Olivia Poole (1889-1975) proves the old adage that “necessity is the mother of invention.”
In the early 1950s, Olivia was a mother of seven young children, and at her wits end trying to keep the baby happily occupied. One day, she remembered something she had seen as a young girl growing up on the White Earth Indian Reservation in Minnesota. There, traditional cradle boards were suspended from tree branches by leather straps, letting babies bounce contentedly.
Olivia rigged up her own contraption from fabric, and a soft-action coiled spring specially made for her by a blacksmith, and an axe handle for the spreader bar. She called it a Jolly Jumper.
Olivia and her husband started manufacturing the Jolly Jumper after they moved to British Columbia in 1942. Then, with her son Joseph, she obtained a patent for her invention in 1954, and started the Poole Manufacturing Co. Ltd. This Canadian invention is still being produced today in Mississauga, Ontario. Since it first came on the market, parents around the world have used the Jolly Jumper to quiet and entertain babies, providing parents with a much-needed moment of peace.