Not as famous as football or baseball, Table tennis has a surprisingly interesting history. As years have progressed it has gone from a simple after dinner game to an Olympic sport with its own International Table Tennis federation or ITTF. The earliest surviving action game of Tennis on a table is a set made by David Foster, patented in England in 1890: Parlour Table Games, which included table versions of Lawn Tennis, Cricket and Football. This 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.
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 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. 900, 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. 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, Pom-Pom, and others. 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 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.
Since the second revival of table tennis in 1922 a lot has happened ITTF was initiated in China, first world championship held in London, England, and etc. I’ve wrote a little about the equipment mostly outdated tables and ball types now I’ll tell you what kind of equipment is used now days for the most amount of knowledge. Firstly, the racket is made up of a mainly wooden blade, which can be of any size, shape or weight but must be flat and rigid. On both sides is glued either pimpled rubber or sandwiched rubber.
These rubbers are colored red or black, and the color on one side must be different from the other side (i. e. one red side, one black side). If one side is left without rubber, you must not hit the ball with this side, and it must be colored red if the rubber on the other side is black, or vice versa. An ordinary pimpled rubber is made up of a single layer of non-cellular rubber, with pimples evenly spread out over its surface. A sandwich rubber is made up of a layer of cellular rubber, to which another lay of pimpled rubber is glued on top.
The cellular rubber (or sponge) is glued to the blade, and the layer of pimpled rubber is used to hit the ball. The pimples may face inwards or outwards. If the pimples are facing outwards, this is called a pimples-out (or pips-out) sandwich rubber. If the pimples are glued to the sponge, this is called a pimples-in sandwich rubber, reverse rubber, or smooth rubber. The most common rubber in use today is smooth rubber, which generally gives the most spin and speed when hitting the ball. However, pimples-out sandwich rubber is still used by certain players due to its good speed and better control for hitting against spin.
Ordinary pimpled rubber is rarer due to the lack of spin and speed it can produce, but is an option for some players who prefer its greater control (when ordinary pimpled rubber is used on both sides of the blade, this is called a hardbat). Now onto the ping pong balls. Ping-Pong balls can be purchased from many sports stores, although most clubs will purchase them from table tennis dealers. Balls of 40mm diameter are now since used because in 2006 to enhance seeing the ball on TV or on the court. , so be careful that you aren’t playing with any old 38mm balls that you might have had lying around for years!
The balls are usually made of celluloid, and are white or orange when used in competitions. Most manufacturers grade their balls according to a 3 star system. 0 star and 1 star balls are usually used for training purposes, since they are cheap and quite acceptable for this type of play. They are the lowest quality balls, but the 0 star balls from manufacturers such as Stiga, Butterfly or Double Happiness are actually surprisingly good these days. 2 star balls are supposed to be of better quality than the 0 and 1 star balls, but still not considered good enough or serious competition. In reality these balls are rarely seen or used – I can’t remember ever seeing more than a couple of 2 star balls! 3 star balls are the competition standard balls, and are the best quality. Occasionally you will get a not quite round 3 start ball, but it’s rare. They are almost always a good roundness and balance. They are quite a bit more expensive than the 0 or 1 star balls though, and they don’t seem to last any longer either! Finally the rules. In table tennis the games are played to eleven points, either side can get a point not just the server.
Each player serves for two turns then switches to the other person. If a score of 10-10 happens then each player only serves once then switches, after each game the players switch sides, on the final game after reaching 5 points the players switch sides. The ball must sit in the palm of the hand and is thrown 6 inches then struck, so the ball first bounces on the server’s side and then the opponent’s side. If the serve is legal except that it touches the net, it is called a let serve. Let serves are not scored and are reserved. This is the history, equipment use, and rules of table tennis.