Football (and I mean the European football, also known as „the soccer“ in the USA) is the most popular collective sport in the world. That fact is a proof that if any sport should have an „I-can-play-it-at-home“ version, it should be football. It is kind of logical that the table football, aka foosball, was born right? But, there is a one thing I am fascinated by – the fact that we don’t really know who invented foosball in the first place. There is a chance that the game was invented simultaneously in different places approximately at the same time. Isn’t that just awesome?
Who invented foosball? 3 knights of foosball world
Since we can’t tell for sure who invented table football, it is the right thing to mention men responsible for this highly addictive game. We will be talking about three men, from Italy, France and United Kingdom, who loved football so much that they decided to make a pocket version out of it.
Harold Searles Thornton
Harold Searles Thornton is the man who registered the first confirmed patent for a foosball table in London and it was granted in 1923 under the patent number 205 991. When you look at the drawing of his foosball table you will notice the similarities between his table and foosball tables today. The number of players is the same, the number of rods also and he even made a curve on the corners to keep the ball moving during the match. If you are interested in taking a look at the first foosball table patent, visit the European Patent Office and enjoy the read.
But, how and why did he decided to make this game? Well, it all started with this passion – the London’s football club Tottenham Hotspurs. The inspiration was his favorite club and the idea came from a box of matches. So, the first foosball table made by Harold Searles Thornton was big as the matchbox!
Lucien Rosengart was a French automotive engineer and a father of many extremely important designers even today. He is the most famous for his company Automobiles L. Rosengart which made some pretty impressive cars and today we can connect him with the Citroen.
So, how is he connected to the foosball table invention? People say that Lucien Rosengart invented foosball table for his family. Lucien had a big family with many grandkids and during winter grandkids were bored and didn’t know what to do. Then the best grandfather in the world invented a foosball table for kids, so they can have fun during cold winter days. It all happened around 1930s.
This story seems true because mister Rosengart was a brilliant inventor who invented and patented an early seatbelt design and artillery shells that exploded in mid-air. Those are some pretty complicated inventions so it was possible for him to be one of the men who invented table football.
Alejandro Finistere was a Spanish man who lived his life to the fullest. He was a writer and a poet, an artist and the first man who hijacked an airliner in the flight. Pretty impressive right?
He is connected with this „Who invented foosball?“ story similar to the Mr. Rosengart. It was said that Mr. Finisterre ended up in hospital in Monserrat during Spanish Civil War in 1936. During his recovery in the hospital, he saw children with severe leg injuries and he realized that those kids won’t play football. He used that as an inspiration and alongside with the carpenter Francisco Javier Altuna, he made the first foosball table. There is an unconfirmed story that Mr. Finisterre had the table patented in 1937, but the papers were lost because of Mr. Finisterre had to escape from Spain after the fascist coup.
It actually doesn’t matter who invented the first foosball table and I actually like the fact that we have more than one inventor in more than one country. It gives this game a special and interesting meaning, just like the foosball table should be.