Why were the rubbers black and red in the first place?

says Win by Spin!
says Win by Spin!
Member
Aug 2022
205
85
312
Read 3 reviews
I know that the black rubbers were black because the rubber they were made from were naturally/originally black, but why was the other color specifically the red? It could have been blue, yellow, green or anything else... like the color we have today? What was the reason behind having these two colors in the "beginning"?
 
Last edited:
says Win by Spin!
says Win by Spin!
Member
Aug 2022
205
85
312
Read 3 reviews
Every rubber i have seen dribbling from the rubber trees were white 😁
As for your questions re. red / black I am also interested what the answers will be.
I don't exactly know the details of the manufacturing of the rubbers, but from what I've heard the black rubbers don't have additional dye in them, because of being black already, but not sure.
Yeah, this is a question I could have never find the answer for. :D
 
says Table tennis clown
says Table tennis clown
Well-Known Member
Apr 2020
3,577
2,003
7,835
I don't exactly know the details of the manufacturing of the rubbers, but from what I've heard the black rubbers don't have additional dye in them, because of being black already, but not sure.
Yeah, this is a question I could have never find the answer for. :D
Black is always easy to make, just throw a handful of soot into the mix.
Reds dyes are normally much more expensive dyes to make, which is probably why some red rubbers look like crap 😁

Sorry, I digressed
 
says Win by Spin!
says Win by Spin!
Member
Aug 2022
205
85
312
Read 3 reviews
Black is always easy to make, just throw a handful of soot into the mix.
Reds dyes are normally much more expensive dyes to make, which is probably why some red rubbers look like crap 😁

Sorry, I digressed
It's okay. Thanks for the info. I always knew I had the feeling I just can't play with red rubbers on my forehand unless I absolutely need to. :D
 
says Looking for a bat that makes me faster
says Looking for a bat that makes me faster
Active Member
Jan 2023
740
731
2,236
I don't know the answer, but it could be:

1. red strongly contrast the black rubber, the table tennis ball (white/orange), and the table top (usually blue or green).

2. red rubber may be one of the most common variant at that time, so manufacturers and players can easily adapt.

3. Similar to point 2, may be it is easier to make red rubbers.
 
says Table tennis clown
says Table tennis clown
Well-Known Member
Apr 2020
3,577
2,003
7,835
It's okay. Thanks for the info. I always knew I had the feeling I just can't play with red rubbers on my forehand unless I absolutely need to. :D
Well, while we are "digressing", waiting for some nerd to actually tell us when and why ITTF brought out the rule that there had to be a) 2 different colors and b) red and black, there is no rule that orders anybody to have either color on the FH and/or BH respectively.
Maybe a majority of the Chinese players we see on TV and YouTube have the black as the FH.
Basically, whatever rings your bell is fine. If you are using the same rubber on either side there really is no problem anyway.
The real problem can start when you go to different rubbers.
That will really open a can of worms. 😁
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Jan 2019
1,119
724
2,225
Read 2 reviews
Well, while we are "digressing", waiting for some nerd to actually tell us when and why ITTF brought out the rule that there had to be a) 2 different colors and b) red and black, there is no rule that orders anybody to have either color on the FH and/or BH respectively.
Maybe a majority of the Chinese players we see on TV and YouTube have the black as the FH.
Basically, whatever rings your bell is fine. If you are using the same rubber on either side there really is no problem anyway.
The real problem can start when you go to different rubbers.
That will really open a can of worms. 😁
From what I heard, black rubbers tends to be just a tad more tackier than red, so DHS only produced their higher hardness H3 rubbers in black, meaning CNT members chose black as their FH color because there were no other choices lol.
 
says Table tennis clown
says Table tennis clown
Well-Known Member
Apr 2020
3,577
2,003
7,835
From what I heard, black rubbers tends to be just a tad more tackier than red, so DHS only produced their higher hardness H3 rubbers in black, meaning CNT members chose black as their FH color because there were no other choices lol.
Tha'ts good info, thanks mate.
After spending half a million dollars (exaggerated) trying to find my perfect combo of hard FH and softer BH, what everybody suggested was "the way to go" , i found that I play my BH better with a hard rubber than a soft. So to close the circle I can now play with the same rubber on both sides again.
Crazy game TT o_O
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Active Member
Nov 2019
524
406
1,756
Read 1 reviews
I know that the black rubbers were black because the rubber they were made from were naturally/originally black, but why was the other color specifically the red? It could have been blue, yellow, green or anything else... like the color we have today? What was the reason behind having these two colors in the "beginning"?

When I started playing table tennis we had at least blue (Mark V 1)), green (Mark V and Donic Slick), natural (Stiga Tornado), red and black.
According to http://www.ttnzarchives.org.nz/chronicle/1987.htm there were two rule changes in the 1980s. One required to have just different colors on both sides "but there was often argument over whether the colours were different enough to be distinguishable." so the rules were changed again (red and black)...
Edit: Maybe red and black because of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_blindness
One of the few sensible rule changes. Try playing against someone twiddling under the table with e.g. long pips on one side and inverted on the other, both having the same color and keep in mind that hidden serves were allowed back than.

