PomsPoms.com Reveals History of Cheerleading Staple
Pom poms are a feature of cheerleading that have become universally known and virtually synonymous with the sport. But what was the origin of this cheerleading staple? To understand where and how pom poms originated, we must look back to the 1950s and to the man who was at the forefront of cheerleading as it was evolving into a sport, Lawrence “Herkie” Herkimer.
“Herkie” first received his inspiration for the pom poms in 1940 while watching the World’s Fair on television. His inability to follow the batons while they were flying through the air sparked his idea that attaching streamers to the batons would not only make them more visible and easy to follow, but would also make them ideally suited to cheerleading. With the advent of color television in 1953, Herkie concerned himself with creating a product that would be appropriate for the audience’s new manner of viewing. Originally, the pom pom began as a “stick” to which crepe paper strips in a variety of colors were attached. This original design was copyrighted by Herkie and was further developed and improved by his brother-in-law, Jim Hazlewood. Hazlewood introduced a more efficient method of production for the pom pom by inventing a pom pom machine that mechanized the paper-cutting step, creating perfectly sized crepe paper streamers. In September 17, 1968, Herkie filed for a patent for his pom poms, which he was granted on February 2, 1971, and which named him as the product’s inventor.
Although the product was initially dubbed pom poms by Herkie, he later changed the name to pom pons after discovering that the original name had a negative connotation in Hawaii.
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