Air Hockey ... Who Invented This?

God help me, I was thinking about Air Hockey the other day, and became baffled by how exactly such a strange (though admittedly fun) quasi ‘sport’ came to be. It’s that chicken or the egg kind of quandary: Air Hockey involves that crazy table full of hundreds of holes that shoot just enough air to slightly elevate a plastic puck, thusly making it possible to whack it with a plastic ‘racket’ against someone else, all in that classic battle for ‘goals’. Did the concept come first, say with merely a greased-down surface, or did the wacky table create the possibility for the game, said table perhaps even concieved for something else? I picture a researcher leaving his prototype to go to lunch, only to come back to find the janitors whacking a rice cake between each other, and then – history. What say you about this?
Mike Houser

I have no clue who invented it… but I want them thank them.

I love me the air hockey.

I’m not a competetive person…unless it’s air hockey. I would, if asked, play to till the death!

This forum is for factual answers, Miss Bungle.

oh… if only i could go back in time and put these nifty lil [hijack] [hijack] thingies around my post.

oh… if only.

[hijack] do I make you feel important Aslan2? You feel the need to follow my posts by nitpicking. I’m glad I’m helping you feel useful. [hijack]

I’ll say what I really feel abput the subject in the pit. I don’t want to screw up this person’s thread.

"Ice hockey enthusiast Bob Lemieux (and with a last name like Lemieux, how could you not be an ice hockey enthusiast?) dreamed up this popular table game for billiards manufacturers Brunswick back in 1972. "

[Red Green] Be sure to leave plenty of room for checking and high sticking. [/Red Green]

[hijack] TelcontarStorm, you forgot the [hijack] brackets. Aslan2 shall surely destroy you for your impudence. [/hijack]

But Ruck, I used the [Red Green] brackets.

When will the word just * leave me alone*? sob

As a slightly more serious attempt at an answer, such a table is a good way to get a surface with a low coefficent of friction. I could easily see such a table being designed first by a physics professor or such, as a good way to show perhaps conservation of momentum. I assume that’s why we have an air-hockey table in one of the physics labs and not that other people are playing air hockey withou me. Then again, I could be wrong.

Good point asterion, I’ve seen air hover tracks being used for conservation of momentum experiments on TV.

Indeed, I saw Physics demos with an air hockey type table prior to 1972. (No pucks and goals, just a board with a lot of little holes hooked up to the back end of vacuum cleaner.)

My dad reports that, back before someone got the bright idea of putting holes and a blower in the table, his physics class tried to build one with the gas source in the puck (he said they used dry ice).

My physics lab does in fact have a small air track (although not wide enough to play air hockey on :frowning: ) that we did use to show conservation of momentum.