History of the ball – Football

ancient time football information History of the ball – Football

Charles Goodyear is popularly thought of as the inventor of the first ever modern football. It is almost impossible to tell when and how the very first ball football was made but we have some useful info if you want to know how the footballs is made , check here.

This is mainly because games that involve kicking an object and have the same basic rules and ideas have been around from very early in human civilization and with the progress of the game the ball has also come further along.

The first football is usually traced to ancient times in which the ball was made round by being stuffed with objects and this was the way it was done until the middle age which is when footballs began to be filled with air.

Developments were extremely rapid as football came to the modern era that it is currently at, balls were being made of rubber, but FIFA quickly instated their own rules on footballs which are now followed today.

It is said that the first ever football in history was invented by ancient civilizations, 3000 years ago including, The Chinese, Aztec and Maya Indians.

  • Chinese people used animal skin together to form a sphere
  • Maya and Aztec Indians that were located in Central America made a rubber ball which was formed from the latex of rubber wood.
  • Egyptians on the other hand made a football made of seeds wrapped in linen and also for improved bouncing they would use animal skin or catgut.
      History of the footabll. Chinese Way Of Playing in old times.
  • The Greeks used the same method as the Egyptians and created a ball wrapped in linen but it was made of hair instead of seeds.

With the arrival of the middle ages football was already a well-established sport so the balls were made more carefully and better quality in comparison to the previous balls.

The balls were most commonly made of bladders especially in Medieval Europe such as the pig bladder ball that Italians used.


  Bladder Football Balls in ancient times

However bladder balls could not withstand the test of time, were easily punctured and the irregular shape made ball control difficult. To find a solution to this problem the bladders were wrapped in leather to make them more durable and make them rounded.

In the 1800’s professional football became established and even more attention was given to the quality of the ball. In the year 1855 a significant thing took place as the first rounded football was made by Charles Goodyear.

  Football was made by Charles Goodyear - History of the Game

Before that the football was not completely round as it was made of animal bladders. Goodyear treated the rubber so it would not be sticky and easily deform in hot weather.

In the year 1872 the first size and shape rules were put in place for footballs. Previously the size was dependent on the size of the bladder but with Charles Goodyear’s new invention the shape and size of the ball could be the set.

So in 1872, the English Football Association (FA) officially declared that the ball should be spherical and between 27 and 28 inches in circumference. Up to this day this is still the official ball size.

In the year 1880 the first World Cup ball was made and it was not only the first world cup ball but also the first laced up ball. Leather balls were still used even with the new rubber balls. These balls had many panels of leather laced together to keep the bladder inside intact. This type of ball was used in the first World Cup in 1930.


  First Football for world cup , first laced ball as well

In the 1950’s the balls stepped up another level with use of synthetic paints to make the leather balls waterproof. They also removed the laces to provide a smoother service that would make the ball easier to control.

How these modern Footballs look ? Design and quality are top notch for sure. Lets take a look at some of the nicest balls from world famous brands here