Like many other sports, Table Tennis began as a mild social diversion. It was probably played with improvised equipment in England, during the last quarter of the 19th century. Though Table Tennis evolved, along with Badminton and Lawn Tennis, from the ancient game of Tennis (also known as Jeu de Paume, Real tennis, Court Tennis or Royal Tennis), the game was developed after Lawn Tennis became popular in the 1880s.
Ancient woodcut showing jeu de paume game, published in 1576. ITTF Museum
The earliest surviving action game of Tennis on a table is a set made by David Foster, patented in England in 1890 (No.11037): Parlour Table Games, which included table versions of Lawn Tennis, Cricket and Football. The Lawn Tennis game featured strung rackets, a 30mm cloth covered rubber ball, a wooden fence set up around the perimeter of the table, and large side nets extending along both sides.
Lithograph segment, earliest known action game of tennis on a table: David Foster (ENG) 1890. One of 2 known examples.
Foster’s rules, found at Cambridge University by Steve Grant (USA). The rules are very brief (unlike those for the companion games of table cricket and football). Note rule 3, which mentions ‘Table Tennis’. Steve also discovered that Foster patented his game compendium in Canada.
Game manufacturers tried many experiments to market an indoor version of Lawn Tennis, including board and dice games, Tiddledy Winks variations, card games, racket and balloon games and others.
Lawn Tennis board game by Singer (USA), another indication that the sport was very popular in the 1880s ITTF Museum.
Renowned researcher Alan Duke (ENG) recently discovered an English patent by Ralph Slazenger, No. 3156, dated 26 June 1883 (and likely months developing the idea before filing the Application), for improved nets for games. The patent describes net post mechanisms, with this important statement:
“This arrangement is adapted for ordinary lawn tennis, and for a modified game to be played indoors, say upon a billiard or dining table. In the latter case the poles are supported in brackets clamped to the table and the ends of the cord may be clamped by the cam arrangement, or fastenend under the table, or weighted.”
Duke correctly concludes that this “quite possibly is now the earliest known reference to a table version of tennis (and, importantly, accurately dated).” However, no evidence has been found that such a game was developed at that time.
Steve Grant (Ping Pong Fever, 2012, USA) found mention of one James Devonshire (ENG), who John Jaques claimed invented Table Tennis in a 1901 interview published in The Echo. Subsequently Alan Duke found in The Official Journal of the Patent Office that:
- Devonshire applied for a Patent on October 9, 1885 for his “Table Tennis”.
- The Nov. 24, 1885 issue of the Journal shows Provisional Specifications were accepted
- In January 1887 the Application is listed as Abandoned. Once again no evidence of Devonshire’s game, nor advertisement has been found; quite likely it was never put into production.One feasible scenario is that Jaques paid Devonshire for his idea, ultimately becoming the basis for Jaques’ Gossima, released in 1891. However, the lengthy time factor is a concern, as mentioned by renowned Jaques authority Michael Thomson (SCO).The 1887 catalog of George S. Parker (USA) includes an entry for “Table Tennis: This game is laid out like a Lawn Tennis court, played and counted just the same, all the rules being observed.” However, this was a board and dice game by J.H. Singer (NY), whose name also appears on the catalog.
Rare board & dice game, “Table Tennis” by J.H.Singer 1887. Earliest production use of the name Table Tennis. ITTF Museum
One year later famous game makers Jaques of London released their GOSSIMA game. This game borrowed the drum style battledores from the Shuttlecock game, and used a 50mm webbed wrapped cork ball, with an amazing 30cm high net that was secured by a belt-like strap under the table. Only 2 examples are known to have survived.
