Who Created Table Tennis?

Who Created Table Tennis

Table tennis has always been considered a highly competitive game, even in a recreational setting. Variations of the sport have existed for centuries, but table tennis has evolved over time to become the game it is today. Read on to learn about who created the sport of table tennis and when it was invented.


Origins of Table Tennis

Table tennis originated in the United Kingdom in the late 19th century. The first generation of table tennis players belonged to the middle-class Victorian society, who was inspired to create the game after watching lawn tennis, now known as just tennis. The first game was played using a champagne cork as the ball, cigar boxes as paddles, and a stack of books to make a net. At this point, the makeshift game was merely seen as a way to distract the wealthy from work or other life obligations.

In 1890, Englishman David Foster, attracted by the wide appeal the game had garnered in a short amount of time, introduced the first game of table tennis on an actual table. Seven years following Foster’s innovation, table tennis held its first national championship tournament in Hungary. In 1901, following a trip to the United States, James Gibb brought back the first version of a celluloid ball, which was much lighter than the rubber ball that was used during competitions before this. In 1902, E.C. Gould brought back the first model of paddles featuring rubber ridged dots on both sides. 

Who Created Table Tennis?

David Foster had a monumental role in elevating the game of table tennis to where it is today, but he is not credited as the sole inventor of the game. After Foster held his first game of table tennis in 1890, others created alternative versions to Foster’s original concept. In 1891, game makers John Jaques & Sons came up with a table tennis variant called “gossima.” Gossima is similar to table tennis but uses slightly different equipment. Regardless of their different equipment, both variations had a difficult time finding success in growing the reach of their game. The issue mainly stemmed from gossima’s cork ball’s inability to bounce and Foster’s rubber balls bouncing too much, which messed up the pace of the game. This problem was ultimately solved with the introduction of celluloid balls. In 1900, Jaques & Son invented the game called ping pong, which eventually was recognized as the main variation of table tennis and trademarked its name.

Modern Table Tennis

After ping pong was trademarked by Jaques & Son in 1900, the game has grown on a global scale ever since. In 1926, ping pong got its first official set of rules, following the formation of the International Table Tennis Federation. Seven years later, the US Table Tennis Federation, now called the USA Table Tennis, was created in 1933. Over the years, new rules were put into place, and the equipment used in table tennis changed to enhance the overall experience of playing the game. Since 1988, table tennis has been played in the Summer Olympics. There are also numerous pro tours held by the ITTF and USATT featuring the best table tennis players in the world.

FAQ

Who invented table tennis?

Although David Foster brought together the first game of table tennis, the title of who invented table tennis goes to John Jaques & Sons, who trademarked the name “Ping-Pong” in 1900.

Who is the father of table tennis?

The father of table tennis is David Foster. Foster organized the first-ever game of table tennis, which used a champagne cork as the ball, cigar boxes as paddles, and a stack of books as a net. Although the first variation of the game is nowhere near how the game looks today, he still organized the first-ever game of table tennis, a sport that has grown to an international scale today.

What was the first ball used in table tennis?

The first-ever variation of a table tennis ball was actually a champagne cork. People would hit the cork using cigar boxes over a small stack of books. Eventually, rubber balls were introduced, which often bounced too high and made it more difficult for players to maintain rallies. Celluloid balls were used for over 80 years after being introduced in 1901. However, as of 2014, the ITTF began promoting plastic balls, which are mainly used today as the official table tennis ball.