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MaximRecoil
07-28-2007, 05:32 PM
It is an old Spalding racket with a frame made from a solid aluminum beam (not hollow aluminum like some later rackets). The head is standard sized which I guess is about 65 in.^2. The head measures (from the outside of the hoop) about 9 3/4" width x 10 1/2" height (nearly round). It has 64 string holes in total. The overall length of the racket is 26 1/2". I can't find any text on it that identifies the model, only the manufacturer.

I would also like to know if anyone knows the string pattern and recommended string tension for this racket.

Here (http://maxim.skyphix.com/spalding.jpg) are some [poor webcam quality] pictures of the racket.

JW10S
07-28-2007, 05:35 PM
It's a Spalding Smasher--great racquet. It was made famous by Pancho Gonzalez when he used it to play on tour into his 40's.

MaximRecoil
07-28-2007, 06:00 PM
It's a Spalding Smasher--great racquet. It was made famous by Pancho Gonzalez when he used it to play on tour into his 40's.
Thanks for the reply. After reading it I did a search on the Spalding Smasher, and it looks like it was the first aluminum racket, introduced in 1968, is that right? I found an ad on eBeigh from 1969 for one, and it looks the same except the throat bridge doesn't have the "S" integrated into it, but I guess that's something they put in later. I also saw one with a plastic bridge on another site, so they must have made this model for a while, with various changes along the way.

I may be able to copy the stringing pattern from that 1969 ad, but it is kind of hard to see in some spots. Any idea what the tension should be? 50 lbs. or so?

Bud
07-28-2007, 06:04 PM
Cool Racquet. I love the old metal racquets. :D

JW10S
07-28-2007, 06:08 PM
Thanks for the reply. After reading it I did a search on the Spalding Smasher, and it looks like it was the first aluminum racket, introduced in 1968, is that right? I found an ad on eBeigh from 1969 for one, and it looks the same except the throat bridge doesn't have the "S" integrated into it, but I guess that's something they put in later. I also saw one with a plastic bridge on another site, so they must have made this model for a while, with various changes along the way.

I may be able to copy the stringing pattern from that 1969 ad, but it is kind of hard to see in some spots. Any idea what the tension should be? 50 lbs. or so?You're right, the 'S' was added to the throat piece in later models--it was only a cosmetic thing. If I'm not mistaken the ones you saw with plastic throat pieces were mid-size models that were the last ones manufactured. I can't help you with regard to the recommended string tension though.

superstition
07-28-2007, 06:43 PM
It's a Spalding Smasher--great racquet. It was made famous by Pancho Gonzalez when he used it to play on tour into his 40's.
How times have changed. Now, people are starting threads like "what players should just pack it in" and picking people in their 30s because they're "too old", and tennis commentators have dubbed women in their 20s "aging divas" who will have to make way for up and coming 17 and 18 year olds.

See my signature for my response.

Rafa freak
07-28-2007, 06:51 PM
Cool Racquet. I love the old metal racquets. :D

Do you wan't a t-2000 or a t-3000?:D

Capt. Willie
07-28-2007, 08:02 PM
Wow a Spalding Smasher :) Where did you find this?

Bud
07-28-2007, 08:41 PM
It depends on the condition and price :)

MaximRecoil
07-28-2007, 10:47 PM
Wow a Spalding Smasher :) Where did you find this?
I got it about 12 years ago. My aunt was helping her neighbor clean out her attic and she found two rackets up there, a wooden TAD Davis Professional in nice shape and no warpage, and this Spalding Smasher. My aunt's neighbor didn't care about them, and my aunt knew I played tennis so she asked if I wanted them. I restrung the Davis racket and tried it out because I'd never hit with a wooden racket (aside from the first couple of times I tried tennis when I was 7). It was quite fun to hit with.

I cut the old blue and white striped (and loose and dead) strings out of the Spalding, taking a mental note of the pattern, but I never got around to stringing it, and eventually I forgot the pattern and wasn't playing tennis at all for quite a while, so I've never hit with it.