Jaques (ENG) GOSSIMA, 1891, with 50mm ball, 30cm high net, vellum drum rackets. The white belt was used to secure the large wood net fixtures to the table. ITTF Museum
Neither of these action games were successful, due to the ineffective ball: the rubber ball had too wild a bounce, while the cork ball had too poor a bounce. Jaques continued to advertise Gossima throughout the 1890s, but it was not until c.1900, when the celluloid ball was introduced to the game, that the concept of tennis on a table became successful. Steve Grant has traced the name Ping Pong to an 1884 song by Harry Dacre. The distinct sound of the celluloid ball bouncing off the drum rackets quickly led to the use of the same name. This can still be demonstrated today using the antique rackets! As the name Ping Pong caught on, Jaques changed the name of his game to “Gossima or Ping Pong” and soon afterward, to “Ping Pong or Gossima”. Ultimately the name Gossima was dropped.
The game quickly caught on with the public, marketed under many different names:
- Ping Pong or Gossima
- Ping Pong
- Table Tennis
- Whiff Waff
- Parlour Tennis
- Indoor Tennis
- Royal Game
- Tennis de Salon
Gradually the two most popular names prevailed: Ping Pong, and Table Tennis. However, these competing names caused some problems, as two associations were formed, and with different rules for the game some confusion resulted. Ping Pong was trademarked in 1900 by Hamley Brothers in England, and soon afterwards Hamleys became “jointly concerned” with Jaques. They rigorously enforced the Ping Pong trademark, requiring use of their Ping Pong equipment in Ping Pong tournaments and clubs. Parker Brothers, who acquired the American rights to the name Ping Pong, similarly enforced the trademark. Eventually it became clear that for the sport to move forward, the commercial ties had to be severed.
Timeline of Table Tennis Milestones
with thanks to the late Ron Crayden (ENG)
and his book, The Story of Table Tennis – the first 100 years
with updates by the ITTF Museum
|1880s||Adaptation of lawn tennis to the dining table with improvised equipment|
|Slazenger patent, nets for games, mentions tennis on a table|
|1885||James Devonshire (ENG) granted provisional patent for his “Table Tennis”, abandoned 1887.1|
|1890s||Several patents registered in England and the USA|
Earliest surviving action game of table tennis: David Foster’s Parlour Table Games, England 1890
Sets produced under trade names such as Gossima, and Indoor Tennis, with Lawn Tennis style rules
|1900||Introduction of celluloid balls to replace rubber and cork ones. The celluloid ball had the perfect bounce, and the game became a huge success|
|1901||Table Tennis Association and rival Ping Pong Association formed in England; amalgamated in 1903|
First books on the game published in England
The game is introduced in China via western settlements & trade missions
|1904||Ping Pong craze fades, some pockets of popularity in eastern Europe continue|
|1922||Revival of the game in England & Europe, though laws varied.|
Establishment of standard laws of the game in England
|1926||International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) initiated in Berlin|
First World Championships held in London, England. ITTF Constitution adopted, along with first set of standardized Laws.
Ivor Montagu (ENG) elected Chairman
|Classic Hard Bat Era (European Dominance)|
|Maria Mednyanszky (HUN) wins the World Championships five times consecutively. Mednyanszky wins 18 gold medals over-all|
|Victor Barna (HUN) becomes five times world champion. Barna wins a record 22 gold medals at world championships during his career, 40 medals overall|
|1936||Tenth World Championships held in Prague, Czechoslovakia. The longest rally took place, the first point taking over two hours due to pushing style play.|
|1937||A lowering of the net to 6 inches (15.24cm) encouraged more attacking style, and time limits imposed on matches.|
Both women singles finalists defaulted at the World Championships due to misunderstanding about time limit law. Ruth Aarons (USA) & Trude Pritzi (AUT) declared co-champions in 2001.
|1939||First World Championship held outside Europe: Cairo, Egypt|
|Due to World War II the ITTF suspended activities, & no World Championships were held|
|1943||First Continental Federation founded December 12: South American Confederation.|
|1947||ITTF resumes activity; World Championships held in Paris, but Richard Bergmann (ENG), defending World Singles Champion, not allowed to participate by Montagu due to Bergmann accepting money for exhibition play during War years without official permission.|
|Angelica Rozeanu-Adelstein (ROU) wins the World Championships six times in a row and is the last non Asian to win the female singles title until today. 1950: Bergmann wins 4th World Singles title|
|1950s||Age of Sponge Bat and Technology (Beginning of Asian Dominance)|
|1952||Nineteenth World Championships held in Bombay, India the first to be staged in Asia. Japan’s entry to the international scene|
Hiroji Satoh (JPN) became the first player to win a World Championship when using a racket covered with thick sponge and is the first non-European winner.
Inauguration of the Asian Federation & First Asian Federation Championships
|1953||China entered the World Championships for the first time. Thick sponge bat causes major controversies for the next several years.|
|1954||Ichiro Ogimura (JPN) is the epitome of Japanese dominance with technological development and physical training|
|1956||Tomie Okada-Okawa (JPN) is the first female player from Asia to win the World Championships and stops the European reign on world’s female table tennis.|
|1957||World Championship changes to a two-year cycle|
|1958||First European Championships, Budapest, Hungary. The USSR made their entry to the international scene|
|1959||Rong Guotuan (CHN) is the first Chinese world champion in any sport.|
Racket standardization laws enacted
|1960||1st Paralympic Games in Rome, included Table Tennis|
|1962||First All-Africa Championships, Alexandria, Egypt|
|1967||Ivor Montagu retired as President of the ITTF after forty years in office. Swaythling Club International founded, Victor Barna President.|
|1971||First Commonwealth Championships held in Singapore|
Ping Pong Diplomacy: table tennis played an important role in international diplomacy when several teams were invited to China for a series of friendship matches after the 1971 World Championships. Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai: “Your visit to China has opened the door for people-to-people exchanges between China and the USA.”
|1971||Stellan Bengtsson (SWE) wins the men’s singles title and heralds the start of three decades of Swedish influence, with top players such as Kjell Johansson, Mikael Appelgren, Erik Lindh, Jan-Ove Waldner, Jörgen Persson, and Peter Karlsson.|
|1973||First World University Championships held in Hanover, Germany|
|1977||ITTF received formal declaration of its recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)|
|1979||First European Championships for Paraplegics (wheelchair players) held in Stoke Mandeville, England|
|1980||First World Cup held in Hong Kong|
|1981||World Championships held in Nova Sad, Yugoslavia. Total triumph for China, whose athletes win all of the seven gold medals|
Table tennis admitted to the Olympic programme (84th session IOC)
|1982||First World Veterans’ Championships held in Gothenburg, Sweden.|
First World Championships for the disabled held in Stoke Mandeville, England
|1985||European Youth Championships held in The Hague, Holland|
|Modern Olympics Era (Chinese Reign with few exceptions)|
|1988||For the very first time, table tennis was featured in the Olympic Games, held in Seoul, South Korea|
|1991||A United North & South Korea team won the Corbillon Cup at the World Championships in Chiba, Japan|
|1992||Former World champion, Jan-Ove Waldner (SWE) became Olympic singles champion and reputedly, the first table tennis millionaire|
|1995||World Championships held in Tianjin, China. Total triumph for China for the second time, winning seven gold medals|
|1996||Beginning of the ITTF Pro Tour, with events taking place worldwide|
|2000||After the Olympics in Sydney, the ball size is increased to 40mm for improved television viewing|
|2001||Game score changed from 21 to 11 points World Championships held in Osaka, Japan. Total triumph for China for the third time, winning all of the seven gold medals|
|2002||Implementation of the ITTF World Junior Circuit (U18) and World Cadet Challenge (U15 continental team competition)|
|2003||First ITTF World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile|
Team Championships separated from individual events, held in alternate years
|2004||During the Olympic Games in Athens, Table Tennis ranked 5th among all sports for television viewing audience|
|2005||World Championships held in Shanghai, China. Total triumph again for China, winning all of the five gold medals.|
|2006||World Championships held in Bremen, Germany. The Chinese athletes complete the collection with two gold medals in the team events|
|2007||World Championships held in Zagreb, Croatia. Total triumph number five for China, winning all of the five gold medals|
First appearance of table tennis as a compulsory sport at the Universiade in Bangkok, Thailand
|2008||China sweeps the Team championships in Guangzhou|
China wins all the Gold at the Beijing Olympic Games
|2010||Table Tennis is part of the first Youth Olympic Games|
|2012||China wins World Team Golds and all the Gold medals at the London Olympic Games, and 24 of a possible 28 Golds in 7 Olympic Games.|
Persson (SWE), Primorac (CRO) and J-M Saive (BEL) participated in all 7 Olympic Games.
