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History of Foosball - The Backstory

Posted by Game Room Shop on

The History of Foosball

The origins of foosball-like table games were spotted in Europe as far back as the 1890s. But the first person to patent foosball as we know it today was Harold Searles Thorton in 1921.

Football (or “soccer”) mania was sweeping Europe. And, as all great inventors do, Thorton wanted to bring that excitement into the home.

In the 1950s, Lawrence Patterson brought the game to the U.S. It was a hit… and by the 1970s, you could find a foosball table in nearly every bar and social hall across the country.

Game Room Shop - History of Foosball

Today, the International Table Soccer Federation promotes international competitions for foosball. Expert competitors can “kick” the foosballs up to 35 mph! Add that to the bucket list...

Despite - or maybe because of - its popularity. The rules of the game haven’t changed much in the last century.. 

The Basics of Foosball

Tables are made out of mahogany. The ball is made of thick plastic. The figures themselves are made from a harder plastic than the ball. There are eight rods with figures attached to them. There is often only one goalie figure per team. All of this is to ensure a fast game.

In Texas foosball, however, there are three figures on the goalie bar instead of one

In France, the game is played on a “tacky” table with a cork ball, rather than a plastic ball. That slows the game down. Players in France focus less on shooting the ball into the opposing goal as quickly as possible, and more on passing the ball and lining up shots - like in actual soccer.

The tables in Germany are even softer to create still more control of the ball. Goals are bigger on German foosball tables.

In Italy, tables are made from sandblasted glass. This creates faster play, like we’re used to in the U.S.

To see our collection of Foosball tables, click here!


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