The first ever hoppity hop / retro space hopper was called PON-PON, and was the invention of an Italian who was called Aquilino Cosani. And was based at Ledragomma, Italy.
In 1968 Cosani patented the PON-PON in Italy, and in 1969 was introduced to the United Kingdom through an advert putin the Cambridge Evening News paper. Cosani patented the PON-PON in 1971 in the United States of America. The USA already had a space hopper type toy that people used to bounce on, and this toy was created by the Sun company, and was called Hoppity Hop. All hoppers of this type are called Hoppity Hop or Hippity Hop these days, which was due to the popularity of the earliest hopper distributed and produced by the Sun company.
In the Britain the Space Hopper (UK name) was distributed and produced by Mettoy, which was later to become Mettoy-Corgi. Another company created a different version of the bouncing ball, but this ball had handles that were smooth for the rider to hold, whereas the earliest had opted for ribbed handles for better grip. The other company was called Wembley.
Initially the Space Hoppers were made up of a handle in the shape of a ring on the top of the space hopper type toy which was gripped by the rider for stability, and they were constructed from rubber. These toys were supplied in a choice of just a couple of colors, either red or blue. Sun created themed versions of their Hoppity Hop during the 1970s, which had a hard plastic head fixed to the ball in the shape of some favorite fictional character. A couple of the popular fictional characters used were Micky Mouse and Donald Duck.
The hoppity hop / space hopper was very popular during the 60s and 70s, with a resurgence of interest in the UK during the 1990s, thanks to the rave culture of the time, where the balls were recognised asa neccessary part of the scene. In the United States of America due to an incursion of competition by foreign creators of the toy the Hoppity Hop’s popularity severely faltered and finally the production of the north American version of the bouncy ball came to a halt.
Initially the USA version of the hopper, known as the Hoppity Hop, was aimed at both adults and children, but due to the limited size of the biggest version, it was not really useable by adults except for those close to a kid in size.
Europe of the 1990s brought a version of the bouncy ball went by the name of the Hop, and was created by the Italian company Ledragomma. These were created from a well-liked ball used for exercise at the time called Gymnic exercise balls. These hoppers had a maximum size of 26 inches..
Modern day retro space hoppers – Sizes for adultshave become very popular in later year and can be found in sizes of 120cm, 100cm, and 80cm. They are commonly more robust than the original balls, having much thicker skins
and as a rule built from vinyl rather than rubber.