May 21: The Pogo Stick

PogoThe pogo stick had been around in one form or another since the early 1890s, but the modern, two-handled pogo stick was invented by George B. Hansburg of Walker Valley, N.Y. It was on this day in 1957 that Hansburg was issued a patent for that invention.

The earliest proto-pogo stick were spring stilts, created in 1891 by George H. Herrington of Wichita, Kansas. Each small stilt was worn around a user’s foot and featured a compression springs to give wearers a literal spring in their step.  In 1920, German inventors Hans Pohlig and Ernst Gottschall came up with a “spring end hopping stilt” and its believed that the combination of their names led to the word “pogo”.

In 1955, the American Harry Hohberger was awarded a patent for a pogo stick, but this one had a single upright vertical handle. There was one small problem with this design; if you weren’t careful, you could injure your chin on the handle. It seems that Hansburg had noticed this problem, and quickly designed the two-handled model that has now become the standard design for pogo sticks of all shapes and sizes.

The 1950s popularity of the pogo stick inspired Trader Vic to create a Pogo Stick cocktail. This gin based cocktail is sourer than the average Tiki cocktail, so the Trader would typically provide a rock candy swizzle stick to any customer who ordered it so they could sweeten it up if they so desired. Naturally, it’s this stick that gives the drink its name.

Pogo Stick

  • 2 ounces Gin
  • 3/4 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 3/4 ounce grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 ounce lime juice

Blend all ingredients with ice until sufficiently frothy. Pour into an old fashioned glass and add ice if you wish. Garnish with a lime wheel and a rock candy swizzle stick.

Tomorrow: We eat a power pellet.


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