Moms everywhere have a Canadian woman to thank for keeping their babies happy and temper tantrum-free – Susan Olivia Poole, the inventor of the Jolly Jumper.
Like many inventions, Poole’s idea was born out of necessity and experience – an invention which many mothers throughout the world continue to use to this day.
In 1910, the first of Poole’s seven children – a boy named Joseph was born in Ontario, according to the History Channel.
Being part Ojibway, Poole drew on her ancestor’s parenting practices and customs, and remembered how they carried and soothed their babies.
To do this, Ojibway parents would bundle their baby, hang them from a tree branch and pull on the limb to simulate a bouncing motion.
So Poole made up her own version of the contraption using a cloth diaper, axe handle and steel spring.
Thirty-two years later, Poole and her family uprooted to Vancouver. By this time, Poole had given birth to all seven of her children and had become a grandmother, and continued to use the jumper with her grandchildren, according to the Jolly Jumper website.
However, it wasn’t until 1957 when Poole and her first son Joseph actually patented the invention and began manufacturing the Jolly Jumper at Poole Manufacturing Co. Ltd. In B.C., thus making Poole one of the first Indigenous women to patent an invention.
Today’s Jolly Jumper does not need a tree branch to operate – it can hang from doorways thanks to a clamp, or be suspended by a metal frame.
There are now over 200 items being manufactured under the Jolly Jumper name, including baby accessories, potty trainers, toys, car seats and more, and is sold in retailers across North America and online.
The company is based in Mississauga.
In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, History has unveiled a slate of digital shorts, titled Thank you, Canada, reflecting our historical successes and milestones. They’ll be rolling out from now until Canada Day (July 1).
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