Discussion in 'Classic Racquet Talk' started by Rorsach, Oct 19, 2008.
Nobody knows where I can find the history of Snauwaert?
What you need to know?
Founded when, why it went under....
Here is a quick summary, i will add more later when i have the time...
In its heyday Snauwaert produced up to 800,000 tennis rackets per day. The company grew from a carpentry, founded in 1929 by Valère Snauwaert. The second generation Karel Snauwaert and Andre Depla Snauwaert made Snauwaert world famous in the tennis world. At the end of the 70’s the turnover came. It was not until early '80 Snauwaert started the production of graphite/composite rackets. Too late. In '85, after the death of Charles Snauwaert production was transferred to Portugal. In '88 Jacques Lierneux of City 7 took over. The beginning of the end because the financial problems of Lierneux’s empire dragged Snauwaert along. In January '92 undertook a group of Flemish investors around Bob Bruloot a last attempt to re-brand Snauwaert an international reputation to deliver without restarting production. Too bad, in 1995 the final curtain fell on Snauwaert.
In 1998 the Dutch sports group Rucanor, founded in 1956, aims to launch Snauwaert rackets again in the tennis world. For marketing and PR they hire Stephen Nardelli (Sport & Ski), the Britisch entrepreneur famous for taking over Donnay 2 years ago.
I think someone misplaced a decimal point somewhere .
I believe Steven(Stephen?) Snauwaert lived in Atlanta in the late '80s. I reckon he would be around his early 60s now. Not sure how close he was to the company.
Thank you very much, really appreciated. You should write a Wikipedia article as it s hard to find this information online! I was always intrigued by Snauwaert but I never got to know its history.
And what about their relationship with Spalding? Did that help cover costs during the '70s or was it somehow a detriment to the company?
For sure it did, infact Spalding acquired part-ownership of Snauwaert-Depla at that time. The production nearly doubled!
Snauwaert-Depla has been one of Spalding's major suplliers of wooden tennis rackets.
Here's an old photo from the original Snauwaert-Depla facility in Belgium
I wish that someone could have bottled the smell of the woodworking shops in the days of full production... Ahhhhhh
It might bear mentioning tha the first generations of graphite-composite frames made still in Belgium still had some wood in them - even their most sophisticated Graphite-Fiberglass-Aramide or Graphite -Fiberglass-Boron composites had a thin ashwood core element to help with feel. They still gave a practical nod to their rich past as they tried to move into the future.
I miss Snauwaert. I still have several Golden Dyno, Golden Mid, Boron Mid, and a few other models from the mid-1980's.
LOTS of nasty glues floating around, I guarantee! I lost a few brain cells when polyurethane flooring first came on the market. Might as well have been sniffing straight toluene chased with naphtha. I think the regs were a little tighter by the time the Rossi factory in Van Buren, Maine shut down. It WAS pretty slick seeing the wood 'blanks' sliced into two rough frames and all the handwork that went in to making a racket from that 'slab'. Of course, the finishes weren't as regulated back then, either...nor was the adhesive used to secure the leather grips. Good thing they had plenty of fresh air right outside the door!
But, yeah, woodworking shops are a blast..I wish I had more talent for it.
Ah yes, definitely can do without the chemical/glue smells. But sawn hardwoods... yesssssss, pleassssse
(I live in Northern California logging country, in the mountains not too far from Yosemite, and there is a wood mill just a mile or so from my property, and when the wind prevails just so on a nice evening...)
This knowledge should be on Wikipedia...
Snauwaert manufactured for several brand names besides Spalding such as Lacoste, Fila, Forehand, Daniel Hechter, early Rucanor's, Tretorn, Temzo and later their own sub brand Vitas.
Some Fila composites that were made by Snauwaert also featured the woodcore technology.
I still haven't snagged my first Snauwaert. 800,000 rackets a DAY? No way.
You are correct retro, the smell of wood is so attractive, here's an other one from the Snauwaert Depla factory, circa 1950
I know you're a nostalgic person...
A good friend of míne would kill for pics like this taken in his favourite brand manufacturing plant.
He is an avid collector of rackets of the Dutch "Pinguin" brand.
