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The History of Pool Noodles

Pool noodles are an icon of summertime, but did you know that these water toys have quite the complicated history? Two men claim credit for inventing the pool noodle. The first is Steve Hartman, a Canadian who went into business with his father making backer rods (foam tubes used in construction projects). Hartman added color to the foam tubes and began marketing them as pool toys. Canadian Tire sold the product at a very low price and they quickly gained popularity in Canada in the late ‘80s. By the mid-1990s, they were popular in the United States as well. However, another Canadian named Richard Koster claims that he was the first to invent the pool noodle. His product is called the Water Woggle and it was created after Koster worked on a project developing a pull buoy for assisting swimmers in 1986. Koster used tape to make his pool noodles colorful and by 1987, his Water Woggles were being sold throughout North America. However, neither man patented their design, so other companies now produce pool noodles, too.

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