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Foos Fighters

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Hey, Foosball Fans!

Bound to be included in many summer camps’ rec rooms, Table Soccer (also known as Foosball) is a huge sport turned indoor game, much like its distant relatives of Billiards, Darts, Ping Pong, and Air Hockey. Surprisingly enough, this popular summer camp activity doesn’t have just one origin story…it’s got three!

Soccer itself dates back 2000 years—which you can read all about on a previous Blog post when you click right here. But the invention of the ‘pocket version’ came within the same 13 years from three different countries! Check out the stories of each inventor for the odd history of Foosball!

First Come, First Patented
Who registered the first confirmed 1923 patent for a foosball table in London? It was Harold Searles Thorton. His favorite among London’s Soccer teams of the day was the Tottenham Hotspurs. He got the idea from a box of matches. The box with an open top made for the perfect ‘table’ and the matches were fashioned into rods and players. It was only the size of a matchbox, but Harold Searles Thorton made the very first foosball table.

And the Next Inventor Is…
It is said that Lucien Rosengart of France in the 1930s invented the foosball table for his family. The story seems more than credible as Rosengart was a brilliant and capable inventor who had patented an early seatbelt design as well as artillery shells that exploded in mid-air. He had a really big family with many grandkids that lived with him. The Foosball table was a game to help stave away boredom for kids in the winter during the Depression.

Final Foos
Alejandro Finisterre was a soldier in the Spanish Civil War during 1936 who was wounded in battle. While he recovered in the hospital, he saw children with severe leg injuries. A big Soccer fan, he immediately considered that these children would never be able to play football. This thought inspired him to contact a friend of his who was a carpenter and, together, they made a foosball table.  

So, there you have it: the three men from London, France, and Spain of no relation who each invented their own primitive Foosball tables right around the same time. How crazy is it that Foosball should have three different inventors from three different countries with no connection? Just goes to show how much people love their Soccer! Enjoy a game of Foosball if you have one handy and, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Folks!


- John


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