The true inventor has finally been uncovered by Steve Grant and published in his new book Ping Pong Fever: The Madness That Swept 1902 America. It was an ambitious 22-year-old Londoner who first filed a patent on table tennis, in 1885, a man who later became an inventor and leader in the British electric-power industry. He was James Devonshire (later “Sir” Devonshire) and his idea was taken up by sporting goods dealer Jaques & Son and eventually turned into Ping Pong with the addition of celluloid balls. The full story of the invention and early evolution of table tennis (including the origin of the name Ping Pong) is revealed for the first time in Ping Pong Fever.
The big year for Ping Pong was 1902, when it became an absolute craze in America. If you didn't play Ping Pong, you were “out of it” socially. High society held exclusive Ping Pong parties. “Ping Pong” became code for anything modern and up-to-date, so the name was attached to everything from Ping Pong Perfume to Ping Pong Cigarettes to numerous types of Ping Pong apparel, drinks, foods and household goods. The game affected every facet of daily life, from fashion to romance, and inspired too much poetry and many bad jokes. Major tournaments were held at department stores, where champions included the top lawn tennis players of the era. Ping Pong parlors and Ping Pong clubs sprung up everywhere.
All the details are in Ping Pong Fever: The Madness That Swept 1902 America, a 268-page large-size paperback with over 400 photos, drawings and cartoons from that era, available at Amazon. “A ground breaking masterpiece of research....with some sensational discoveries....”
About the Author of Ping Pong Fever: The Madness That Swept 1902 America:
Steve Grant, a club-level table tennis player, has written numerous articles for publications of the Museum of the International Table Tennis Federation, covering the early history of this sport around the world.