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The bat is the only piece of baseball equipment which predates the game and throughout the years there have been many changes.  In the 1820's to 1830's small bats and paddles were used in early children's games of trap-ball and rounders.  In the 1850's small round bats without knobs were used to play games such as town-ball and were sometimes made from axe handles.  Later a small knob was formed at the end of the bats to prevent them from sipping through the fingers.  Manufacturers experimented using different styles of knobs such as the mushroom and double knob style.  In the early 1900's the handles changed from a thick style to a thinner style. 


In 1861, the National Association of Base Ball Players, the games first official league, determined that a baseball's circumference should be between 9 1/2 and 9 1/4 inches and weigh between 5 1/2 and 5 1/4 ounces.  Before this, the size, composition, and design of a ball had undergone a series of modifications.  Balls from the 1830's and 1840's were typically smaller and the method of constructing them varied depending on the available materials. 
These balls were relatively soft to permit "soaking" the runner.    Many of the early balls were made of four strips of leather stitched over a compound of string and rubber.  The patterns styles that were used are commonly known as the lemon-peel, belt-ball, and H patterns.  These variations led to the now familiar two-panel figure eight pattern found today.