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Friday, September 19, 2008

Ping Pong - Not Chinese

ENG: Wang Liqin, chinese table tennis player. ...Image via WikipediaI was surprised to learn yesterday that ping pong has its origins in the Victorian drawing room with bored toffs hitting champagne corks over a row of books with the lid of a cigar box as a bat.

The game has its origins in England as an after-dinner amusement for upper-class Victorians in the 1880s. Mimicking the game of tennis in an indoor environment, everyday objects were originally enlisted to act as the equipment. A line of books would be the net, a rounded top of a champagne cork or knot of string as the ball, and a cigar box lid as the racket[2].

Table tennis evolved into the modern game in Europe, the United States and Japan.[3] The popularity of the game led game manufacturers to sell the equipment commercially. Early rackets were often pieces of parchment stretched upon a frame, and the sound generated in play gave the game its first nicknames of "whiff-whaff" and "Ping-pong."
I always assumed that it was from Peking, such is its popularity. All we are missing now are the top hats and the smoking jackets.
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3 comments:

geoff said...

Yes I know I should be concentrating on un-blocking the Murray or even ending the drought. Bugger that, this is the valuable knowledge that stops me from getting that "forget your name disease". Which is far more important than having a wash or drinking muddy water.

River said...

*sigh* another sport.........

michael greenwell said...

i always liked Douglas Adams talking about this and he said that the Chinese hold table tennis bats the way we hold cigarettes but curiously enough they hold cigarettes like we hold table tennis bats.