Ping pong has had an extensive history as both a parlor game and a sport that not many people know about. Now it might not matter for the tons of people that enjoy it for fun, but for others, it does. Specifically, guys and gals like you, who appreciate the game a lot. Now you might be wondering, who invented ping pong? Why did the sport evolve the way it has? These are some really good questions, and ones we are happy to research and answer for you. With that being said, let’s learn more about the history of ping pong and who invented ping pong!
Who Invented Ping Pong?
Ping pong had its early roots in the 1880s. This was when lawn tennis–the game that eventually became modern tennis–started to be played indoors in the winter months instead of outdoors like they usually did. Consequently, people started messing around and playing different versions of the game. Some of those versions closely resembled table tennis.
Although many believe that it was John Jaques and Son who invented ping pong, that is entirely false. The game that J.Jaques and Son trademarked was Gossima, a full year after an early version of table tennis was introduced.
The first individual who invented ping pong was David Foster, who in 1890 patented Parlour Table Games in England. Parlour Table Games include table versions of lawn tennis, cricket, and football. The table version of lawn tennis included strung rackets, a rubber ball, and nets on each side.
Borrowing from this idea, J.Jaques & Son trademarked Gossima in 1891. The game used drum style rackets, a cork ball, and a high net that was secured under the table with a belt. It was due to Gossima however that the name Ping Pong was used. This was because of the unique sound the ball made when bouncing off the drum racquets. It’s also the catchiest in all honesty.
Other names that Ping Pong was initially marketed under included:
Funny Sounding Names
Sensible Sounding Names
Ping Pong or Gossima
Tennis de Salon
Of course, only the most popular names were used: Ping Pong and Table Tennis. One that was sophisticated and the other filled with zeal. The early versions of the game failed however because of the sporadic ball bounce. Rubber and cork balls just didn’t work out.
A Super Short History of Ping Pong
So you know that table tennis appeared in Britain during the 19th century as a parlor game. The British would play on a dining table using books as the net. They also used books as paddles and used lightweight wood wrapped in thin rubber as the ball.
You know it was marketed as both Parlour Table Games and Gossima or Ping Pong in early versions. Having failed to succeed because of the way the ball bounced, how did ping pong gain popularity again?
The Second Awakening
Since ping pong failed, J.Jaques & Son Ltd. sold the rights of the game to the American company “Parker Brothers”. Coincidentally, it was at the start of the 1900s that celluloid balls were introduced to replace the rubber and cork ones. And it’s a good thing too because these new balls had the perfect bounce which led to the game becoming a huge success. In 1901, E.C. Goode was the individual who invented ping pong paddles made of lightweight wood covered with a sheet of rubber. Similar to the pimple covered rubber paddles we use today.
At this point, the name Gossima was dropped altogether and the name Ping Pong prevailed. The game was also introduced to China in 1901. However, the Ping Pong craze quickly fades around 1904 except for popularity in a few eastern European countries.
In 1922, the game is revived again in Europe and England establishes standard rules in order to have consistent play. It wasn’t until 1926 however that the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was created in Berlin. It was ITTF that established the rules of ping pong that we know today. Of course, the rest is history with some changes in the equipment such as a lower net and a standardized ball size. It was in 2001 however that the number of points needed to win was reduced from 21 to 11. This made the games more exciting and kept TV viewers hooked.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the brief history of ping pong. And whenever someone says that J.Jaques & Son was the team who invented ping pong, you can now give them the real answer.