Where Did Ping Pong Originate?

You may be surprised to learn the answer to the question, where did ping pong originate? because the vast majority of people answer incorrectly.

Unless you are interested in or involved in the sport of table tennis then you probably wouldn’t have a clue as to where the sport originally started, and when pushed for an answer people tend to guess China or Japan.

You may be surprised to hear that ping pong originated in England around 1870. The game is thought to have been invented by British military officers in India who were said to have used books placed on end, in a line to act as a wall for the ball, (which was actually a golf ball) to be hit over, books were also used as rackets to hit the ball.

By the 1900s the game of ping pong as it was known really became very popular with the upper-class Victorians, it was a favorite after-dinner parlor game.

In 1901 a man called James W. Gibb who himself was an avid player, had a massive impact on the game. While he was on a trip in the United States he spotted a small lightweight celluloid ball and thought that would be a perfect replacement for the heavier golf ball that was currently being used to play ping pong, he was right, it was to change the game forever.

The next thing to change for the better was the introduction of a wooden racket, this racket was constructed with a sheet of rubber attached to it with a textured surface to enable better contact with the celluloid ball, this was a great improvement to the game and so much better than using books to hit the ball.

Photo: Daniel Schwen, CC BY-SA 4.0

Now that the game of ping pong was firmly established amongst the upper classes, a British manufacturer called J.Jaques and Sons Ltd trademarked the name ping pong. In the United States, a company called Parker Brothers bought the rights to the name and eventually enforced their trademark in the 1920s.

The Table Tennis Association was founded in 1921, and later renamed in 1926 as the English Table Tennis Association and then later on in 1926 it came to be known as the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)

So now you know the answer to the question “where did ping pong originate?” of course the equipment used in the sport of table tennis has evolved quite a bit over the years. Players now use high-quality regulation size table tennis tables when playing in competitions and tournaments, and paddles can be tailor-made to suit the player and their playing style.

The sport of table tennis is popular all over the world, so much so that it is now included in the Olympic Games.

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