1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ping-pong

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PING-PONG, or Table-Tennis, a miniature variety of lawn-tennis played on a table, which may be of any size not less than 5 1/2 ft. long by 3 ft. broad. Various attempts were made to adapt lawn-tennis to the house, but the real popularity of the game began when, near the close of the 19th century, celluloid balls were introduced, and the game was called ping-pong from the sound of the balls as they were struck by the racket or rebounded from the table. In 1900 the ball was improved and made heavier, and for the next two years ping-pong enjoyed a popularity never before attained by a game in so short a time, not only in Great Britain but in France, the British Colonies and America. Two leagues were formed, the “Table-Tennis Association” and the “Ping-Pong Association,” whose laws were practically identical. The regular tournament table is 9 ft. long by 5 ft. broad, and the net is a little less than 7 in. high. The balls, which are of hollow celluloid, are about 3/4 in. in diameter. The racket has a blade, shaped like a lawn-tennis racket, about 6 in long and a handle long enough to grasp comfortably, all in one piece. Rackets are made either wholly of wood covered with vellum, cork, sand-paper or rubber, or of light frames covered with vellum or some other material. The table was at first marked out in courts, but is now plain. It should be unpolished and stained. In serving, a player must stand directly behind his end of the table and use an underhand motion only. The ball must clear the net and strike the table anywhere on the other side. The game is then continued until the ball misses the table or fails to pass over the net. Only one service is allowed, except in case of a let. The scoring is the same as in lawn-tennis.

See Ping-Pong, by Arnold Parker (London, 1902); Table Tennis, by A. Sinclair (London, 1902).