Who is The Inventor of The Soccer Ball?

It is not possible to name the sole inventor of the soccer ball since the process of evolution of this ball took place over many centuries and passed through several stages. However, we have the right to indicate several names of inventors who played a key role in the process of improving football.

The first revolutionary event in the history of the development of a projectile for playing football took place in 1836. It was then that the American inventor Charles Goodyear created the first ball made of rubber, which was characterized by high strength and bounce.

By the way, you can see the prototype of modern football in the Football Hall of Fame in the United States

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Around the same time, an English inventor named Lyndon proposed the design of a rubber chamber into which air could be pumped. This innovation allowed the projectile a more correct shape and increased its resistance to powerful blows from football players.

Another significant milestone in the evolutionary path of football was the invention of the 32-panel design by Richard Buckminster in the early 60s of the last century. Now this design of black and white five- and hexagons, unofficially called “buckyballs”, has become a classic and is known even to those who are not fond of football.

By the way, its inventor himself was not a football fan. He was engaged in developments in the field of construction and architecture, and the design he created came to the world of football quite by accident.

In the same time, active experiments began with the use of various synthetic materials and the introduction of additional lining layers in the construction of a football projectile.

Subsequent technological developments made it possible in a few years to obtain a ball that is durable, moisture resistant, spherical, and has excellent aerodynamic properties.

For many years there have been heated discussions on the subject of which country can be considered the “homeland” of football. Game projectiles resembling a ball were known in different historical eras in the following countries:

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  • China
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Ancient Rome
  • Ancient Greece
  • Great Britain
  • Inca Empire

At the same time, the design, size, and shape of balls had significant differences in different regions. For example, in ancient China, long before our era, they learned to make balls from animal skin.

Bird feathers and horse hair were used as stuffing. By the way, researchers claim that the Chinese version of the game played with such a projectile was closest to modern football in its content.

In ancient Rome, they also knew how to construct balls from leather, and the Romans used figs, hay, and straw as a filler. They played with such balls in the game “Harpastum”, popular among legionary soldiers. It is believed that in the early Middle Ages, this game was mastered and adopted by the British.

In ancient Greece, several games were invented at once, which were played with spherical shells made of cow and sheep skin, stuffed with sand, feathers, and rags.

In the Middle Ages, in the Misty Albion, spherical-shaped peas tied with horsehair were first used as balls. Then the projectiles, the basis of the construction of which was animal bladders, came into use. There is a creepy legend, according to certain historical periods on the islands the severed heads of enemies were used as balls for games.

For the indigenous people of South and Central America, the ball was not so much an object for entertaining games as a totem symbolizing the deities of the Sun and the Moon. By the way, it was from there that the colonizers brought to Europe amazing balls made of natural rubber.

If we talk about the dating of the first analog of modern football, this question remains open. The subject of the loudest debate is what can be considered the prototype of a soccer ball.

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Games using a leather spherical projectile were actively played in China as early as the 2nd century BC. Researchers also refer to a written mention of the alleged first international Harpastum match, in which the British defeated the Romans in a fierce struggle. As you already know, this game also used a leather projectile, shaped like a modern ball, reminiscent of a football.

Many people prefer to consider the “birthday” of the football in 1836 when Charles Goodyear showed the world a projectile with a rubber base. However, the key turning point in the chronology of the ball’s evolution is probably in 1872.

It was then that the Football Association of England adopted a single standard for soccer balls, according to which the game projectile should have a circumference of no more than 70 centimeters, and it should not weigh more than 15 ounces. It is worth noting that this standard has been relevant for more than a century and a half. 

If we talk about when the traditional 32-panel design of the soccer ball was invented, the historical facts refer us to the beginning of the second half of the 20th century, when the architectural developments of the Buckminster engineer were embodied in one of the most ingenious inventions of the sports industry.

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