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Virginia
01-27-2009, 01:03 PM
Anyone know anything about this racquet? Kuebler's book simply says "more information is needed". To my mind, it's a very handsome racquet and has a very nice feel to it.

http://i43.tinypic.com/voaq09.jpg

VGP
01-27-2009, 01:10 PM
Ooh, that's a blast from the past, I totally forgot about the Lobster brand. Sorry, don't know much about them.

I remember they also made ball machines....

plasma
01-27-2009, 02:36 PM
high end brand from bitd.

Virginia
01-27-2009, 06:55 PM
bitd?

*didn't meet 10 char rule*

plasma
01-27-2009, 07:52 PM
Virginia, bitd=Back in the Day, Lobster also made ball machines I believe, bitd these things cost an arm and a leg, back then rt laser, bard, lobster, and 20 other small brands made unique players racquets with innovation in mind (as opposed to selling out), those were the good old days....

vsbabolat
01-27-2009, 07:58 PM
MatchMate was another ball machine brand that had a very nice racquet.

plasma
01-27-2009, 09:03 PM
exactly, matchmate is a perfect example, uniqueness is a lost value in modern designs....

Bud
01-28-2009, 10:11 AM
A far as the head shape... it looks like many of the PK 90 frames produced in the 80's.

plasma
01-28-2009, 11:28 AM
it does look like a copper ace...yet PK were very inexpensive....these things were outrageously marked up and high end...

khw72004
10-26-2009, 11:42 AM
Anyone know anything about this racquet? Kuebler's book simply says "more information is needed". To my mind, it's a very handsome racquet and has a very nice feel to it.

http://i43.tinypic.com/voaq09.jpg

I found place that is selling these brand new. If anyone wants one let me know and I would be willing to pick it up for you.

Virginia
10-26-2009, 12:09 PM
Email sent. :)

vwfye
10-26-2009, 03:26 PM
copper ace with a different paint scheme

vwfye
10-26-2009, 03:27 PM
i went to college with the daughter of the MatchMate company owner. nice product they sold, nice family

galain
10-27-2009, 12:53 AM
exactly, matchmate is a perfect example, uniqueness is a lost value in modern designs....

I remember seeing the ads in the magazines but in Oz we never had the luxury of the real deal unfortunately.

But as a side not to what Plas has written - this is something that I can get quite melancholy about if I overthink it. This move to heterogenity and same-ness really is a sign of the times. I know I'm an old fogey as far as racquets go in the eyes of some of the boards newer members, but my God, is all of society feeling such a need to be so generic? Does it really make people feel safe? I'm living over here on the edge of the Black Forest now, in a town of close to 20 000, and the thought of a shopping mall horrifies people. Chain stores are looked down on and people still delight in the personal relationship between a customer and proprietor.

I despair that this will last - the world moves on, as it does. But as Plaz said above, uniqueness is fast becoming an anachronism and it saddens me terribly.

Sorry - there's my rant for the day. Didn't mean to lower the tone!

jimbo333
10-27-2009, 02:49 AM
You've raised it mate!

I agree completely:)

And sounds cool living on the edge of a Black Forest!

Virginia
10-27-2009, 12:35 PM
Me too!

10 chars

racquetfreak
10-27-2009, 02:02 PM
hey Virginia,
would you repost your picture of the racket as it doesn't show up for me.
thanks

Virginia
10-27-2009, 10:05 PM
Ok - here ya go.


http://i43.tinypic.com/voaq09.jpg

racquetfreak
10-28-2009, 02:36 AM
Ok - here ya go.


http://i43.tinypic.com/voaq09.jpg

it is a beauty - thanks, Virginia

Hannah19
08-22-2012, 07:21 AM
Let's revive this thread and discuss the smal manufacturers from the 1980's.
I just found two n.o.s. Scepter frames that were made from a solid graphite/kevlar mix, not a hollow or foam filled core.
The company was based near L.A., anyone that remembers them?

retrowagen
08-22-2012, 08:11 AM
Yes, I remember those Scepters. Even in California in the mid-1980's, those were very rare. I only saw them in advertisements. It looks as though they were the most aerodynamic racquet ever made, with the thinnest beam cross-section too.

