Marty Hoffinger and the Above Ground Pool  

by Pool Builders on 01-12-2012 in Articles

As popular as swimming pools are today, they were very scarce in the years before World War II. At that time, most people could not afford a swimming pool because the only type pool built was the expensive gunite kind.

In an offhanded way, the war was what led to the advent of the above ground pool. Domain Industries, which was the first producer of above ground pools, had a contract with the Army during the war to provide seals for food in cans.

Marty Hoffinger had used some of the early pools in the 1940s, but he was never satisfied with the products available. He perfected his own pool filter in 1945 because there were not any dependable ones manufactured at the time. He started a business called Hoffinger Industries and began to make pool parts.

About the time Hoffinger was creating his filter, Domain Industries was losing some of its business because of the end of the war. Their contract to make seals for K-rations while troops were deployed in other countries was winding down around 1945.When the army boys came home, there wasn't much need for making cans with seals. For a few years, Domain had been producing above ground pools made of galvanized pipe. After the war they began to use their expertise in rubber to make small children's swimming pools and other toys.Hoffinger Industries worked to make the mechanics of the above ground pool better, using many pools that were made by Domain Industries. In 1947, Domain changed the name of their recreational line to Doughboy Plastics. This was in honor of the foot soldiers who were the ones who had eaten K-rations from cans sealed by Domain Industries.It was almost thirty years after Hoffinger built his swimming pool filter that his company acquired Doughboy from Domain Industries. In the years preceding that exchange, the above ground pool had gone from the ugly relative of the expensive pools. Improvements made it more acceptable and a clear choice for the many people who wanted their own place to swim but could not afford concrete in ground swimming facilities.Doughboy Recreational, as the company is now called, became the largest producer worldwide for above ground pools. Marty Hoffinger was instrumental in making the less expensive pools popular because he controlled the product line by making every part at his Doughboy plants. He kept making improvements and running the company until his death in 2010.It isn't quite clear who actually invented the above ground pool; it was probably the result of the efforts of several people. Although Hoffinger did not claim responsibility for the advent of the pool, the above ground variety might not have become acceptable without his influence.

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