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1333 BC: The Tutankhamuns class chariot
Around 1333 BC The Tutankhamun-class chariot, the earliest high-performance machine was invented. Several elements hint of thoughtful invention. The complex suspension system of springs and shock absorbers had advantages in structural dynamics, ride quality and safety. It's hard to imagine a better chariot made with ancient materials of construction even if we were to apply today's most advanced formulas and methods.
Roman Empire: Leaf Springs
Leaf springs in one form or another have been used since the Romans suspended a two-wheeled vehicle called a Pilentum on elastic wooden poles. The first steel spring put on a vehicle was a single flat plate installed on carriages by the French in the 18th century.
1493: Leonardo da Vinci & the Matchlock pistol.
Some historical experts claim Leonardo da Vinci began work on improving the matchlock pistol around 1493. He designed a spring that would allow a firearm to be triggered with just one hand. Da Vinci enclosed the powder pan and fuse within the firearm, sealing it tightly from the elements. Then he created the wheel lock, a steel wheel attached by a chain to a powerful spring. When the trigger was pulled a spring released the built up tension, forcing the wheel to spin rapidly. Then the wheel strikes a piece of iron pyrite, creating a spark that detonates the powder in the pan. This propelled the ammunition out of the barrel. Da Vinci's weapon was not realized until around the year 1510. The mechanism worked just as he has envisioned. Wheel lock pistols soon became available to whoever could afford one.
1675: Christian Huygens invents the balance spring
In 1675 Christian Huygens invents the balance spring for portable timekeepers at the same time as Robert Hooke claims the same invention and expounds his law - ut tensio sic vis - for the properties of springs.
1763: R. Tradwell received patent No. 792 for the 1st coil spring
In 1763 R. Tredwell was issued the first patent for the coil spring, British patent No. 792. The main advantage of coil springs was that they did not have to be spread apart and be lubricated periodically to keep them from squeaking, as leaf springs did.
1857: The Steel Coil Spring
With the industrial revolution came the steel coil spring. It was first patented in America for use in a chair seat in 1857.
1871: Heinrich Westphal invents the innerspring mattress
Heinrich Westphal was credited with inventing the innerspring mattress in 1871. Heinrich lived in Germany and never profited from his invention dying in poverty.
1897: A. Gimmig invents a crude shock absorber
The first recorded use of a crude shock absorber is the invention by one A. Gimmig in 1897. He attached rubber blocks to the top of each leaf spring.

When the suspension was compressed sufficiently, the rubber bumpers hit bolts that were attached to the frame. Rubber bump stops are still used in many modern suspensions, but their effect on ride control is minimal.
1898: J.M.M Truffault invents the 1st true shock absorbers for racing bikes.
The first true shock absorbers were fitted to a racing bicycle in 1898 by a Frenchman named J. M. M. Truffault. The front fork was suspended on springs, and incorporated a friction device that kept the bike from oscillating constantly. In 1899, an American automobile enthusiast named Edward V. Hartford saw one of Truffault's bikes win a marathon race at Versailles. Hartford immediately recognized the automotive potential of the friction device.
1908: Henry Ford and the leaf spring.
Henry Ford's 1908 Model T Ford featured old-fashioned leaf springs with a novel twist -- he used only one spring at each axle, mounted transversely, instead of one at each wheel. Ford's adaptation of high-strength vanadium steel from a French racing car allowed him to save weight and cut costs in many areas of the Model T without compromising its durability.
1919: George Hansburg Invents the Pogo stick.
George Hansburg patented the first pogo stick in 1919. George was a Illinois baby furniture and toy designer who was asked to improve a design that was being shipped from Germany to the Gimble Brothers Department store. The design was made of wood and had rotted on the journey over to America. Hansburg created an all metal, enclosed-spring pogo stick, and manufactured them in Elmhurst, N.Y factory. This is the pogo stick that children know and love to this day.
1933: Firestone Developed the 1st practical air suspension.
The first practical air suspension was developed by Firestone in 1933 for an experimental car called the Stout-Scarab. This was a rear-engine vehicle that used four rubberized bellows in place of conventional springs. Air was supplied by small compressors attached to each bellow. As you might imagine, the air bag suspension was an expensive setup -- still is, in fact.
1935: George Nissan Invents the Trampoline.
In 1935 while being intrigued by the trapeze artists at the circus, George Nissan concocted the idea for the trampoline. George noticed that the trapeze artists were able to propel themselves in the air and perform stylish moves after falling into safely into the netting. George realized that inventing something that would allow gymnast to perform these same tricks over and over again would be a new phenomenon.
1943: Richard James invented the Slinky.
Richard James was a naval engineer trying to develop a meter designed to monitor horsepower on naval battleships. Richard was working with coil springs when one of the springs fell to the ground. He saw how the spring kept moving after hitting the ground and an idea for a toy was born.

Slinky debuted at Gimbel's Department Store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the 1945 Christmas season and then at the 1946 American Toy Fair. Richard was nervous at the first demonstration of his toy and convinced a friend to attend and buy the first Slinky. However, this turned out to be unnecessary as 400 were sold during the 90 minute Gimbel demonstration.
1984: Alfonso Jaramillo Jr. Invents the Handle Pole Spring.
While riding a Kawasaki Jet Ski for the first time, Alfonso notices the handle pole is to heavy and tiresome. He then goes into development creating the 1st handle pole spring for standup Jet Ski's, thus eliminating 80% of the handle poles weight. By 1985 it becomes the industry standard for all stand-up Jet Ski's.
1992: Alfonso Jaramillo Jr. Receives Patent for Retractable Boarding Step.
Alfonso Jaramillo Jr. was an avid Jet Skier that had experienced many falls into the water. Alfonso had many good inventions for personal watercraft, but it wasn't until 1990 that he came up with the idea of inventing the Retractable Jet Ski boarding step. His invention was an immediate success making it easy to board a jet ski from an in water position. In 1992 he was awarded patent # 5,152,244 for the Step. His invention saved lives and has become the stock equipment for Sea-Doos, Waverunners and Jet Skis. To date there has been over half a million boarding steps sold throughout the world and countless lives saved due to his remarkable invention.
1995: Alvaro Z. Gallegos Invented the Spring Shoe.
From the early 80's Alvaro Z. Gallegos had been a runner for many years and had experienced many of the typical aches and pains associated with running. He realized that the source of his pain was coming from the impact. With this new enlightenment he decided to add a spring to the heel of his shoe. Alvaro experimented with many types of springs before finding the one that worked flawlessly, a three-inch-wide conical steel coil. Over the next few years many prototypes were developed and finally in 1995 Al patented his design and opened the first Z-tech store with his son in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
2003: Alfonso Jaramillo Jr. Invents the Driving Range Golf Ball Retriever.
Alfonso Jaramillo Jr's love for golf and the driving range led him to invent the Power-Loader. It effectively retrieves your golf balls so you can tee-up instantly. The Power Loader picks up 3 golf balls at a time then allows you to place each one on the tee without wasting energy. The invention has saved golfers back's, no longer requiring them to bend down for every ball. This allows them to save their strength for long drives.