Who, When and Where Was the Pitching Machine Invented?
For as long as the sport of baseball has been around, so has the innovation of baseball training products. The next level is always out there, and as long as we are competing for it, someone will be innovating the next product that will help us get there.
If you ask someone who invented the pitching machine, depending on who you ask, you may get a different response.
Purely for the love of baseball and the history behind the very products we sell on a day to day basis, we decided to ask ourselves the same question in order to provide you the best possible answer.
Of course, we already know our history, but we decided to write this article to share with you, our customer, the history behind pitching machines.
Who Invented the Pitching Machine?
The first pitching machine was invented by Charles Howard Hinton in the year of 1897 at Princeton University.
Charles Hinton was a mathematics instructor at the University of Princeton when he sought out to design the first prototype of the pitching machine.
According to on Wikipedia source, his first design resembled a catapult. This design, however, failed to meet his expectations and the expectations of the Princeton baseball team. It could not throw accurately and consistently enough.
His next design resembled that of a rifle. According to one source, "“it occurred to [him] that practically whenever men wished to impel a ball with velocity and precision, they drove it out of a tube with powder.”
That's right, Hinton essentially designed a baseball cannon. The pitching machine utilized gun powder, which was unpredictable and dangerous.
According to an article found on Wikipedia, the baseball cannon pitching machine led to several injuries as well as his dismissal from teaching at Princeton.
To this day, there is actually one machine that resembles Hinton's original design, the Zooka pitching machine. Made of cheap plastic, this pitching machine is nowhere near as dangerous as the first baseball pitching machine invented.
Although the first baseball pitching machine was never brought to market and mass produced, Hinton's invention was the first necessary step taken toward the modern day pitching machine.
Who Invented the First Mass Produced Baseball Pitching Machine?
After Hinton's failed invention, there was over 50 years without any innovation with the pitching machine. It wasn't until 1952 that baseball innovator, Paul Giovagnoli, invented the arm style pitching machine, one of the few types of pitching machines that exists on the market today.
Utilizing a simple pitching machine design, Paul's arm style pitching machines used a steel arm to catapult the baseball into the strike zone. His pitching machines achieved the necessary speeds and accuracy and were later brought to market and sold to baseball teams and batting cages all over the country.
These pitching machines are still around today and are known Iron Mike baseball pitching machines. In fact, we sell Iron Mike pitching machines here at Anytime Baseball Supply, and our customers love them.
If you ever go to a batting cage, there's a really good chance that the machine that throws you a strike is an Iron Mike pitching machine.
To learn how pitching machines work or how to use a pitching machine and to learn more about the different types of pitching machines, be sure to check out our blog.
We hope you liked this article as much as we enjoyed writing it. For more about pitching machines, check out our collection of pitching machines or check out our blog post where we talk about the best pitching machines for baseball and softball. And feel free to share this article with friends.