Hannah19
08-22-2012, 10:07 AM
Yes, Retro, only a fraction thicker than the Durafiber's throat section but then all over the frame.
Nice slogan too on the insert: "By Royal Proclamation" etc.
Even had cross-sections from Head and Prince on it to show the difference....!!

skhong248
09-07-2012, 07:35 AM
I used to be sponsored by Lobster as a junior back in the 80's.
This particular model was the Lobster Composite, sold for $75USD and was reviewed by World Tennis Magazine which gave it, if I remember, a 10.8 on Sweet Spot size. It had an 80/20 composition, and a synthetic grip.

They also had the second generation Lobster Graphite. If anyone remembers, the 1st generation Lobster Graphite looked like an elognated Wilson Sting.
The second generation Lobster Graphite was the same mold, was a black frame (vs dark brown for the Lobster Composite), and was a bit stiffer and sold for $90 USD.

And there was the Lobster Ceramic, which was the same mold but had a lobster Red frame.

Also, there was a Lobster Magnesium frame with a nylon/plastic neck much like the Prince Magnesium.

They moved into the widebodies with the Lobster Citation Comp and the Lobster Citation.

I miss these rackets, I used to sell a bunch of them to my friends for dirt cheap, since I was getting them for free.
If anyone knows where I can get ANY of the Lobsters, please inbox me!!!

Sanglier
12-12-2012, 10:05 PM
As there doesn't appear to be a dedicated Scepter thread, and Hans had already hijacked this one for his Scepters months ago, I thought it would be ok to add these to the mix. :)

Both were harvested from the bay during my recent binge trawling.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v15/sanglier/Scepters12.jpg


Even after reading about these frames on this board, I was still surprised by how frail-looking they are in the flesh. The hoop on the XL was probably not quite so flat-topped and lopsided when it left the factory, but it is definitely less ovoid than that of the XL-2 by design. Both sticks seem to play fine however.

My question is, was the XL-2 introduced as a successor of the XL, or was it just a slightly heftier and more indolent stablemate of the latter? Also, did Scepter stay in business long enough to make any XL-3s or 4, 5, 6s?

cork_screw
12-20-2012, 10:54 PM
Hmmm. I really like lobster. Too bad it was a racquet. It doesn't work in reverse for me.

fortun8son
12-23-2012, 03:18 AM
Just got a Lobster Citation from the bay.
Havent seen it yet.

Hannah19
12-23-2012, 02:13 PM
As there doesn't appear to be a dedicated Scepter thread, and Hans had already hijacked this one for his Scepters months ago, I thought it would be ok to add these to the mix. :)

Both were harvested from the bay during my recent binge trawling.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v15/sanglier/Scepters12.jpg


Even after reading about these frames on this board, I was still surprised by how frail-looking they are in the flesh. The hoop on the XL was probably not quite so flat-topped and lopsided when it left the factory, but it is definitely less ovoid than that of the XL-2 by design. Both sticks seem to play fine however.

My question is, was the XL-2 introduced as a successor of the XL, or was it just a slightly heftier and more indolent stablemate of the latter? Also, did Scepter stay in business long enough to make any XL-3s or 4, 5, 6s?

I doubt it...!
Anyway, did you string these up and if so, do I see shared holes in the XL 2?

Sanglier
12-23-2012, 10:55 PM
I doubt it...!
Anyway, did you string these up and if so, do I see shared holes in the XL 2?

These came strung. The XL has two pairs of shared holes at the bottom and none at the top. The XL-2 has one pair of shared holes at the bottom and two pairs at the top, though the very top cross looks rather superfluous to me.

I finally managed to find a copy of Kuebler at a reasonable price last month, but it's the 1995 German edition, which is a third thinner than the 2000 American edition (423 pp instead of 635 pp). The book took six weeks to get here from Germany (I had already written it off as lost), but at least I can now look up obscure manufacturers and see what was produced when.

In this '95 edition, Kuebler seems to claim that all Scepter racquets were made in Taiwan and imported into the US circa 1984. This is quite a bit later than I had expected. I had also been under the impression that these frames were made in the US somehow, even though the cover on my XL is clearly labeled 'Made in Taiwan'.

I am curious whether Kuebler had expanded on what he had written about this maker in the 2000 American edition or the 2010 update.

Despite the frail appearance of the frames, both the XL and XL-2 seem to be solid performers that offer good control and surprising power, with virtually no vibration at all. Of the dozen or so oldies that I picked up at about the same time, only the MatchMate Graphite felt noticeably better on the court. The biggest disappointment of the bunch? Tony Trabert Big Bubba. I don't know if it's the old string job or what, but that thing was thoroughly sluggish and vibrated like a tuning fork.

vsbabolat
12-24-2012, 04:51 AM
These came strung. The XL has two pairs of shared holes at the bottom and none at the top. The XL-2 has one pair of shared holes at the bottom and two pairs at the top, though the very top cross looks rather superfluous to me.

