George Nissen, 1914 – 2010

One of the joys of being a designer is that our work touches the work of many others. We’re not experts in banking, jewelry making, success coaching, contemporary art, women’s rights or any of the industries or concerns with which we interact. Our expertise as communicators is what connects us with experts in a range of other fields. In making these connections we are temporarily thrust in unfamiliar ecosystems of nomenclature, history and heroes.

We’re currently working with a client who is building an indoor trampoline park in the Presidio — somewhat off our beaten path to be sure. It is only because we are currently immersed in their world that I learned this week of the passing of George Nissen, the man who, in the 1930s, invented the trampoline (although he initially called it a “bouncy rig.”

His Boston Globe obituary tells the story of how he went about creating the then ground-breaking bouncy rig, how a trip to Mexico inspired the trademark Trampoline, and how his gift of Russia’s first Trampoline resulted in some bittersweet irony some 50 years later.