Who Invented Foosball? – A Brief of Foosball History

Last Updated on July 26, 2022 by

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Foosball, table football, babyfoot, or whatever you may call it, is a table game that revolves around the concept of soccer. There are eight rows of players attached by eight rods on a foosball table, these figurines are referred to as foos men, and the total number of them is 22. So, each team gets 11 foos men.

At its prime, foosball was one of the most played games in the world. The concept of having a game that you can play with three people at the same time was new and unique, that it became famous overnight.

But many are unaware of foosball history, and there are still concerns regarding who was the one who invented this game.

But don't worry, we'll unfold the history of foosball in this article bit by bit so that we can finally answer who invented foosball once and for all.

Due to the game's nature being similarly close to football which is the most common sport all across Europe, the invention of foosball can't be pinpointed to a location. Instead, it is safe to say that it was invented in different parts of Europe simultaneously, and the record books seem to prove just that.

Although it is not specified in the history of foosball regarding who invented foosball, it is safe to say that foosball originated in Europe from 1921 to 1937. Many claimed to be the inventor of the game, but the official patent went on to Harold Searles Thorton.

Some people claim that the game was initially invented in the 1930s by a Frenchman named Lucien Rosengart, famous for his invention of the minicar, seatbelt, etc.

He wanted to create a board game for his children to play during the cold winter and the idea of the coming to him by looking at matches in a matchbox. He called the game 'Babyfoot.'

Some sources claim that around Rosengart, a Spanish civil war victim, Alexandre de Finisterre, invented the game around the same time. It is said that he founded the game to tackle his boredom in hospital confinement. He named the game' futbolín'. He would later go on to apply for an official patent in 1937.

Harold Searles Thorton applied for an official patent for his game' table football' in 1921, which contained all the features of the game of foosball of today. He received the official patent regarding the game in 1923.

Due to the date being older than the others and the official patent, Harold Searles Thorton is hailed as the inventor of foosball.

Depending on the most common answers, it is said that either Harold Searles Thorton or Lucien Rosengart was the one who invented the first foosball table, but that is debatable as there are many claims of the invention before and after their time.

But if we side with official statements, then by receiving the patent, Harold Searles Thorton is the one who invented the foosball table.

Introduction of Foosball in America

Introduction of Foosball in America

Foosball is the American name of the game 'table football' by Harold Searles Thorton. Let's look into American foosball history. We can find that the game was introduced almost after the official patent in 1923 by a relative of Harold Searles Thorton, Louis P. Thorton.

He tried to get a patent for the game in 1927 but wasn't able to make a success, and the patent was expired.

The game was later introduced to Americans by the soldier Lawrence Patterson in the 1960s as he fell in love with the game during his time in Germany and, as soon as he returned home, tried to spread it to the nation. He named the game Foosball by translating the German name of the game 'fußball.'

Patterson took an excellent marketing approach as he imported coin-operated machines to play the game, which made a good impression on arcade-going teenagers.

But foosball wouldn't start spreading like wildfire until E. Lee Peppard took an interest in the game, created his own tournament table, and began to host high-prized tournaments to sell his products. This made a significant impact as people started to get interested in joining in these high-stakes tournaments.

These tournaments were such a massive success that foosball became a nationwide phenomenon for teenagers and adults alike. The stakes were so high that Peppard hosted a quarter-million-dollar foosball tour in 1975.

But the foosball craze quickly calmed down when arcade introduced video games like 'Pacman' to the American crowd in the 1980s.

Final Thoughts

The foosball history is short but has great depth regarding its impact on people. However, it is not as popular as it used to be. It is still one of the most enjoyable table games out there. And knowing the history of foosball makes it more enjoyable!

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