Water Polo Ball

Founded in 1922, the Voit Corporation is one of the oldest sporting goods companies in the world. It is responsible for many patents, including the “first full molded, all-rubber inflatable ball.” In 1936, James R. Smith, in collaboration with AMF Voit, invented a rubber ball with a cotton bladder. At this time, the color of the ball changed from red to yellow. Folklore says that the most available rubber material used for the new balls was made from yellow life vests, but most agree that it was changed because yellow was more visible. In the 1950s and 1960s the Voit Company developed the first rubber-bodied water polo ball which was adopted as the official ball for college, international, and Olympic competitions. This ball was used by the San Jose State University men’s water polo team in the late 1970s.
Currently not on view
Object Name
ball, water polo
date made
AMF Voit
Physical Description
rubber (overall material)
overall: 14 in; x 35.56 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Water Polo
Artifact Walls exhibit
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Sport and Leisure
Artifact Walls exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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