I finally managed to find a copy of Kuebler at a reasonable price last month, but it's the 1995 German edition, which is a third thinner than the 2000 American edition (423 pp instead of 635 pp). The book took six weeks to get here from Germany (I had already written it off as lost), but at least I can now look up obscure manufacturers and see what was produced when.

In this '95 edition, Kuebler seems to claim that all Scepter racquets were made in Taiwan and imported into the US circa 1984. This is quite a bit later than I had expected. I had also been under the impression that these frames were made in the US somehow, even though the cover on my XL is clearly labeled 'Made in Taiwan'.

I am curious whether Kuebler had expanded on what he had written about this maker in the 2000 American edition or the 2010 update.

Despite the frail appearance of the frames, both the XL and XL-2 seem to be solid performers that offer good control and surprising power, with virtually no vibration at all. Of the dozen or so oldies that I picked up at about the same time, only the MatchMate Graphite felt noticeably better on the court. The biggest disappointment of the bunch? Tony Trabert Big Bubba. I don't know if it's the old string job or what, but that thing was thoroughly sluggish and vibrated like a tuning fork.

Where the cover was made and where the racquets was made dont usually have any correlation. Also that Kuebler book should not be taken as the gospel. Lots of errors in it.

Hannah19
12-24-2012, 10:15 AM
Where the cover was made and where the racquets was made dont usually have any correlation. Also that Kuebler book should not be taken as the gospel. Lots of errors in it.

I agree, Kuebler got a lot of info from other collectors and copy/pasted most of it. There are plenty of errors in it but nothing major. It's still my "bible" and together with the knowledge I gained over the years it's a valuable source of information.

Virginia
12-24-2012, 10:46 AM
Have you also got the Supplement?

retrowagen
12-24-2012, 10:56 AM
I agree, Kuebler got a lot of info from other collectors and copy/pasted most of it. There are plenty of errors in it but nothing major. It's still my "bible" and together with the knowledge I gained over the years it's a valuable source of information.

I still need to buy a copy of Kuebler's book. My memory banks are starting to fail, I need back-up! :)

PBODY99
12-24-2012, 05:59 PM
Tony Trabert Big Bubba. I don't know if it's the old string job or what, but that thing was thoroughly sluggish and vibrated like a tuning fork.
It wasn't the string job on the one I tried back in the day. The owner loved it, but at 6' 5" and a solid 265 lbs he played with a very different style, as his frame before this one was a 8 Heavy, Dunlop Fort. Yes,I mean the grip was a five inch handle.

Sanglier
12-24-2012, 08:31 PM
I hope Virginia would not mind the continued dilution of this thread, but just to flesh out what had already been mentioned above, here are the two racquets that are outwardly similar, but which turned out to be night and day in terms of playing characteristics in my own experience:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v15/sanglier/MMvsTTBB.jpg


The swing weight of both sticks significantly exceed their actual weight (as is expected for neutral or head-heavy frames). In the case of the MatchMate, the heftier swing weight seems to add stability to the strokes; whereas the Tony Trabert just feels like a softball bat with a wobbly head. However, it is undoubtedly true that someone with a different swing style may come away with a completely different impression than mine.

I was hoping that Kuebler would have some interesting stories to tell about these makers, but in the German edition at least, MatchMate, Tony Trabert and Scepter, as well as Lob-ster for that matter, were all among the brands that were given token coverage only, with little more than the address of the maker/distributor and a list of model names under each entry, and no illustration or descriptive text to go with them. My guess (hope?) is that he went into more detail about this class of makers in the later American edition; which would account for the massive page count inflation.

Hannah19
12-25-2012, 04:04 PM
Have you also got the Supplement?

Yes, signed by the Master himself..:)

retrowagen
12-25-2012, 10:07 PM
I was hoping that Kuebler would have some interesting stories to tell about these makers, but in the German edition at least, MatchMate, Tony Trabert and Scepter, as well as Lob-ster for that matter, were all among the brands that were given token coverage only, with little more than the address of the maker/distributor and a list of model names under each entry, and no illustration or descriptive text to go with them. My guess (hope?) is that he went into more detail about this class of makers in the later American edition; which would account for the massive page count inflation.

