applications, and many of them are very frivolous in nature. Numerous children’s toys in a more general sense make use of springs too, and many childhoods would doubtless be a little less happy without these ubiquitous little devices. Of course, the uses of springs extends far beyond childhood, and at Airedale Springs we are family run spring manufacturers that can fashion you a wide assortment of springs for an even bigger array of applications, so if you have any requirements for springs please don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 01535 643456 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.