Unfortunately there is little to be found on internet about this brand allthough they were big in the 1950-60's exporting tons of rackets to the US and Canada.
Thank you for the photo! Look at those stacks and racks of unfinished frames!
I like playing with a graphite composite frame from the 80's or early 90's, but the craftsmanship and use of natural materials exemplified in that photograph makes me feel rather emotional... It's so close to being a lost art now, like adjusting a carburetor or filing the points on an old Mercedes.
The civilized world has become so much less civilized in the last 50 years.
Btw I remember those Fila frames... They looked good but I was too small to play them.
I've been looking at photos of the old Snauwaert frames on 80s tennis and memories are coming back to me. I remember those graphite dynos were really good looking and the orbit too.
Does anyone have any information about the Snauwaert Open mid?
Is it Wood/Graphite? And is it worth buying for 20 bucks? (2pcs)
Here are some pics:
Those are quite rare. I think it's well worth the asking price.
But are they made of wood?
Yes, wood with graphite reinforcement. One of their last wood frames. By the graphics scheme, dates from circa 1982-1985, though I do not see it in their official 1984 catalogue.
Great, thx. Any idea where I could find more information about it? (Specwise)
Snauwaert was unique in the racquetsports industry in that they provided the actual specs of each racquet, engraved on the shaft!
Look for three numbers, machine-engraved there: the first is the grip size number, followed by total unstrung weight in grams, then unstrung balance point in millimeters.
If you want swingweight or stiffness, you'll probably on your own. It'll be very flexible, and likely have a big swingweight as it will likely weigh >370g, strung.
Ok, I just bought them. Expecting them to arrive tomorrow or the day after.
Will post pics and specs as soon as I have them.
Weird thing is that I cannot find a single piece of information about the sticks. It's like they never existed.
Snauwaert made soooooo many frames, hard to keep records of all of them..
Loved my Snauwaert Brian Gottfried (1980) until I hit an overhead and it snapped in half. :cry: Beautiful racket. Also remember the Snauwaert Jan Kodes at about the same time. Both beautiful rackets that played well (right at the end of the wood era).
Just played a 'Woodie' tournament where everyone had to use small headed, single shafted wood racquets, and wear all white (with long pants no less) and use white balls. I used the Brian Gottfried Flex that had the tapered throat (like many of the TAD racquets). I had it strung up with gut at 25 kgs before the tournament and I have to say it felt good. I had played with the Caravelle before, which is one of my fav old school woodies, and the Gottfried without the tapered shaft, but this one was fun to hit with. It's still in my bag right now along with the high tech graphite racquets I'm contracted to use.
Am i the only one that thinks natural gut plays so much better in vintage rackets (woodies) VS modern (graphite) rackets? :mrgreen:
No, I think you are in the majority of old school players who feel the same. Poly string do not really start showing an advantage until used in modern rackets with larger heads (>90si) and thats when playing the modern game that is based on the baseline and power hitting.
Hi All, great thread. I have a much-loved ATP Tour 103 that I'd like to fit with a new grommet/headguard set. Has anyone ever sourced sets for this series? Cheers
Just did a search on "snauwaert eclipse" and none came up in this thread so think its a great addition to this The Snauwaert fan club thread ...
Here is the marketing info :
For some years now, most manufactures have been tackling
the seemingly impossible: increas the power of the rackets without
imparing the touch and without generating high-frequency vibrations!
Increasing rigid modern rackets are turning into downright "tuning forks",
generating exceptionally harmful shock waves for the muscle and tendon
tissue of the arm. SNAUWAERT has found the solution to this daunting
problem thanks to a combination of two exclusive patents !
This racket has a top & bottom damper rods built in the shock absorbing
shaft "shock absorber"
Enjoy a view:
Great idea, Joe, but try searching with "Snauwaert Ellipse," not eclipse... ;-)
I believe these have a lot in common with the Jeannot and Jeanrot frames, thugh they collapse (!!!). Any rate, Snauwaert's last gasp. Neat racquets, but too little, too late for the venerable artisan manufacturer.
Jeanrot was issued a French patent in '85, and a US patent in '88, whereas the Ellipse was released in the '90s, so there is no doubt which one came first. Nevertheless, