WOOD TENNIS RACKETS
A COLLECTOR'S GUIDE

Clark H. Bensen
The 2000-2001 Edition is now available.


  • Introduction to Rackets/Racquets
    The racket, or racquet, is the chosen implement, or weapon, of action for several sports, notably, tennis, squash and badminton. Our main focus here is on tennis, though from a construction standpoint, squash rackets are quite similar. Badminton rackets, from a construction perspective are smaller cousins of tennis rackets. In a similar vein, one should also include racketball or platform tennis.

    A note should be made here on the different types of tennis. In the United States, when one refers to "tennis", the reference is really to "lawn tennis". In a few spots around the globe there still are tennis courts where "real tennis", or "court tennis" is played. These are courts totally different from those we see at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open and resemble the indoor courts used centuries before by royalty and hangers-on.

    Whereas today's rackets are universally manufactured from non-wood composites, this was not the case until the mid 1980s. The main focus of these pages is the pre-1980s environment, when wood was the standard raw material. The Wilson T-2000 broke on the scene in the mid-to-late 1960s and ever since then there were fewer and fewer high quality rackets made out of wood. Nevertheless, Bjorn Borg and Martina Navratilova continued using wood rackets (Bancroft for both) while Jimmy Connors was amongst the first to actively use the Wilson T-2000.
  • Collecting Rackets
    As over thirty years have elapsed since the beginning of the end for wood rackets (ca.1967), the collecting bug has finally hit the market and tennis collectibles are, for the moment, a big thing in the antiques and collectible trade. Of course, they pale by comparison to Beanie Babies, porcelain, sterling, art, furniture and the like. However, they are beginning to make a sufficient presence that more tennis items are finding their way into antique emporia.

    Several events of the 1990s give credence to the new status achieved by this collecting passion. These include the publication of two excellent books on the subject, one by Jeanne Cherry, TENNIS ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIBLES (1995), and one by Siegfried Kuebler, THE BOOK OF TENNIS RACKETS (1995 & 1999), (both MUST BUYS) and the establishment of the TENNIS COLLECTORS SOCIETY (1988).

    There is ample evidence that the availability of Ms. Cherry's high quality publication has prompted the appearance of rackets into the antique market and begun the education of collectors and dealers alike.
  • The Collectors Guide
    Both of the books by Ms. Cherry and Mr. Kuebler provide wonderful overviews, gorgeous pictures and sufficient incentive to spark one's interest. In fact, Mr. Kuebler has now published an English translation of his important work, released in March of 2000. (You can find a review of this work at our TENNIS LINKS page.)

    The purpose of the COLLECTOR'S GUIDE is to provide an operational focus on particular aspects of racket collecting. It is thus an attempt to provide a general compilation of information on makers and rackets for those of us who spend way too many fruitful hours, and dollars, on the collection of these wooden implements.

    Tennis came to America in the 1870s but many of the rackets from the earliest days of modern lawn tennis are beyond the reach of all but a few collectors. including myself. The main focus of the COLLECTOR'S GUIDE is on rackets made, or marketed, by American makers, mostly from the turn of the century to the 1980s.
 
SUMMARY OF CONTENTS (click here for a .pdf file from book)
PART 1-COLLECTOR'S GUIDE Largely narrative in format, includes a dicussion of the production of rackets and aspects of building a collection.
Introduction A quick overview summarizing racket collecting and elements of production.
Technological Generations of Wood Tennis Rackets Identification of Production Periods and Technological Generations for Collecting.
Technological Notes on Racket Production Thoughts and Observations
Grading-Quality versus Condition A Proposal for Grading
Market-Buying and Selling Preliminary observations on the State of the Market
Collection Criteria Types of Collections which collectors strive to complete.
Tennis Books Selected printed references for the collector.
Tennis Links Selected online resources for the collector.
PART 2-REFERENCE TABLES Reference tables for Makers, Marks, Patents and Players: Racket Makers; Trademarks and Slogans; U.S. Patents; & Tournament Winners. (All tables updated to reflect Kuebler's 1999 edition.)
Makers-Alphabetical Selected makers of tennis equipment, 1870 to 2000.
Makers-By Duration Selected makers that were in existence for over 20 years.
Marks Selected trademarks and slogans used by makers.
Patents-Chronological Selected U.S. Patents since 1856 arranged chronologically.
Tournament Winners-Alphabetical Selected winners of Grand Slam events and #1 ranks for over a century.



  • New Format now available, COLOR LASER
    Each copy of the new format is printed in duplex mode on a high-quality HP color laser jet. The binding is the very convenient plastic coil spiral binding (not plastic comb) that allows pages to lie flat when opened.
 
ORDERING INFORMATION

Just print this page out and send with your check.
Item ORDER FROM: YOUR INFO:
Name Clark Bensen
Organization POLIDATA
Address 3112 Cave Court, #G
City, State, Zip Lake Ridge, VA 22192-1167
Phone 703-690-4066 (8-5 ET)
Fax 202-318-0793 (efax, 24 hrs)

 
Cost Information: (Color Edition)

COST (Color Laser Edition): $30.00 SALES TAX: (For VA addresses, ADD $1.35 for 4.5% sales tax.)
SHIPPING via USPS Priority Mail. DOMESTIC: ADD $4.00 INTERNATIONAL: ADD $10.00.
PAYMENT: Checks or PAYPAL payments only.
The Color Edition is an original duplex print of text, tables and over 20 color photos on a high-quality color laser printer.
Plastic coil spiral (lies flat) binding in an 8.5 x 11 inch size. 108 pages. ISBN 1-57708-991-X. Nov. 00.
Color Laser Jet Edition info@woodtennisrackets.com


  • RACKETS WANTED Our wants are on hold until the Summer of 2002
  • RACKETS FOR SALE We also have some Rackets FOR SALE. See our For Sale Page
  • POLIDATA HOME PAGE Our Collectors Guides are a small part of our publishing operations. Visit our website at: www.polidata.us

Allow me a moment to express my appreciation to the following persons, each of whom has, in some way, loaned a bit of themselves to the development of my interest in racquet sports. First, for the formative years: my late father, Hal Bensen; my second father, Ray Unsworth; my tennis coach, Howard Travis; my teammates and/or friends, Tom Koerner, Stephen Unsworth and Ted Riehle. Second, for putting up with it, and them, all, my family. Third, for the latter years and the interest in the collecting of rackets, especially for tennis, Jeanne Cherry and Siegfried Kuebler. Also Glenn Bjorkman and Todd Davis for help with TAD rackets and Bob Fournier for help with Bancroft.


Note: The black and white line drawings of rackets used in the logo for these pages are adapted from those in Gianni Clerici's THE ULTIMATE TENNIS BOOK, Copyright 1975 by the Follett Publishing company. (A third 'must buy'.)
Note: The tennis ball bullet is adapted from one found on the Wilson Sporting Goods website.


COPYRIGHT 2000-2002, Clark H. Bensen. All Rights Reserved.

POLIDATA ® Collectors Guides / Clark Bensen / 3112 Cave Court, Suite G / Lake Ridge, VA 22192
TEL: 703-690-4066 (8am-5pm ET) FAX: 202-318-0793 (24hrs.) EMAIL: info@woodtennisrackets.com.
HOME: www.woodtennisrackets.com. THIS: www.woodtennisrackets.com/pubs/wtr/default.htm updated: 2004-jul-03