|2016||Plastic balls used at World Championships & Olympics|
The Chinese again win all 4 Olympic Gold medals, and overall 28 of 32 Olympic Golds since 1988
International Table Tennis FederationWhere is the headquarter of ITTF? › Who is the current president of the International Table Tennis Federation ITTF )? ›
The ITTF's current headquarters are located in Lausanne while their Asia-Pacific office is based in Singapore and search for a new site for headquarters is in the process. The current president is Petra Sörling from Sweden. Sörling became the eighth person to hold the office in 2021.Where did ITTF established? › What is the old name of table tennis? ›
The game was invented in England in the early days of the 20th century and was originally called Ping-Pong, a trade name. The name table tennis was adopted in 1921–22 when the old Ping-Pong Association formed in 1902 was revived.Who is the best table tennis player? ›
|1 -||FAN Zhendong||China|
|2 2||Tomokazu HARIMOTO||Japan|
|3 1||MA Long||China|
|4 1||WANG Chuqin||China|
China. China is easily the country in which table tennis is most popular. For the past fifty years, they have become renowned for dominating at world championship competitions, even winning every single gold medal at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.Who is the No 1 table tennis player in China? ›
|Event 1st 2nd 3rd Olympic Games 1 1 0 World Championships 6 2 2 World Cup 7 1 0 Total 14 4 2|
|Men's table tennis|
It has become a classic all over the world. All blades are manufactured onsite here in Eskilstuna, Sweden.Who owns the trademark for ping pong? ›
The name "Ping Pong" is still used in certain parts of the world, particularly in the USA, probably because it was promoted so extensively in the early 1900s by Parker Brothers. Ping Pong is still a federally registered (®) trademark in the USA and is now owned by Escalade Sports.
|Men's table tennis|
|Representing the United States|
|2019 Lima||Mixed doubles|
|Youth Olympic Games|
|2018 Buenos Aires||Singles|
|Equipment(s)||Butterfly Harimoto Tomokazu Innerforce ALC, Butterfly Dignics 05 (Forehand) Dignics 05 (Backhand)|
|Highest ranking||2 (22 November 2022)|
|Current ranking||2 (22 November 2022)|
|Club||Ryukyu Asteeda, TTC Neu-Ulm|
To ensure that table tennis equipment at the competition level is of the highest standard, and consistent among all the different brands, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has a strict set of quality and performance requirements, and will only grant approval if all the requirements are met.Why is it called table tennis? ›
A similar situation arose in the United States, where Jaques sold the rights to the "ping-pong" name to Parker Brothers. Parker Brothers then enforced its trademark for the term in the 1920s, making the various associations change their names to "table tennis" instead of the more common, but trademarked, term.What are the 3 names of table tennis? ›
- Ping Pong or Gossima.
- Ping Pong.
- Table Tennis.
- Whiff Waff.
- Parlour Tennis.
- Indoor Tennis.
The table tennis balls, also regarded as ping pong balls, are spherical, lightweight and hollow balls made from plastic and celluloid materials. The balls have a 40 mm (1.57 inches) diameter and weigh 2.7 g. They are white or orange in colour with a matte finished outer surface.Who is the fastest table tennis player? ›
Officially, New Zealander Lark Brandt holds the record for the fastest recorded smash at 69.9 miles per hour which he hit at the inaugural World Fastest Smash Competition in 2003. Brandt said his technique was key—a combination of timing and strength paired with a loose wrist and a flat smash.Is ping pong good for your brain? ›
Scientific evidence and medical experts around the world acknowledge that recreational table tennis increases concentration and alertness, stimulates brain function, helps with the development of tactical thinking skills, hand/eye coordination, provides aerobic exercise and social and recreational interaction.Who is the legend of table tennis? ›
|Men's table tennis|
China has a very large population who plays table tennis. Around 350 million Chinese watch major ITTF events, and also the Marvelous 12 Trials events. Statistically, there is 1 ping pong table for every 7 Chinese people. So there are a lot of tables if you can do the calculation yourself.