I just finished stringing it tonight. I went with a one piece stringing, 18x18, skipping hole 9 on the mains, 50 lbs. It looks about right to me -- Link (http://maxim.skyphix.com/spalding2.jpg).

I'll probably try it out tomorrow. The grip size is right for me at 4 5/8" (a boxier shape than I'm used to though) and the leather is still in good condition.

Capt. Willie
07-29-2007, 10:56 AM
Your 18x18 looks right to me...8 and 10 shared, skip 9. I think I would have tried finding pictures of Gonzalez with this racquet and attempted to count the patteren. But I'm pretty sure you have it right.

Let us know how it plays.

MaximRecoil
07-29-2007, 03:44 PM
Your 18x18 looks right to me...8 and 10 shared, skip 9. I think I would have tried finding pictures of Gonzalez with this racquet and attempted to count the patteren. But I'm pretty sure you have it right.

Let us know how it plays.
I did find some Gonzales pictures where I was able to count the pattern, as well as that 1969 advertisement for the Spalding Smasher. However, they both had a 16 mains x 18 crosses pattern. Looking at my racket, 16 x 18 didn't look right for it, so I wondered why. So, using the 1969 ad, I counted the total number of string holes. It had 54. Well, like I said earlier, my racket has 64 string holes. So I wondered if my racket had a larger head to account for the extra string holes, but it looked like a standard size head to me. But just to make sure, I did the math on it, along with the math on the Davis wood racket (which I know for a fact is a standard size head), and they were the same -- and I don't mean "the same" in a rough sense, I mean exactly the same, out to the 5th decimal place. That surprised me. Here is the math for both of them, measuring just the string bed area on both of them (inside of the hoop):

TAD Davis Professional:

8 3/16" Width x 10 5/8" Length = 8.1875" x 10.625" = 9.40625" average diameter = 69.49 in.^2 area

Spalding Smasher:

9" Width x 9 13/16" Length = 9" x 9.8125" = 9.40625" average diameter = 69.49 in.^2 area

So apparently, Spalding went with a tighter pattern while leaving the head size the same, by the time they made the models like mine with the "S" in the throat piece.

The closest thing I could find for a picture to go by was this (http://www.woodtennis.com/laver/chemoldlaver2.jpg) Chemold Rod Laver model, which has a similar shape to the Spalding Smasher, and 60 total string holes. It has an 18x18 pattern. And just for the hell of it, I checked out a Wilson T2000, which also has a similar shape to the Spalding Smasher, and it was 18x18 as well. So that's what I went with.

I'll probably hit with it tonight, assuming it doesn't rain.

MaximRecoil
07-29-2007, 04:17 PM
It looks like calculating the area of an oval (ellipse) may be more complicated than that. So, the two rackets are not exact, but very close:

Davis = 68.32 in.^2
Spalding = 69.36 in.^2

MaximRecoil
07-29-2007, 07:57 PM
I hit with the Spalding tonight and I loved it. I didn't expect to like it at all, given the small head size and aluminum construction. I expected a lot of mishits and twangy vibration.

In reality, this racket is built like a tank. It felt extremely solid when hitting. This isn't the thin, light aluminum from the 80's department store rackets, this stuff is thick, solid, and heavy.

This racket also has a lot of control. I could literally crank on it as hard as I could and the ball would go where I wanted it to. I came up with a lot of nice angles and low, hard, and deep shots to the corners. Shots that I'd attempt with my regular racket that were low percentage shots, suddenly became high percentage shots. I could easily attack weak serves for example, and put the ball where I wanted, with a full swing and plenty of pace, without fear of it going wide or long.

I didn't mishit any more than usual either, despite the ~70 in.^2 head size.

Here's the thing though -- like I said, this is a heavy racket. It seems a little heavier than the Davis wood racket even, so I'm guessing it is 14+ oz. I was hitting around with my nephew who is a beginner. Given his slow shots, I had plenty of chances to tee-off. So I don't know how well I'd do against a better player, where I need to be able to maneuver the racket and get into position faster in order to return harder shots (the small head size may become more of a liability against harder shots too).

