Why Are Soccer Balls Made of Hexagons?

Have you ever wondered how soccer balls got that fascinating design of hexagons and pentagons? They weren't always so.

Once upon a time, soccer balls (or footballs, depending on where you hail from) were inflated pig bladders wrapped in leather. One variation was an ancient Chinese game called “tsu chu,” using a ball stuffed with feathers. In medieval England, players used leather-covered wine bottles filled with cork shavings (to make them easily retrievable if they fell in the river). It wasn’t until 1844, when Charles Goodyear patented vulcanized rubber, that soccer balls started taking shape. Literally.

But the design of those earlier balls was made of 18 stitched panels: six sections that contained three stripes each. The hexagon/pentagon design was conceived by someone you might recognize. Read all about it at mental_floss. Link

(Image credit: Flickr user Telstar Logistics)


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