—Chinese players train for at least 7 hours a day. Top players work with specialized practice partners and sometimes even play against two at a time—something you won't see on most teams. —Chinese teams have extensive strategic analysis about competition around the world and are pioneers in new table techniques.What countries dominate table tennis? ›
China has been the most successful nation in Olympic table tennis, winning 60 medals (36 gold, 23 silver, and 8 bronze). Since 1992, Chinese players have won at least one medal in every event.Who is the best table tennis player in the world 2022? ›
Naomi Osaka (大坂 なおみ, Ōsaka Naomi, Japanese pronunciation: [oːsaka naomi], born October 16, 1997) is a Japanese professional tennis player. She has been ranked world No. 1 in singles by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and is the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles.What ping pong table do professionals use? ›
JOOLA brand is synonymous with excellence and high-performance – JOOLA has been the official ping-pong table brand for the Olympics for several years, as well as several US Open open and US National ping-pong tournaments.Is STIGA a Chinese brand? ›
STIGA is the Group's flagship brand. Founded in Sweden in 1934 by Stig Hjelmquist, STIGA has decades of experience in designing and manufacturing gardening tools.What brand ping pong balls are used in the Olympics? ›
Olympic Competition Table Tennis Balls. Double Fish 3 Star PKT 3 , Celluiod Competition Table Tennis Ball.What is the difference between table tennis and Ping-Pong? ›
In table tennis only the serve has to hit the table on each side of the net, whereas in ping pong every shot has to hit the table on both sides of the net.Does Ping-Pong come from China? ›
Although its name may sound Chinese, the sport of table tennis (ping pong, Pīngpāng qiú, 乒乓球) did not originate in China; invented as an after-dinner diversion in late-19th century England, it made its way into China through the Western settlements via Japan and Korea only in 1901.Is Pong a registered trademark? ›
PONG Trademark of ATARI INTERACTIVE, INC. - Registration Number 2611782 - Serial Number 76148525 :: Justia Trademarks.
China's men's team holds a record 22 world team championship titles.What is table tennis called in USA? ›
In 1993, the official governing body of the United States Table Tennis Association was created. The sport was not named ping pong since that name was already taken from by the Parker Brothers. The non-profit corporation version of the United States Table Tennis Association truncated their name to “USA Table Tennis”.What is the biggest tournament in table tennis? ›
Held since 1926, the World Championships are the most prestigious events in the international table tennis calendar. Team and Individual events are held in alternate years with over 120 countries competing.Who has the best forehand in table tennis? ›
An offensive player, Ma Lin is highly regarded in the world of table tennis. He has one of the best forehand loops of all time, powerful, yet consistent and well placed, with lots of variations. Ma Lin could graze the ball with tons of spin or take it over the bounce for a direct hit to the opponent's corner.Who is the best male table tennis player? ›
- Ma Long.
- Zhang Jike.
- Jan Ove Waldner.
- Wang Liqin.
- Xu Chin.
As a general rule, the thicker the surface, the better the table. The best ping pong tables for high-traffic rec centers and for competitive players are 25mm+ table tennis tables. Beginners and game room buyers usually get by fine with cheaper ping pong tables that are in the 13mm to 15mm range.How much does a professional ping pong table cost? ›
Ping-pong table prices range from under $200 to well over $2,000.Is a 16mm ping pong table good? ›
You should avoid buying tables with a really thin table tennis top (e.g. 12mm). The ball just doesn't bounce very well and the tables are flimsy and easy to damage. Tables with a medium thickness (16mm-19mm) are actually OK.How do you know if a table tennis racket is good? ›
Lighter, more rigid materials create a more attacking paddle, while a heavier paddle made from softer stuff will help a defensive player. If you like playing a fast paced game, you'll want a blade with 5 or more layers of material.
