How the Foosball Table Came to Home Game Rooms

Posted by ,Oct 16th 2020
How the Foosball Table Came to Home Game Rooms

The name foosball is immediately recognizable as a type of table-based soccer game. But where did this strange name come from? And how did this traditional bar game end up in American homes? Find out everything that you ever wanted to know about the history of the foosball table. Plus, learn why the game should have a place in any home.

What Is Foosball, Anyway?

The name foosball comes from the German word for football, fussball, which refers to soccer in that county. In fact, the name translates directly to foot ball. However, foosball is not the only term for table-based soccer. Some call it table soccer or table football. While in Europe, the term kicker is used by some, taken from one of the top manufacturers of foosball tables there.

The Origins of the Foosball Table

Though a relatively recent invention, the origins of the foosball table remain unclear. In fact, many people hold claim to being the creator of foosball. Some of these disputed inventors include:

  • A spontaneous introduction in several places in Europe at the end of the 19th century
  • Englishman Harold Searles Thornton in 1923
  • American Louis P. Thornton in 1927
  • Spaniard Alexandre de Finesterrre in 1937
  • Frenchman Lucien Rosengart in the 1930s

Though all the above hold claims to filing any of the various patents in different countries, the first went to Harold Thornton. However, because patents need filings in individual countries, other places in the world still allowed for other inventors to file their own versions of the game. For instance, Harold's uncle patented the game in the United States, but it failed to produce the popularity or sales he expected, and the patent lapsed.

The game, however, saw a rapid rise in popularity in Europe where it appeared in cafes around Europe in the 1940s. By 1950, the first organized league appeared in Belgium, and 26 years later, Europeans formed the European Table Soccer Union.

This fad would likely have stayed a European game had it not been for Americans stationed in Germany during the aftermath of World War II. Lawrence Patterson brought the game back to the United States in 1962 from his time in West Germany, where he was stationed with the US military. He gave the game its German-inspired name, which stuck with American players.

One of the impacts of the multiple origins of the foosball table is its variations in design and gameplay. However, this may be a benefit for some, who only think that they don't appreciate the game.

Skills Foosball Builds

The types of skills built by playing foosball depend on the form of the game preferred. For instance, in the United States, the more popular form is hard-court play, which relies on a fast-paced play by spinning lightweight figures. However, in Europe, foosball tables have heavier figures that players move more deliberately in a slower, yet more thoughtful form of the game, known as clay-court style.

Regardless of the type of foosball table that you have, playing the game will encourage you to think on your feet. Even the more laid-back styles still help you to develop fast reflexes and better hand-eye coordination.

Find the Perfect Foosball Table for Your Family Here

If you want to bring home the fun of a foosball table, look no further than here at We have several models, including tables for use outside and even table-top designs to save space in your home. Check out our foosball table lineupon our website or stop by our City of Industry, CA, store. As always, we welcome your questions and feedback. Call us at Best Pool Tables for Sale at 800-361-5888 if you have any concerns or inquiries.