One claim for invention goes to John Scurlock in 1958. Scurlock was a plastics specialist who taught at Tulane University and worked for NASA, and who also later invented the Space Walk safety air cushion, which is used by fire brigades responding to high-rise fires and stunt performers. According to his family, he was inspired in the late 1950s while designing inflatable tent covers for tennis courts. In 1958 he also founded Space Walk Inc. The family business ran an indoor amusement park in the 1980s, The Fun Factory, in Metairie, LA, but transitioned to and today continues to rent heavy-duty inflatables for occasions ranging from county fairs to children’s birthday parties. The idea to rent inflatables for parties is attributed to Scurlock’s wife Frances, who was running a business by 1969.

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