The game began in the 1880s, when lawn tennis players adapted their game to play indoors during the winter. In 1890 the earliest existing evidence of a table tennis game is a set made by David Foster, patented in England. It has been suggested that makeshift versions of the game were developed by British military officers in India in around the 1860s or 1870s, who brought it back with them. Ping-Pong is a trademark name for table tennis and associated equipment. The name “Ping-Pong” was invented by the English firm J. Jaques and Son at the end of the 1800s and in 1901 John Jacques registered "Ping Pong" as a trade name in England. The American rights to the name were sold to Parker Brothers. The name table tennis was adopted in 1921–22.
Major innovation was by James W. Gibb, a British enthusiast of table tennis, who discovered novelty celluloid balls on a trip to the US in 1901 and found them to be ideal for the game. In the same year, "The Table Tennis Association" was formed in England. Four days later, "The Ping Pong Association" was also formed in England. In 1903, they amalgamated, forming "The United Table Tennis and Ping Pong Association", before becoming defunct in 1904. In 1902 a visiting Japanese university professor took the game back to Japan, where he introduced it to university students. Shortly after, a British salesman, Edward Shires, introduced it to the people of Vienna and Budapest.
In the early 1920's the game began to revive in England and Europe. The Fédération Internationale de Tennis de Table (International Table Tennis Federation) was founded in 1926, the founding members being England, Sweden, Hungary, India, Denmark, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Wales. The first World Championships were held in London in 1926. In 1952 Hiroji Satoh of Japan became notorious for his use of a wooden racket covered in thick foam sponge rubber, which produces much more speed and spin than conventional pimpled rubber rackets. In 1980 the first World Cup was held in Hong Kong, and table tennis became an Olympic sport in 1988, with singles and doubles competition for men and women.