The game was formerly called squash rackets, a reference to the "squashable" soft ball used in the game (compared with the harder ball used in its sister game rackets).
The governing body of Squash, the World Squash Federation (WSF) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but the sport is not part of the Olympic Games, despite a number of applications. Supporters continue to lobby for its incorporation in a future Olympic program.
The use of stringed rackets is shared with tennis, which dates from the late sixteenth century, though is more directly descended from the game of rackets from England. In "rackets", instead of hitting over a net as in sports such as tennis, players hit a squeezable ball against walls.
Squash was invented in Harrow School out of the older game rackets around 1830 before the game spread to other schools, eventually becoming an international sport. The first courts built at this school were rather dangerous because they were near water pipes, buttresses, chimneys, and ledges. The school soon built four outside courts. Natural rubber was the material of choice for the ball. Students modified their rackets to have a smaller reach to play in these cramped conditions.
The rackets have changed in a similar way to those used in tennis. Squash rackets used to be made out of laminated timber. In the 1980s, construction shifted to lighter materials (such as aluminium and graphite) with small additions of components like Kevlar, boron and titanium. Natural "gut" strings were also replaced with synthetic strings.
In the 19th century the game increased in popularity with various schools, clubs and even private citizens building squash courts, but with no set dimensions. The first squash court in North America appeared at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire in 1884. In 1904 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the earliest national association of squash in the world was formed as the United States Squash rackets Association, (USSRA), now known as U.S. Squash. In April 1907 the Tennis, rackets & Fives Association set up a sub committee to set standards for squash. Then the sport soon formed, combining the three sports together called “Squash”. In 1912, the RMS Titanic had a squash court in first class. The 1st-Class Squash Court was situated on G-Deck and the Spectators Viewing Gallery was on the deck above on F-Deck. To use the Court cost 50 cents in 1912. Passengers could use the court for 1 hour unless others were waiting. It was not until 1923 that the Royal Automobile Club hosted a meeting to further discuss the rules and regulations and another five years elapsed before the Squash rackets Association was formed to set standards for squash in Great Britain.
Standard rackets are governed by the rules of the game. Traditionally they were made of laminated wood (typically ash), with a small strung area using natural gut strings. After a rule change in the mid-1980s, they are now almost always made of composite materials or metals (graphite, Kevlar, titanium, boron) with synthetic strings. Modern rackets have maximum dimensions of 686 mm (27.0 in) long and 215 mm (8.5 in) wide, with a maximum strung area of 500 square centimetres (77.5 sq in). The permitted maximum weight is 255 grams (9.0 oz), but most have a weight between 90 and 150 grams (3–5.3 oz.).