Lacoste Steel Racquet Question

Discussion in 'Classic Racquet Talk' started by michael_1265, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    I just acquired a nice steel Lacoste from another TT member. I'd like to figure out what year it is. It has a steel band at the top of the handle unlike the wrapped wire of the T series racquets, and it has a hole at the bottom of the handle that looks like it belongs to a vibration dampener, just like the T5000. Does anyone know?
    Thanks.
     
    #1
  2. Sanglier

    Sanglier Rookie

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    Where are all the Lacoste enthusiasts? What happened to Jimbo? He seems to have quit posting a few months ago just 2 posts shy of the 4000 mark. Did he come to his senses? :confused:

    Does the Lacoste in question have a slightly larger head than the Wilson T series? If so, it's probably the RL-010. My buddy in high school bought one new in either '81 or '82 (Kuebler says it's released in '82), and abandoned it a year later in favor of a Snauwaert Dyno. I deeply envied his gear collection back then; which undoubtedly contributed to my sweet sickness today...

    I think it's quite interesting that Lacoste began filing patent applications for his dampeners in '72, and received the US patent in '76, but the T-5000 wasn't released until '78 (the slightly earlier T-4000 had a tungsten-based dampener that was even less effective). It wasn't until Wilson retired the T-series four years later that Lacoste began putting the dampener on his own racquets (the RL-010 being the first). There must have been some agreement between Lacoste and Wilson for the latter to have exclusive rights worldwide to market this technology/gimmick so long as the T-series license was in effect. I have an LT-302 with an intact dampener. To be honest, I hate the way it rubs the bottom of my palm during play, as I prefer a low grip. This makes me wonder how many missing dampeners were the product of true accidents, rather than the manifestation of the frustration suffered by their erstwhile owners. :-?

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  3. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    Thanks for the info. This timeline has Lacoste applying for the patent for the "anti-vibration pad" in 1964. Is this a different feature?

    Mine is just like the one on the left:
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Sanglier

    Sanglier Rookie

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    The '64 pad is just a string dampener. If you scroll down that same time line you can see that the butt dangler is supposed to be a '74 invention, which is actually two years after the recorded filing date of the French patent application (the US version was filed in '73).

    The racquet on the left is for sure an RL-010 (minus the annoying dangler), just like my buddy's. It has that patented string pattern (US application first filed in '79, granted in '83) that can also be found on wooden Lacoste frames of the period, even though some aspect of this particular invention had already been around when Queen Victoria was still alive.

    I noticed while browsing through that Lacoste time line that some of the belles crocodelles in the 1976 ad campaign held steel racquets that featured the dangler. Upon closer inspection, it would appear that those racquets were strung 'conventionally', and were therefore not an early version of the RL-010 (or maybe they were? Maybe the only thing new on the RL-010 was the string pattern?):

    [​IMG]

    However, one thing is for sure - my speculation above that Wilson may have had exclusive right to market the dangler during the T-series era was clearly off the mark, if Lacoste was already selling this thing two years before the release of the T-5000. Perhaps the non-compete clause did not cover the French market?

    Regardless of what you actually have, it was a nice score!

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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
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  5. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    Heh heh... He said, "butt dangler" !!! :shock: :twisted:
     
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  6. Tennis Man

    Tennis Man Hall of Fame

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    "In 1963, Lacoste created a sensation in racquet technology by patenting the first tubular steel tennis racquet. Until then, racquets had almost always been made of wood. This new racquet's strings were attached to the frame by a series of wires, which wrapped around the racquet head. The racquet was marketed in Europe under the Lacoste brand, but in the United States it was marketed by Wilson Sporting Goods and achieved critical acclaim and huge popularity as the Wilson T-2000, used by American tennis great Jimmy Connors.

    The company has created two of the most unique tennis racquets of their time: In 1963, Lacoste designed the first steel(which was distributed in the U.S. by Wilson). 25 years later, Lacoste patented the “Equijet” racquet, whose head resembles a guitar." (source - unknown)

    The dampener came later but I don't know when. Most of the metal ones I have seen came without the dampener, just a Lacoste sticker on the butt cap.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
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  7. frinton

    frinton Semi-Pro

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    I absolutely love this pic ;-) do you have any more of these? And I think the RL-010 is a cool racket ;-) Michael, have you strung up yours and tried it?
     
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  8. Sanglier

    Sanglier Rookie

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    It's not my scan; the image is linked to the original location where I found it. Since it's a decades-old publicity photo, I don't think Lacoste would come after us for sharing and liking it. :) However, If and when the owner of this image decides to remove it, it will be gone. So if you enjoy it, you may want to save a copy.

    Here is one of the companion photos from the same ad campaign, from Lacoste's own image archive. I wonder if this gravity-defying hairstyle will ever make a comeback (it obviated the need for wind to achieve the wind-blown look), or if it's gone the way of chrome-plated objets d'art in the hands of these fetching crocodelles ...

    [​IMG]

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  9. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    Those pics, ooo la la
     
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  10. frinton

    frinton Semi-Pro

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    played the Lacoste?

    Hey Mike
    Have you played with the RL-010 yet? I hope you are enjoying it.
     
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