I know Lob-Ster started as a manufacturer of ball machines, and diversified into tennis racquets briefly circa 1983-1987. Wasn't MatchMate a big manufacturer of ball machines or nets, or court equipment of some sort, before also making the leap into graphite racquet manufacture before then bowing out? When composite technology caught on, it was a madhouse with lots of "better mousetraps" coming from the freedom brought with the new material and manufacturing technology. Unfortunately, Prince Manufacturing held the patent to the headsize spectrum, so everybody had to license and pay royalties to Howard Head. That guy was a wickedly shrewd businessman! Of course, these smaller companies seldom could afford advertising, or giving sponsorships, and distribution was often quite sparse. At the same time, the bigger companies could afford more money for R&D for more favorable profit/overhead per unit, and pump in the money for advertising and sponsorship to get the name known and desired.

Even technically interesting and decent-playing frames like the Sceptre were doomed from the start.

Hannah19
12-26-2012, 03:19 PM
I know Lob-Ster started as a manufacturer of ball machines, and diversified into tennis racquets briefly circa 1983-1987. Wasn't MatchMate a big manufacturer of ball machines or nets, or court equipment of some sort, before also making the leap into graphite racquet manufacture before then bowing out? When composite technology caught on, it was a madhouse with lots of "better mousetraps" coming from the freedom brought with the new material and manufacturing technology. Unfortunately, Prince Manufacturing held the patent to the headsize spectrum, so everybody had to license and pay royalties to Howard Head. That guy was a wickedly shrewd businessman! Of course, these smaller companies seldom could afford advertising, or giving sponsorships, and distribution was often quite sparse. At the same time, the bigger companies could afford more money for R&D for more favorable profit/overhead per unit, and pump in the money for advertising and sponsorship to get the name known and desired.

Even technically interesting and decent-playing frames like the Sceptre were doomed from the start.

I have a Kneissl Aero...35 or something like that, that has several "Prince" patents incorporated but it's not an Oversized frame....wonder what those patents are..:)

vsbabolat
12-26-2012, 04:36 PM
I know Lob-Ster started as a manufacturer of ball machines, and diversified into tennis racquets briefly circa 1983-1987. Wasn't MatchMate a big manufacturer of ball machines or nets, or court equipment of some sort, before also making the leap into graphite racquet manufacture before then bowing out? When composite technology caught on, it was a madhouse with lots of "better mousetraps" coming from the freedom brought with the new material and manufacturing technology. Unfortunately, Prince Manufacturing held the patent to the headsize spectrum, so everybody had to license and pay royalties to Howard Head. That guy was a wickedly shrewd businessman! Of course, these smaller companies seldom could afford advertising, or giving sponsorships, and distribution was often quite sparse. At the same time, the bigger companies could afford more money for R&D for more favorable profit/overhead per unit, and pump in the money for advertising and sponsorship to get the name known and desired.

Even technically interesting and decent-playing frames like the Sceptre were doomed from the start.

MatchMate was ball machines too.

Sanglier
01-23-2013, 01:51 PM
I have become quite a fan of these MatchMate racquets, and have begun hoarding them as a precautionary measure against their known fragility. As the size of my "spare reserve" has grown, so has the temptation to mess with these things. :twisted:

The grommets on a couple of my frames have turned into crispy crunch, so I decided to see what it would be like to make a "Mad Match Mate" out of one. This is what I ended up with:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v15/sanglier/MMM.jpg


My goal was to use all the holes while minimizing the number of shared holes, keeping the string lengths relatively uniform, allowing some density gradient in the string bed but not too much, and avoiding sharp string exit angles as much as possible. As I had to rely on my Serrano for this, much of the job was done with creative (often awkward) fly-clamping, along with lots of tubing; which undoubtedly resulted in some tension loss here and there. However, as a self-amusement project, it worked out pretty much as I had envisioned it to.

I used a pack of vintage Atasco OS-280 for this, at 50 lbs, which is the minimum recommended by the manufacturer. The functional test results? A resounding "Meh". :-?

I don't know if it's my frankenstein pattern or the old strings, but the feel on some of the conventionally strung frames that came to me with 65 lbs (kevlar) mains is infinitely better than my experiment in every conceivable way. It really does seem to me that these MatchMates were designed to perform best at higher tension ranges, even though they are structurally weaker in some spots than they perhaps need to be to reliably sustain this level of stress, thus putting their owner in a bit of a quandry when trying to choose between preservation and performance.