The single most distinctive style in table tennis is the attacking chopper. While other styles look to attack and gain initiative, the chopper gives up the initiative, using the chop to return an attack with backspin, and making it necessary for the opponent to start the attack all over again.Is Stiga a good table tennis brand? ›
Stiga is particularly known for the production of table tennis blades, which is reflected in its high quality and best playing characteristics. The classic par excellence is the Stiga blade Allround Classic, which is probably the most played wood of all time with well over a million sales worldwide.Who is the father of the table tennis? ›
Ivor Montagu (1904-1984): Founding Father of Table Tennis: Sport in History: Vol 28, No 3.Who is the founder of table tennis? ›
In 1890, Englishman David Foster, attracted by its wide appeal, introduced the first game of tennis on a table. In 1897, the first national championships were organised in Hungary.What are the 4 equipment in table tennis? ›
- Table. The table is 2.74 metres long, 1.525 metres wide and 76 centimetres high. ...
- Net. The net is 15.25 centimetres high and extends along the width of the centre of the table, dividing it into two equal parts.
- Ball. The ball is spherical and has a 40mm diameter and weighs 2.7 grams. ...
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), founded in 1926, is the world-governing body of the sport of table tennis with 226 member Associations in the world. The ITTF supervises the staging of World Championships annually, and several other world title events.What is the International Table Tennis Federation also known as? ›
Since inaugural 1960 Summer Paralympics. Table tennis is governed by the worldwide organization International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), founded in 1926. ITTF currently includes 226 member associations.When was Nigerian table tennis Federation founded? ›
And in 1951, the Nigeria Table Tennis Association was formed, headed by an Englishman – Jack Farnsworth. The first 'national' competition was held in the same year, and the champion was Alaba Vaughan.When was Tatap established? ›
History. The Table Tennis Association of the Philippines(TATAP) was formed in 1951 as a governing body for table tennis in the Philippines. In 2016, the Philippines Olympic Committee(POC) defunct TATAP as member of the National Sports Association(NSA).What is the oldest tennis club in the world? ›
Established in 1846, Leamington Tennis Court Club is the oldest purpose built tennis club in the world. Lawn tennis was invented in Leamington Spa by members of the club.
- Ping Pong or Gossima.
- Ping Pong.
- Table Tennis.
- Whiff Waff.
- Parlour Tennis.
- Indoor Tennis.
Held since 1926, the World Championships are the most prestigious events in the international table tennis calendar. Team and Individual events are held in alternate years with over 120 countries competing.What are the 2 versions of table tennis? ›
- Singles Table Tennis. Singles Table Tennis is played between two individuals, one on each side. ...
- Doubles Table Tennis. Doubles table tennis was introduced to the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and Olympic Games in 1988. ...
- Mixed Doubles Table Tennis.
Pīngpāng qiú (Chinese: 乒乓球) is the official name for the sport of table tennis in China.Who is the best table tennis in Nigeria? ›
Same as Toriola, who used to be his partner in the Men's doubles, Aruna Quadri is the current darling of Table Tennis in Nigeria and Africa.
Nigeria won her first medal in Tokyo in 1964 through Nojeem Maiyegun. He claimed bronze in the men's light middleweight class. Nigeria then waited another eight years to get on the podium again at the Munich Games in 1972 when another boxer, Isaac Ikhouria won another bronze in the light heavyweight category.Who is the No 1 tennis player in the Philippines? ›
|1||BANDALA, Pete Rafael||1570|
|2||SEPULVEDA, David Ezra||1320|
|Born||Ian Nietes LaribaOctober 13, 1994 Cagayan de Oro, Philippines|
The cheapest way to keep your bat clean is to use a little bit of water and some kitchen paper or a cloth and wipe the surface clean. This only takes a minute and the rubber will dry very quickly. Don't use too much water, as you will end up soaking the rubbers and even the blade, which is not a good idea.