I might be playing someone tomorrow who is older than me, and I've been playing since I was 12 years old, and have never beaten (though I've come close plenty of times). I'll give the Spalding a try and see what happens.

Steve Huff
07-30-2007, 07:59 PM
As much as it looks "solid", I'm fairly certain that it is an extruded aluminum like most others. Pulling off the butt cap would tell you for sure. I dont recall ANY rackets made from solid metal in that day.

MaximRecoil
07-31-2007, 12:07 AM
As much as it looks "solid", I'm fairly certain that it is an extruded aluminum like most others. Pulling off the butt cap would tell you for sure. I dont recall ANY rackets made from solid metal in that day.
You're probably right. The beam the frame was made from looks, feels, and has a heft to it that indicates a solid beam. But, if it is hollow (don't really want to take the butt cap off -- if I'd have thought of it I could have pulled out a grommet [they are all individual] before stringing and looked in there), then it is pretty thick-walled stuff compared to other aluminum rackets I've used. Either way, the racket has quite a heft to it, and a very solid feel when hitting the ball.

I had a cheap Wilson Rally when I was a kid, which was light, thin aluminum and that thing was like a tuning fork when you hit the ball.

Capt. Willie
07-31-2007, 09:43 PM
I hit with the Spalding tonight and I loved it. I didn't expect to like it at all, given the small head size and aluminum construction. I expected a lot of mishits and twangy vibration.

~snip~

Here's the thing though -- like I said, this is a heavy racket. It seems a little heavier than the Davis wood racket even, so I'm guessing it is 14+ oz. I was hitting around with my nephew who is a beginner. Given his slow shots, I had plenty of chances to tee-off. So I don't know how well I'd do against a better player, where I need to be able to maneuver the racket and get into position faster in order to return harder shots (the small head size may become more of a liability against harder shots too).


Nice review. :) Sounds like it was fun to play with. If you have access to a scale, could you weigh it? I'm curious as to the weight.

Fedfan4life
07-31-2007, 10:58 PM
It is an old Spalding racket with a frame made from a solid aluminum beam (not hollow aluminum like some later rackets). The head is standard sized which I guess is about 65 in.^2. The head measures (from the outside of the hoop) about 9 3/4" width x 10 1/2" height (nearly round). It has 64 string holes in total. The overall length of the racket is 26 1/2". I can't find any text on it that identifies the model, only the manufacturer.

I would also like to know if anyone knows the string pattern and recommended string tension for this racket.

Here (http://maxim.skyphix.com/spalding.jpg) are some [poor webcam quality] pictures of the racket.

I bought one of those for 2 bucks in a thrift store. Very heavy.

toddsullivan
01-28-2013, 07:22 AM
Maximrecoil,
Would you be interested in selling your Spaulding smasher? I am the son of the inventor, paul sullivan, and I am putting a display case together to hold his rackets for his 72 b-day. I can't seem to find a first generation of this racket until I saw it here. Please let me know. Much appreciated, Todd

toddsullivan
01-28-2013, 07:23 AM
Maximrecoil,
Would you be interested in selling your Spaulding smasher? I am the son of the inventor, paul sullivan, and I am putting a display case together to hold his rackets for his 72 b-day. I can't seem to find a first generation of this racket until I saw it here. Please let me know. Much appreciated, Todd

MaximRecoil
01-28-2013, 05:03 PM
Maximrecoil,
Would you be interested in selling your Spaulding smasher? I am the son of the inventor, paul sullivan, and I am putting a display case together to hold his rackets for his 72 b-day. I can't seem to find a first generation of this racket until I saw it here. Please let me know. Much appreciated, Todd

I'd rather not sell the racket, as I'm quite fond of it. However, there is one on **** right now which I assume you've already seen (Item number: 271116928694)

