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The invention of Poké Balls apparently occurred in the [[Johto]] region, where [[Apricorn]]s grow; these fruit were cut apart and carved out, then fitted with a special device, and used to catch wild Pokémon prior to the mass production of the Balls that occurs in modern times under [[Silph Co.]] and the [[Devon Corporation]]. Some Trainers still use Poké Balls made from Apricorns, while [[Kurt]], a resident of [[Azalea Town]], still constructs them.
Prior to the invention of Poké Balls, Pokémon were referred to as "magical
beasts" (Japanese: '''魔獣''' ''majū''), indicating that the name Pokémon, short for Pocket Monster, did not come into common parlance as a term until these devices allowed the various Pokémon to be stored in pockets easily. This also shows that in these times they were believed to be supernatural creatures, not natural ones.
Stylized Poké Balls are used in many places to symbolize Pokémon in general: the logos of both [[Battle Frontier]]s feature a Poké Ball in their design, while several Poké Balls can be seen in every Pokémon Center. The headgear of the protagonists of [[Hoenn]], [[Kanto]], and [[Sinnoh]]-based games feature Poké Ball designs, as do the [[bag]]s of the protagonists of [[Johto]]-based games. The headgear of [[Ethan (game)|Ethan]] is also similar to the top half of an Ultra Ball, and the bag of [[Lucas (game)|Lucas]] prominently features a Poké Ball.