Craven Wood Adjustable Tension Racquet

Discussion in 'Classic Racquet Talk' started by rodracquet, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. rodracquet

    rodracquet Rookie

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    USA late 1920's delivered this unique CRAVEN ADJUSTABLE model. This one is under the inventors own name but they also licensed models to other makers.

    Pic one is the throat Pic 2 following is the butt cap wind system.

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  2. rodracquet

    rodracquet Rookie

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    Butt Cap

    As you wind it pulls the rod in the throat up or down.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    I'm glad you got that racket. I remember seeing it on the auction site and I was definately tempted to bid but since it is far earlier that the rest of my collection I passed. Sometimes, like when I see the pictures, I kick myself! :wink:
     
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  4. rodracquet

    rodracquet Rookie

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    I know this isn't wood but just to keep the string going on tension adjustment here is the PROTAGON adjustable tension racquet which came after the MacGregor Berglin (also Protagon design)

    Same style of adjustment butt cap device winds up or down a device inside the handle.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. rodracquet

    rodracquet Rookie

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    The butt cap shot.... so in essence similar to the Craven.

    Next version to add here is the Fischer Tuning models.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. rodracquet

    rodracquet Rookie

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    Found a pic of the Fischer Superform Tuning racquet

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    What a great find this one is, very nice!
     
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  8. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    I got one of these in a trade a couple of weeks ago. It's a different model than Rod's called "Evertite." Here are a few pictures:

    Full racket
    [​IMG]

    Throat with adjuster
    [​IMG]

    Butt
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    These models were very cool at the time especially since many players wanted to patch the expensive nat gut string jobs after a break and with this design, the tension could be loosened, patched, and then retightened.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
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  10. mrw

    mrw Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for posting that. Very high tech for it's day.
     
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  11. gkamieneski

    gkamieneski Semi-Pro

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    When young I used to play tennis with the inventor of the original Spalding Smasher. I know he also collaborated a lot with Howard Head and he had something to do with those Heads that had the red nylon throat bridge.

    Anyway, once when we played, he was preoccupied with a hex key in the buttcap of the racquet he was using. It looked like another of those Head Masters but with this racquet the entire bridge was movable so tightening or loosening with the hex key tightened or loss ended bot mains and crosses at the same time.
     
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  12. Sanglier

    Sanglier Rookie

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    This is very interesting! Was the gentleman you played with Paul Sullivan per chance? His son Todd posted here last year looking for a Smasher to give to his father as a birthday present; perhaps you knew him, too? http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=147336&page=2

    Paul Sullivan presumably worked for Latham Brefka Associates (LBA), which was credited with the Smasher design, as well as several other first generation aluminum frame designs, including the Seamco Ken Rosewall Seamless that went under several different brand names.

    The Head frames on the other hand were produced by the Maark Corporation (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=320247&page=6), which, as far as I was able to tell, had no direct ties to either LBA or Acro - which actually manufactured all of those earlier frames that LBA had designed. Your friend's adjustable tension frame was undoubtedly the Acro "Adjustable". http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=219503

    However, if your friend (Paul Sullivan, or one of his colleagues) worked for both LBA/Acro and Maark Corp, and was instrumental in developing both the Smasher and the 'Red' Head, then that would suggest that a direct link may have existed between LBA/Acro and Maark, or at least a transfer of skills and personnel, such that the second generation aluminum frames (Head, PDP, Prince, etc.) may not have been developed in complete isolation, from scratch, but were in fact part of a continuing R&D effort that began with the Smasher.

    This would actually make sense, as new technologies are a risky business, and talents who work at startups tend to move around quite a bit, in the process spreading what they know to other organizations. I have been researching the beginning of graphite racquet development, and see exactly the same phenomenon taking place there as well.

    Would love to hear what you still remember of your friend and his work, if he is not Paul Sullivan.

    ---
     
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  13. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    Wow, the Fischer Superform Tuning (of 1986) certainly looks to have copied the idea behind the Craven. The Bergelin Longstring (also from roughly 1986, IIRC) took the concept one further with diagonal stringing, a'la some Siegfried Kuebler / Günter Adam @ Völkl designs of the earlier 80's. Seems like TA Davis made a diagonal-strung wood composite mid in the early 80's, too.

    Some wacky racquets here! Better mousetraps all. ;)
     
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  14. Sanglier

    Sanglier Rookie

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    All of the adjustable tension designs can trace their root to the Henry Richardson patent (1879 UK, 1881 US). Richardson had a lot of imagination. He not only came up with several different ways of adjusting string tension, but imagined his frames to have been made using wood, metal, or even ebonite! So at least one person was already contemplating making plastic composite frames around the time Custer was making his last stand, and the British were fighting the Zulus!

    As far as wackiness goes, Retro, I don't think I've seen anything that can top the Henry Goerke effort from 1939/1940:

    [​IMG]


    This is one of the very few patents that somehow eluded Kuebler when he was putting together his book, but he did show an actual frame that was supposed to have been made in Germany in 1939 based on Goerke's design (though it is clearly not the same as the one in the patent drawing above). Goerke and his racquet never made a post-war appearance. The fact that he was a German American from New York, with enough German ties to want to make his invention in Germany rather than in the US, in 1939 no less, may or may not suggest that he was of the political persuasion that could have brought him trouble during and after the war (as a member of the German American Bund perhaps?). Regardless, the 1939 German-made racquet shown in Kuebler's book was clearly well thought-out and way ahead of its time. Too bad Goerke picked a terrible time and place to bring his idea to life...

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    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
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  15. gkamieneski

    gkamieneski Semi-Pro

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    Not Paul Sullivan, but Peter Latham who I played with as a teenager. Peter lived in the Lord Timothy Dexter House in Newburyport and that is probably worth researching in itself.

    Yes, I do recall the term Acro for the adjustable racquet. I also thought the ITF had banned it. I also still believe there was this work being done between Head and Latham.
     
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  16. Sanglier

    Sanglier Rookie

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    Yes indeed! The stuff one learns when researching racquets!

    I just finished reading "A Pickle for the Knowing Ones". How can this man's story not be made into a movie or a mini-series already?! What a fascinating character! As a bonus, I now have a better idea of what New England patois sounded like at the time of our country's founding, even though I may not comprehend it half of the time.

    Thanks for the info on Latham! It certainly adds another interesting piece to the puzzle of racquet technology evolution.

    ------
     
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  17. gkamieneski

    gkamieneski Semi-Pro

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    Incredible coincidence. I was born there.

    I certainly remember him playing much with the red-throated Heads but especially remember waiting to serve to him as he fiddled with the allen wrench in the butt of the racquet!

    These were public courts just down a side street from the "mansion" on stately High Street in Newburyport. Obviously it all left an impression on me.

    Off topic, but with Newburyport involved, you must read Arundel by Kenneth Roberts. He is a forgotten author although his collection along with Dr. Seuss's is housed at Dartmouth college.

    Cheers.
     
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  18. Fearsome Forehand

    Fearsome Forehand Professional

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    It seems the gimmickry in tennis rackets has a long history.
     
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  19. rodracquet

    rodracquet Rookie

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    Great to see some extra information on these odd designs
     
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  20. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    Here is a nice drawing of the Evertite from the 1928 patent application:

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    Another interesting drawing from the Craven Invincible:

    [​IMG]
     
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