1) https://www.yasaka.se/mark-v-anniversary-1969-2019/
 
says Table tennis clown
says Table tennis clown
Well-Known Member
Apr 2020
3,577
2,003
7,835
When I started playing table tennis we had at least blue (Mark V 1)), green (Mark V and Donic Slick), natural (Stiga Tornado), red and black.
According to http://www.ttnzarchives.org.nz/chronicle/1987.htm there were two rule changes in the 1980s. One required to have just different colors on both sides "but there was often argument over whether the colours were different enough to be distinguishable." so the rules were changed again (red and black)...
Edit: Maybe red and black because of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_blindness
One of the few sensible rule changes. Try playing against someone twiddling under the table with e.g. long pips on one side and inverted on the other, both having the same color and keep in mind that hidden serves were allowed back than.

1) https://www.yasaka.se/mark-v-anniversary-1969-2019/
See GregorTT425 I told you there would be some Nerds coming along giving us proper answers. 😂

to both , ttarc and Igor
Please do not read anything derogatory into my use of the word Nerd but consider it a term of respect and endearment.
 
says Spin and more spin.
says Spin and more spin.
Well-Known Member
Super Moderator
Dec 2010
16,225
17,815
55,151
Read 11 reviews
From what I heard, black rubbers tends to be just a tad more tackier than red, so DHS only produced their higher hardness H3 rubbers in black, meaning CNT members chose black as their FH color because there were no other choices lol.
There were periods where Ma Lin used to use a Red H3.
 
says Spin and more spin.
says Spin and more spin.
Well-Known Member
Super Moderator
Dec 2010
16,225
17,815
55,151
Read 11 reviews
Me too, me too 🤣
I meant, as his FH rubber. :) I believe he was using a Bryce Speed topsheet with a Sriver sponge for the RPB BH but used the Traditional Penhold BH more so, the Red H3 was used for TPB and FH.....But not always....just for periods of time. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: lodro
says Win by Spin!
says Win by Spin!
Member
Aug 2022
205
85
312
Read 3 reviews
See GregorTT425 I told you there would be some Nerds coming along giving us proper answers. 😂

to both , ttarc and Igor
Please do not read anything derogatory into my use of the word Nerd but consider it a term of respect and endearment.
Yeah, exactly. :D I never had doubt about getting answers. We did get them and to be honest, they seem rather logical, but still, they are uncertain. I guess we will never know the real reasons. On a side note, I have to admit that the introduction of the new colors really makes a great difference and aborts the process of having always the same colors on a racket, it brings a little bit more "color" :D into the game. I personally like the blue rubbers. I'm interested if we will ever have the chance to be play with even more colors of the rubbers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lodro
This user has no status.
Re: the OP --

Short answer:
It was a necessary change to mandate a high contrast service environment. This helped correct distortions in the game caused by evolving equipment & changing player strategy.

Long answer:
In the late 70's / early 80's, players at international level started using both tacky & pimples out rubbers (combination bats), with black rubbers on both sides, and also started twiddling the bat under the table during service.

Combined with the advent of other factors (such as the high toss serve, and imparting knuckle spin on the ball with the free hand during the ball toss) this meant the vast bulk of points in a match were being won/lost purely on serve.

This was detrimental to the nature of the game on the whole, as it made game play hugely imbalanced -- it took the focus off of other skills / strategies / game play styles / rallies & tactics. The serve started becoming everything -- coaching and player development pathways were putting emphasis on serving over every other skill in the game, purely in order for a player to simply compete with the better servers.

[NB: it's relevant to point out, a similar thing was also happening in Tennis at the same time, with the growing use of oversized carbon fibre rackets with longer handles. This enabled higher string tensions, making for faster racquets, and serve speeds increased dramatically. Many players were still using wooden racquets at the time, even at the top level... But they were forced to change to the more expensive carbon fibre racquets, as wooden ones simply couldn't compete.

There was huge debate at the time over possibly changing the rules around tennis equipment as a result, as all of a sudden the game was being overtaken by serving masters -- this was detracting from tennis as a spectator sport. TV viewers at the time liked the longer rallies as they add to the game's drama, so they started to switch off. Players adapted over time and TV viewers returned, but the game had also changed forever, some say for the worse -- serve and rally was out, long boring baseline battles were in, taller players came to dominate the game due to the simple mechanical advantages they enjoy during service, and nothing has really changed much in the 40-odd years since].

Since its inception, the ITTF has always wanted TT to be a game that's accessible to everybody, even at the highest levels.

As TT was now trending towards becoming another game like tennis, where service was everything and the most expensive equipment wins, over time the ITTF brought in a host of rules to 'even the odds', bring balance and diversity back to the game, and prevent players from using either more expensive equipment (or a small handfull of techniques) from dominating matches.

These rule changes included the (now traditional) black/red rubber combo, as well as other rules, such as tossing the ball straight up with an open hand during service, and the requirement for a competition blade to have a wooden surface on both sides, and contain a minimum of 85% wood by thickness.

And as for why black and red, it was always about mandating extremely high visual contrast. Players have tried other tactics in the past to disguise the serve, such as stamping or grunting to hide the ball impact sound, combining green rubbers with green and white shirts then serving in front of the body, hiding the impact stroke behind the body during service, and so on.

This is also why balls in ITTF matches are either white or orange, why you can't have white or orange coloured rubbers, why there must be high contrast colours between each side of the bat, and why player uniforms at ITTF tournaments cannot be the same colour as the ball.
 
Last edited:
Top