PokéBase - Pokémon Q&A
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The invention of Poké Balls apparently occurred in the Johto region, where Apricorns 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. In the games, Drayden claims that Poké Balls did not exist during his childhood; however, due to Poké Balls being in the sunken ship in A Shipful of Shivers, it seems that in the anime Poké Balls were first made at least 300 years ago.

Source: http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Poké_Ball
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Nice answer.
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