For many of us, the first pool that we got to use growing up was an inflatable pool. A “kiddie” pool, if you will. There were some great memories made there. It may have been the location of your first cannonball. Times spent with grandparents or friends. Backyard adventures involving your whole gang of troublemakers.
Your parents likely have pictures of these first pool moments, stashed away in some photo album or scrapbook. Images awaiting the opportunity to provide an embarrassing moment.
Wading pools date back thousands of years. Combining the wading pool with inflatable technologies, however, first started some time in 1940s – we don’t have an actual date. There is, however, an image that shows a ton of kids smashing themselves into a tiny pool if you want a good laugh.
Enter the Production of Doughboy Plastics
In 1947, Doughboy Plastics was created within Domain Industries to create outdoor family recreation products. It was just after World War II, families were being reunited after years apart in some instances, and everyone wanted to have backyard fun. Doughboy was tasked with creating products that would target this market.
Their response? To create a line of beach balls, inflatable toys, and splasher pools that would let families have affordable fun. Back then, an above-ground swimming pool was considered to be a status symbol. You had money if you had a pool. It’s like having a three-car garage today.
Their splasher pools followed their already successful designs, but put them into an affordable pricing categories. You could find them at the local drug store, a five-and-dime, or the general store.
Then Came the Ugliness of Inflatable Pools
Basic pools had about a decade of life in the market. Soon families began to realize that they wanted an inflatable that matched their clothing styles. In the 1960s, that mean having colorful graphics and themes incorporated into the plastic or vinyl designs of the inflatable pool. This was the beginning of what would become the modern inflatable.
This was also the time when inflatable pools began to incorporate added features if you were willing to pay some extra cash. You could add an inflatable water slide, for example, or have a deeper pool that could make a better splash.
Maybe you were one of the lucky few that got one of those inflatable ladders. Those were pretty awesome.
Today’s inflatable pools are very different. We still have kiddie pools for splashing for sure, but there are also pools for adults that can be up to 5 feet in depth and hold tens of thousands of gallons of water. Some are framed so large that they are nearly equal to the size and depth of an in-ground pool.
It’s the new status symbol. Not of wealth, but of relaxation.
Many of these inflatable pools are priced within the budgetary needs of most families. In return, you can offer this generation the same memories we all had growing up. The only difference is that they don’t have to all be smashed together into a pool that’s the size of a dog’s water dish.