If you’re reading this, we know you’re a pretty avid fan of foosball. That’s cool, because we are too.

For someone who plays a lot, however, you probably don’t know much about how the game came about.

Aren’t you a little curious about the whole story? Read on to learn more about the beginning of foosball tables – you might be impressed by what you find.

Foosball Table Fables

Like with every popular game, Foosball has a ton of origin stories that may not be all that true.

One popular story is that there was a spontaneous thought process throughout Europe to suddenly create this game (not likely, but still sounds kind of cool).

There’s another legend that foosball was the brainchild of inventor Lucien Rosengart, the same guy who made the seat belt and some bicycle parts.

Rosengart claimed to have come up with the game in order to keep his grandchildren happy during the winter season.

Still another story states that Alexandre de Finesterre brainstormed the idea, and asked carpenter Francisco Javier Altuna into building the table for him.

Whatever origin story you believe, we can all go off of the official Foosball patent for the information we need about this interesting game.

The Appearance of Foosball Tables

Foosball’s official timeline begins in 1921.

Harold Searles Thornton of the United Kingdom began noticing just how popular the game of Football (as it’s called literally everywhere but America) was becoming in Europe, and wanted a way for people to play it indoors as well.

The design of the game came about from studying a box of matches. When the matches are placed on the top of the box, they look distinctively like the handles sticking out of a table.

Apparently, Thornton had the same idea.

The game of foosball was patented on November 1, 1923, and has been a staple of bars, basements and pool halls ever since.

Many Names for the Same Game

As said earlier, everyone outside of the United States calls soccer “football”, for obvious reasons. Therefore, most other countries call the tabletop version of the game some variation of the word.

In the United Kingdom, the game is called “table football” (you can’t get much more simple than that) and Spain has decided to call it “futbolen”.

France has given the tabletop game the adorable name of “baby-foot”, while in much of Eastern Europe it’s simply called “kicker”.

America had to stack up to the everyone else, so instead of calling it something like “table soccer” (ew) it went with the German word for Football, which just so happens to be “foosball”.

And that, folks, is how you got the awesome tabletop game that we all know and love.

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