History of Foosball

NewImageHow did Foosball spread from parlors in Fin de siècle Europe to rec rooms mainstay and dot-com cliche? In the new issue of Smithsonian, Derek Workman delves into the history of tabletop football and its unclear origin.
NewImageAlexandre de Finesterre has many followers, who claim that he came up with the idea , being bored in a hospital in the Basque region of Spain with injuries sustained from a bombing raid during the Spanish Civil War. He talked a local carpenter, Francisco Javier Altuna, into building the first table, inspired by the concept of table tennis. Alexandre patented his design for fútbolin in 1937, the story goes, but the paperwork was lost during a storm when he had to do a runner to France after the fascist coup d'état of General Franco. (Finesterre would also become a notable footnote in history as one of the first airplane hijackers ever.)
"The Murky History of Foosball"



    1. Did you read the article that I linked to?

      “Some say that in a sort of spontaneous combustion of ideas, the game erupted in various parts of Europe simultaneously sometime during the 1880s or ’90s as a parlor game.”

  1. It actually has its roots in the Roman Colosseum, where condemned men would be tied in rows to logs.  Galley slaves would be brought in bear the weight of the logs at either end, moving them side-to-side and otherwise manipulating them in a manner that would cause the condemned to kick a ball around the Colosseum grounds until a goal was scored.  (I may have made that up.)

  2. certainly that would make the most sense given the name sharfes ‘s’ ß and all: Fußball

  3. So it was either invented in the 1930s or else maybe in the 1890s? I don’t see why this should be so hard to settle. Surviving tables and documentary evidence such as photographs from the late 19th century either exist or they do not. How much effort did the author really put into figuring this out?

  4. In 1975 I met a guy who claimed to have the patent on Foosball, He had set himself up in a house close to Land’s end and made acoustic guitars as a hobby. He made one fantastic instrument per week.

  5. Foosball is the greatest, purest, and most perfect competitive sport ever created by mankind.  No goal in a net, swooshy basket, tumble across a line, or tedious putt into a hole can compare to its brutal, beautiful, and dare I say sacred, thwack.

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