Throughout the 1970s it was not uncommon -- in Britain at least -- to encounter children sitting on a large orangey-brown ball-like object which had snailish horns and a large grinning face: this was the space hopper. Much as kids in the year 2000 will do anything to get hold of a silver scooter, or those in 1981 had to have a Rubik's cube, in the early 70s the space hopper was an essential part of childhood.

The basic idea was to simply sit on the thing and bounce around on it. Unfortunately due to its shape this was nearly impossible, and generally people just ended up sitting on them before making a few feeble attempts at moving, then falling off. Despite some serious research I've been unable to discover who invented these things, or even why. They still occasionally turn up, usually deflated and tatty, at car boot sales or in people's attics.