The term Jacuzzi is often associated with luxury and leisure. On the other hand, Candido Enzo Jacuzzi did not create the whirlpool bath for luxury. In reality, he was inspired to invent it to help his son cope with his illness. What led to the invention of the Jacuzzi?
Candido Jacuzzi created the Jacuzzi to treat his son’s rheumatoid arthritis. Following a strep throat infection, his son developed arthritis, which resulted in constant joint pain. Since then, his son has benefited from hydrotherapy. Jacuzzi designed the J-300 portable water pump for a bath at their home.
The History of Jacuzzi
Candido Jacuzzi was born in the town of Casarza Della Delizia in northeastern Italy. He is the youngest of seven brothers who came to the United States with six sisters early in the century.
The family relocated to Berkeley, California, where they purchased a small machine shop and founded Jacuzzi Brothers Inc. Their first product was the Jacuzzi toothpick. It was an airplane propeller used by the US and its allies in World War I.
The Jacuzzi J-7, a cabin-style monoplane, was designed by the brothers after the war. Following that, a series of submersible pump inventions gave Jacuzzi goods global markets. They led to Jacuzzi factories in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Italy, and the United States. More than 50 of the family’s patents are currently in use in industry in the United States and internationally.
Jacuzzi worked for the family business for almost 40 years, serving as sales manager, general manager, and eventually president.
Kenneth, his 15-month-old son, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1949, and doctors prescribed hydrotherapy. Large communal tubs in hospitals and spas were the only facilities accessible at the time.
Jacuzzi created a pump that could be used in a bathtub. Within a few years, the pump was commercially available, and the Jacuzzi whirlpool baths were being placed in growing numbers, indoors and out, at leisure centers and health clubs, and finally in private homes. (Source: Atlas Obscura)
How was the Jacuzzi First Marketed?
Jacuzzi needed to spread the word about his invention before it could compete in the market. According to freelance journalist Ray Schwartz, the Jacuzzis got their product on Queen for a Day, a daytime TV show that aired from 1956 to 1964 on NBC and ABC. The idea was simple: emcee Jack Bailey would question the female competitors about their bad luck stories and then vote on the most heartbreaking using an applause meter.
The winner was dubbed Queen for a Day and was awarded various rewards, depending on their situation. Every time a queen had a story with a medical component, one of the prizes was a Jacuzzi. The name brand rose to popularity overnight. And because this was a nationally-syndicated show in an era before the internet, a TV show like this could reach 20 million people in a single episode. This was a huge deal, and sales soared as a result.
Jacuzzi passed away in 1986 at the age of 83. Ken still lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he had relocated. While Ken’s name is synonymous with luxury around the world, the Ken who uses a wheelchair lives a life far removed from the rap videos and Bond films where the jacuzzi thrives. (Source: Atlas Obscura)