The Murky History of Foosball

How did the tabletop game get from parlor halls in 19th-century Europe to the basements of American homes?

A group of young Parisians playing foosball at a cafe in 1958. (Rue des Archives / The Granger Collection, New York)

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“I don’t think it’s likely, particularly when you take into account that my prize money was only £15 and the prizes for the whole competition were only £300. I don’t think we’re in the same league as the World Championships, but at least I can say I was women’s champion, even if there were only five other women!”

It's probably stretching the imagination just that bit too far to think that table football will every become an Olympic sport, but they probably thought the same about beach volleyball at one time. Sadly, the small figures that populate the field during playing time won't be able to collect the medals themselves. That will have to be left to the flick-wristed humans who control their every move.

About Derek Workman

Derek Workman is an English journalist living in Valencia who “delights in searching out the weird, the wonderful and the idiosyncratic, which Spain has by the bucketful.” He blogs at Spain Uncovered.

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