Is there some reason you don't want that one? Mine is the same as that one except for the grip size (which I wouldn't expect would matter for a racket only intended for display). Mine is also a "Smasher III" (that's what it says on the head cover), and also has the "S" integrated into the throat bridge. So like the one on ****, mine is probably not what you'd consider a "first generation". The early ones had a plain throat bridge without an "S", and I assume they didn't have a "III" after the name "Smasher", like so:

http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/3991/spaldingsmasherad.jpg

The reason I didn't know the model name of my Spalding racket when I first made this thread several years ago is because where it says "Smasher III" on the head cover is very faded, you can barely make it out if you look closely under good light, and I didn't notice it at the time (it is very faded on the one on **** too, must have been a problem with the type of ink they used to print that particular text).

Tell your father I said happy birthday and that I love his invention. By the way, does he know whether the aluminum was solid or hollow?

(note: for some reason this forum software automatically replaces the name of the famous online auction site with asterisks, but I'm sure you can figure out what I'm referring to)

toddsullivan
01-31-2013, 05:44 AM
Thanks for responding!
I was under the impression that you had one without the "S" in the throat. I am trying to find an original one like in the photo you sent are you able to send a higher resolution image of that ad to toddsull at umich dot edu?

I will ask my dad about the solid vs hollow and get back to you.

MaximRecoil
01-31-2013, 09:55 AM
Unfortunately I don't have a higher resolution picture than the one I posted.

vwfye
01-31-2013, 10:27 AM
The inventor's son? Very cool! Happy Birthday to your father!

coachrick
01-31-2013, 01:34 PM
Since the hairpin is a 'U' beam design, it's not 'hollow' like the Prince Pro or Yonex 7500; but each 'side' of the 'U' is a tubular design. I happen to have one with the butt cap and foam broken off..exposing the end of the hairpin. I can only imagine the swingweight and static weight if this were completely solid !

I played with the original squeaky, rattle-y, loose handle original version with the keystone shaped throat brace. K-Mart was kind enough to replace it when it broke after about two weeks. The replacement was the newer version with the 'S' throat brace and foam handle. The worse-than-Profected nylon strings lasted me less than a week and the grip not much longer. Dad was not happy with this $40 investment that cost another $10 in short order. IF we only knew!!! Good thing I went to work for a tennis shop about three years later!

I thought I was SOMEbody when I showed up with the Smasher instead of all the other shiny steel sticks the other kids had ;) . Even made sure I used the Spalding Professional white balls(with colored seams) to assure harmony :) .

toddsullivan
01-31-2013, 01:45 PM
My dad said, it was not solid but was a double hollow construction with a solid bar in the center. This made the racket lighter, more forgiving and more powerful than Connor's steel T2000.

MaximRecoil
01-31-2013, 02:25 PM
My dad said, it was not solid but was a double hollow construction with a solid bar in the center. This made the racket lighter, more forgiving and more powerful than Connor's steel T2000.

Thanks for the information. The aluminum is definitely thicker-walled than most later aluminum rackets were. I like the extra heft. I think it is a great racket; it feels solid when you hit the ball, and has lots of control.

Sanglier
04-03-2014, 10:17 PM
I normally leave aluminum frames alone when I see them at GW, because they just don't intrigue me the same way early graphites do. However, these two showed up on the same shelf within days of each other, and they reminded me of this thread!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v15/sanglier/SpaldingSmasher1e2sm_zps2d8e6ebf.jpg~original

The second generation frame weighs exactly the same as its first generation antecedent, has the same 'S-less' throat piece, but shows a molded 'S' logo above the grip where the previous one was a flat decal, has improved grommets, and incorporates a denser string pattern that was later carried over into the third generation Smasher. The extra strings seem to shift the balance point ever so slightly closer to the head, marginally raising the swing weight. Decals on the bottom of the throat piece once spelled out the name of the inventor. If it wasn't for this thread, I wouldn't have known that the 'l' in front of 'Sullivan' was part of 'Paul'. However, I still have no idea what the letters "LBA" in the second line stood for.

