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Ping-Pong: A Brief History

The former basement hobby (and its video descendants) bounces back as barroom pastime.

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1901
The First Game
Parker Brothers begins manufacturing indoor-tennis kits and trademarks the name “Ping-Pong.”

1927
Couples Competition
Maria Mednyanszky and Viktor Barna of Hungary dominate the first world-championship table-tennis tournament in London; they went on to win a total of twelve titles.


1950
Before Nadia Comaneci
Angelica Adelstein-Rozeanu wins her first of seventeen world table-tennis titles, becoming the first female Romanian world champion in any sport.

1952
Burning Rubber
Japan’s Horoi Satoh invents the rubber-faced paddle, increasing the spin and speed of the ball and inaugurating the era of Japanese and Chinese preeminence in the sport.


1971
Table Diplomacy
The Chinese Ping-Pong team invites the U.S. team to visit—the first Americans there since 1949. On the fourth day of the visit, the U.S. drops its twenty-year trade embargo.



1972
Add Quarters to Continue
Atari debuts the simplistic video game Pong, thereby setting in motion an activity that would eventually devour the mental energies of millions of teenage boys.


1988
Medal-Worthy
Men’s and women’s table tennis becomes an Olympic sport at the Games in Seoul.

1994
My Flex-o-Lite Paddle
Forrest Gump plays on the All-American Ping-Pong team.

2007
The Three-Way
Hawaii’s Secil Boyd invents TriPong, a three-player version with a strangely shaped table and acrylic dividers instead of a net.


March 2007
For a Limited Time
Grand Opening, a new entertainment business that will change its concept every three months, opens with a Ping-Pong parlor (139 Norfolk St., nr. Stanton St.; 646-478-7689).


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