Thankfully, there is always that third option - hoarding. :)

Hannah19
01-23-2013, 03:20 PM
Looks funky though...:)
I like experimenting with strings too but nothing came out looking as good as yours..!!

Sanglier
01-23-2013, 06:01 PM
Thanks, Hans. I think I enjoy experimenting even more than playing, given that my playing abilities have never progressed past the mediocre phase... It's probably why I am so fond of the '80s -- tons of design experiments that looked funky and promising on paper, but which turned out to be less revolutionary Wunderwaffe than mediocre dead-end on the court. I (and they) play an essential role in tennis evolution, namely by allowing those who know what they are doing with a racquet to look good through comparative contrast :)

Before I secured my victim to the Serrano, I sketched out more than a half dozen patterns on paper and picked the one that looked the most promising. The rest were way worse!

Sanglier
01-26-2013, 10:31 PM
One more post about these MatchMates before I shut up, as I have not come across this information in the forum archive or anywhere else.

It has been mentioned before on these boards that the Dunlop Black Max Plus is quite similar to the MatchMate, in that both are 28"+ sticks. What I did not know until just recently is that the resemblance between these racquets is far from superficial or coincidental. In fact, the Black Max Plus and the early MatchMate Graphite are exactly the same racquet underneath the paint:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v15/sanglier/DunlopBlackMaxPlusAndEarlyMMSm.jpg


I learned of this through the man who sold me nearly all of his remaining MatchMates, along with a Black Max Plus. He has been playing competitively since the '70s, and was contracted to Dunlop at one point (maybe Coachrick would remember him and can confirm this?). He had a two-handed forehand at that time, and wanted a longer stick to accommodate his unusual needs. He was in the process of signing with MatchMate, which had secured the mold for the Graphite from a Taiwanese vendor. However, before his contract with Dunlop expired, he was obligated to play under Dunlop colors. As a result, the MatchMate Graphite was first introduced to the world dressed up as the Dunlop Black Max Plus (anyone who has handled one of these can attest to the fact that its build quality is not very 'Dunlop-like'). Once our player's Dunlop contract expired, the very same racquet was given a new paint job, and the MM Graphite was properly born.

The Black Max Plus and early MM Graphite have a super skinny sub-16 mm box beam, along with a bi-concave bridge. Indeed, they are such a close match with the Tony Trabert Big Bubba dimensionally (just 1" shorter than the latter in the grip area, with a slightly different beam cross section and hole pattern) that I suspect they are either direct descendants of the TTBB, or at least brothers from a different mother.

Subsequent versions of the MM Graphite became bigger-boned and had a flat bottomed bridge, undoubtedly as a result of an on-going effort to address the fragility issue. In total, I have come across no less than 5 variants of the MM Graphite based on structural features alone. I can only guess as to what the chronological order of their introduction was, but the very last model is almost certainly the beefiest variant, which also happens to be nearly a centimeter shorter than the earlier models. It has a teal accent stripe in lieu of the earlier grass-green one, so it's quite easy to tell apart from the rest even from a distance. Interestingly, this very last model of the MM Graphite restored the neutral balance and swing weight of the second bumperless model, which were altered when the bumper was first introduced. However, several hairline fractures at the top of this frame suggest that despite the reinforcements incorporated into the updated design, it too, never quite conquered the fragility demon.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v15/sanglier/EvolutionAnotatedSm.jpg


Anyway, I am a sucker for startup stories. The Golden Age of tennis racquet startups had probably come to a close a good while ago (if giants like Prince can file for Chapter 11, one has to be clinically deranged to jump into this line of business today); I just hope that these tales will not be lost or forgotten before someone somewhere has had a chance to write them down...

slowfox
04-01-2013, 03:50 PM
Reviving this old thread. I got to hit with the Lobster Graphite Composite today. Good solid stick. Around 90 sq in, 16 x 19 pattern. Build quality is very nice. Understated design, beautifully finished. I believe they were marketed as high-end, luxury racquets back in the day.

Overall, a nice quality frame. Good at everything, but no stand out feature. Although I did seem to get some extra pace on 1st serves, it was nothing exceptional. As is often the case with any racquet, when you hit the sweetspot it feels amazing. Not super flexible as one might expect from an 1980s composite. Gonna guess it's probably only 20% fiberglass with the rest being graphite.

Overall, just a solid racquet. Reliable in all departments, but no particularly special area. Fun to hit once in a while, but I might not use it as my main stick. Then again, who knows? It may grow on me. Plus I think it may be a bit string/tension sensitive. More testing needed.