You might be wondering: “What is the difference between table tennis and ping-pong?”
If you’ve been around ping-pong, excuse me, table tennis, you have probably noticed that most beginners don’t care about the name. It’s usually the more advanced players who might fight to the death about what’s correct.
Is it called ping pong or table tennis? And are the two the same thing, or different sports entirely?
According to the International Table Tennis Federation there is a correct answer.
And you can probably guess it simply based on their name. They’re called the International Table Tennis Federation for reason.
However, is it wrong to call table tennis ping-pong, or can use them interchangeably without any issues?
For that, we need to take a look at the history of ping pong and/or table tennis.
Table Tennis Vs. Ping Pong: Where Did The Names Come From?
The ITTF website states that the first mention of the phrase “table tennis” appeared on a board and dice game in 1887.
However, the real game of table tennis wasn’t invented until the 1890s, when many manufacturers trademarked and used different names.
There were two companies, one on either side of the ocean: John Jaques & Son, and the Parker Brothers.
They both trademarked the name ping-pong, and since they were the market leaders on the respective sides of the ocean, many people started calling the game ping pong.
In fact, the companies threatened legal action against anyone who used the name ping-pong and didn’t refer to their equipment or to the game of table tennis using their equipment.
People wanted a different name for the sport, and table tennis was chosen.
Since then the official name for the game has been table tennis, but it is not wrong to refer to the game as ping-pong.
The rules are the same, the equipment is the same, and everything else is the same.
The only difference is how mad people will get when you call it ping-pong instead of table tennis.
It’s a bit silly honestly. Why not simply enjoy the game and let people call it what they will as long as they play by the same rules as you?
However, if you want to be technically correct and use the same term as the official table tennis association, then call it table tennis and not ping-pong.
The funniest thing is, ping-pong is still a registered trademark in the USA which is currently owned by Escalade sports.