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Brief Table Tennis History That May Interests You

Do you know about table tennis history or how this game being invented? Most people know the world’s most widely played sport is soccer, but what’s number two?

Believe it or not, with well over 30 million registered competitive players worldwide, table tennis (or ping pong) makes a solid case for the runner up. That astounding number does not include all the countless more that play casually in their basements, garages, or game rooms.

ping pong history
ping pong history

Learn Table Tennis History

In this world of sports and entertainment, several forms of sports were introduced for people to learn and be entertained with. Among these sports is table tennis. This sport is generally known in that name. However, it is also known in other countries in a different name. Among these names is ping pong.

You might have already experienced playing this sport and even made you feel exhilarated in the end. However, do you have any idea about where this sport has started?

Do you know anything about the history of table tennis? If you do not, it is such fortunate that this page is exactly made to tell you that. To start with, here is the information that will tell you about where this sport really started.


Table tennis was originated in England. It was introduced to the people at the end of the 19th Century. Table tennis first emerged as a parlor game in England sometime during the mid-1800s, though it was not exactly an entirely new concept.

People came face to face at how this sport is being played after dinner when some Victorians from the upper-middle class decided to have their dinner tables turned into the miniature versions of lawn tennis’ playing field.

In constructing the sport, an endless list of objects being used every day was employed. For one, books meant for reading became and served as the net. The lids of those empty cigar boxes served as the rackets. After a while, these people used parchment paper and stretched it around the table’s frame.

As for the balls that had been used, they used their resourcefulness very much. Thus, they came out with several objects serving as their balls. These include balls of string, rubber balls, and champagne corks.

Tennis and badminton had been popular lawn games since medieval times, so this game was a part of the public consciousness. Though no single individual receives credit for the “invention” of table tennis, most historians agree that it spread quickly after someone improvised a miniature version of the full-scale lawn game when inclement weather kept tennis players indoors.

Name Game

Flim-flam, whiff-whaff, and gossima were all early names for table tennis in table tennis history until John Jacques introduced the game to the English masses with the appealing name of Ping Pong. This catchy name, which imitated the sounds of the ball striking the table and the calfskin paddles, helped the game soar to popularity.

In 1901, Parker Brothers acquired the trademark name of Ping Pong, which led to the widespread distribution of the game across Europe in the early years of the twentieth century. During this time, the game still held the status of a pastime rather than a sport.

The Celluloid Ball

As the century passed by, table tennis has also undergone several refinements. One of those things includes with the players using the celluloid balls.

This started after James Gibb, an English man discovered these balls during his trip to the US in 1901. After he proved that these balls were the perfect ones to be used in playing the sport, the players immediately adapted usage of celluloid balls.

In 1903, the use of the lids of cigar box and parchment paper was replaced by E.C Goode with pimpled rubber to be applied on a light wooden ‘blades’ which served as rackets.

In 1936, after the world championship held in Prague in which 2 defensive players took more than an hour completing the contest, it was decided for the net to be lowered to make the game’s pace faster. Just in 2011, the rules were again changed to enable a faster playing pace.

It was during the time in table tennis history when the popularity of the sport started spreading to other countries in Europe and in the United States. Asian countries were introduced in this sport through the officers in the British Army who were then holding posts in the places.

In 1901, the unofficial world championship was held. It was in 1927 when the official and also the first world championship took place in London, which was conducted by ITTF. The federation was founded in 1926 in Berlin by several countries including England, Austria, India, Germany, Wales, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark, and Czechoslovakia.

Just a Fad?

The public gradually tired of ping pong over the next few years as it spread across the European continent, and it appeared Ping Pong would be but a passing fad. But in the early 1920s, Ping Pong enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in England under its former name, table tennis.

Shortly thereafter, organizations of players formed across Europe and in Asia, where the game had also grown quickly in popularity. These organizations established standardized rules and equipment, and before long, table tennis looked much more like a bona fide sport than just a leisurely parlor game.

diplomacy ping pong

The World Stage

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was founded in 1926, and they crowned their first World Champion one year later. Over the course of the next half a century, table tennis underwent rules changes and equipment standardization just like any other major sport.

The intense level of international competition finally earned table tennis a place in the Olympic Games in 1988 as players continually challenged each other’s physical fitness and mental concentration.

Today and Tomorrow

Throughout the table tennis history, thanks to these athletes and the dedication of the ITTF over the past several decades, table tennis has seen nothing but increases in both participation and popularity, and there is no reason to believe the sport’s popularity will decline.

Ping Pong, table tennis, flim-flam or gossamer. You can call it whatever you like as long as you also call it one of the most popular sports in the world.

Even though it looks like table tennis is dominated by Asian countries like Korea and China, it was not always the case. If you look in table tennis history, back in the 1950s up to the early 1960s, it seemed that European players were without competition.

In 1952, the foam rubber paddle was introduced by Horoi Satoh, a Japanese player. Because of this, it improved the pace of the game even the spinning of the ball. Soon after, it did not take long before Japan was declared as the winner.

A few years later, China also won, which lasted until the early 1980s. China’s domination was eventually subdued when the sport entered the 1988 Olympic Games.

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