Who first invented table tennis?

Table tennis, also known as ping-pong, is a sport that is beloved the world over. It is enjoyed by young and old alike and is considered to be an excellent way to stay active, have fun, and stay socially connected. But who first invented table tennis?

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The answer is not a simple one. The history of table tennis is a long and complex one, and the true inventor of the game is not known for sure. However, there are a few key figures who are credited with helping to develop the game and make it the popular sport that it is today. In this article, we will explore the history of table tennis and who is credited with inventing it.

Early History of Table Tennis

The earliest form of table tennis has been traced back to the 12th century in England, where it was a game played by royalty. It was known as “Royal Tennis” and was played in a large, enclosed court. This game evolved over time and eventually led to the game of lawn tennis, which was much more popular in the 19th century.

Table Tennis in the 1800s

In the late 19th century, a new form of tennis began to emerge. This game, which was called “Gossima”, was played on a smaller, tabletop court. It was popular in England, France, and Germany, and was the precursor to modern day table tennis.

The Invention of Table Tennis

The true invention of table tennis is widely credited to Englishman John Jaques III. In the late 1800s, Jaques developed a version of Gossima that was played with paddles and a net. He called the game “Ping-Pong”, which was later changed to “Table Tennis” in the early 1900s.

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Table Tennis in the 1900s

The game of table tennis quickly gained popularity in the early 1900s. In 1901, the first official rules were established and a governing body, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), was formed in 1926.

Table Tennis in the 20th Century

Table tennis continued to grow in popularity in the 20th century. The game was featured in the Olympic Games for the first time in 1988, and has been an official Olympic sport since then.

Table Tennis Today

Table tennis is now a popular sport around the world. It is played in many countries and is enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.

Equipment Used in Table Tennis

Table tennis is a relatively simple game to play, but it does require some specialized equipment. The most important pieces of equipment are:

  • Table
  • Net
  • Paddles
  • Balls

Rules of Table Tennis

The rules of table tennis are relatively simple and straightforward. The game is played on a rectangular table, with a net in the middle. Players use paddles to hit a small, hollow ball back and forth to each other. The goal of the game is to score points by hitting the ball over the net and onto the opponent’s side of the table.


Table tennis is a popular sport that has been enjoyed by people around the world for centuries. The true inventor of the game is not known for sure, but John Jaques III is widely credited with inventing the version of the game that we know today. Table tennis has grown in popularity over the years and is now an Olympic sport. It is a fun and relatively easy game to learn and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.


1. International Table Tennis Federation. (2021). History. Retrieved from https://www.ittf.com/ittf-history/

2. Table Tennis England. (2021). History of Table Tennis. Retrieved from https://tabletennisengland.co.uk/about/history-of-table-tennis/

3. Olympic.org. (2021). Table Tennis. Retrieved from https://www.olympic.org/table-tennis