1. The sport originated in Victorian England, among the upper-class as an after-dinner parlor game. The original equipment consisted of a row of books which was stood up in the center of the table for a net, with two more books served as rackets and were used to hit continuously a golf-ball.
2. Ping Pong has had several different names, including ‘whiff-whaff’. Makeshift versions of the game were developed by British military officers in India or South Africa, who brought it back with them.
3. The term “ping-pong” was in broad use before British manufacturer J. Jaques & Son Ltd, trademarked the term in 1901. The name “ping-pong” then came to be used for the game played by using the more expensive Jaques’s equipment. Other manufacturers got around the trademark by calling it table tennis.
4. Jaques & Sons sold the rights to the “ping-pong” name to Parker Brothers for the United States. Parker Brothers then vigorously enforced their trademark for the term in the 1920s making the various other manufacturers and associations change their names to “table tennis” instead of using the more common legal trademarked.
5. Two men are considered the forefathers for the modern equipment we use today. James W. Gibb, a British enthusiast of table tennis, discovered the celluloid balls used currently on a trip to the US in 1901 He felt them perfect for the game. Also in 1901, E.C. Goode invented the modern version of the racket by fitting pimpled or stippled rubber sheets to both sides of the wooden paddle.
6. During the early 1900s, table tennis was officially banned in Russia because the government believed that playing the game had an adverse effect on players’ eyesight.
7. Ping Pong is a passionate sport in China. In his 1937 book Red Star Over China, Edgar Snow commented that the Communist forces in the Chinese Civil War had a “passion for the English game of table tennis” which he found “bizarre.” Chinese players have won the men’s World Championships 60% of the time since 1959. In the women’s competition, Chinese players have won all but three of the World Championships since 1971.
8. The equipment has changed over the years. In the 1950s, the rubber on the paddles had an underlying sponge layer inserted between them which gave the ball greater spin and speed. The use of speed glue increased the spin and speed even further, resulting in changes to the equipment to “slow the game down”.
9. Table tennis became an Olympic sport at the Olympics in 1988. Due to China’s dominance in the sport, the format was changed for 2012, so only two competitors from each country can enter instead of three.
10. More information is available on the website for the International Table Tennis Federation — http://www.ittf.com/
— Various Sources