Below is another interesting photo I came across while scanning through World Tennis, in the same issue where the original Smasher ad made its initial appearance. Who would have thought in 1968 that the age of shiny metal racquets would be so short-lived, or that Stolle and Emerson would become the registered trademark of a California-based tennis merchandiser 17 years after these photos were taken?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v15/sanglier/StolleEmersonSpalding_zpsa7a5f9ce.jpg~original

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ritton07
04-04-2014, 02:06 AM
...I have seen many pictures of Gonzales using the first version of this racquet,
...anyone knows if any other players used the Smasher III model, with "S" on throat? (I'm adding a picture of a NOS one I found)

http://i858.photobucket.com/albums/ab146/ritton07/SpaldingSmasherIII-1PGonzales_zpsd2ba2757.jpg (http://s858.photobucket.com/user/ritton07/media/SpaldingSmasherIII-1PGonzales_zpsd2ba2757.jpg.html)

(Sanglier, many thanks for the great contributions you add - also past ones on that 70s Dunlop graphite one :) )

Sanglier
04-04-2014, 08:04 AM
Very nice, ritton07! Only a handful of us enjoy spending time on these old things; sharing makes it feel more like a hobby, less like a disease. :???:

If one goes by the appearance of magazine ads, then the 'S throat' Smasher didn't come on the scene until 1975. My understanding is that Gonzales was completely done by then. Didn't he play his last tournaments in '72 or '73?

Here are the initial ads for each generation of Smasher in World Tennis (sorry about the quality of the phone camera photos). Note especially the convenient string-counting aid for Smasher II - thoughtfully brought to you by Spalding's marketing department, in case you have Sasquatch-sized finger tips :) :

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v15/sanglier/SmasherAdsSm_zps7994b150.jpg~original

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Sanglier
04-07-2014, 12:50 PM
However, I still have no idea what the letters "LBA" in the second line stood for.

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I wish Todd Sullivan had chimed in by now, but it looks like he lost interest in us after his brief visit here last year. My finds came a little too late to help him with the birthday present search, but it would still be nice to learn more about his dad's work from such a direct source.

After some digging, I learned that LBA stood for "Latham Brefka Associates", an industrial design firm founded by Peter Latham and Paul Brefka in 1963. I can only assume that Paul Sullivan was an associate at LBA.

Nearly all the early patents (mostly container-related) from the firm listed Latham and Brefka as sole inventors, including the two tennis racquet designs that Sullivan worked on. Even though Sullivan was not credited as an inventor in the patent documents, the fact that his name was the only one featured on the products themselves would suggest that he was chiefly responsible for the designs.

The Spalding Smasher patent was applied for in in January 1968 but not granted until December 1971, well after the release of Smasher II, but several years before Smasher III. Less than a year later, in May 1972, LBA was granted their second and final tennis racquet patent - for the Rosewall-endorsed "Seamless" design, which first appeared in magazine ads in May 1971. All Seamco buttcaps feature Paul Sullivan's name and credit LBA with the design, but they are easy to overlook due to the big "S" sticker that tends to partially obscure the embossed lettering:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v15/sanglier/SeamcoPaulSullivan_zps7a39da3a.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/sanglier/media/SeamcoPaulSullivan_zps7a39da3a.jpg.html)


Peter Latham left the partnership in 1988, bringing an end to LBA. However, rather amazingly, Paul Brefka appears to have carried on to this day as the principal of Brefka & Associates, still located in the Greater Boston area, and still providing the same type of service. For a man who began working in 1959, this is some long career!

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NLBwell
04-10-2014, 10:42 PM
My brother played with a Spalding Smasher when we were kids. I remember the first one he played with did not have an S in the throat, but the second one did.

dirtballer
04-17-2014, 12:26 PM
I had one of the early Smashers with the very open string pattern. I used to break strings all the time and I'm not a big hitter. I eventually started using cheap string because I couldn't afford to keep restringing with good string.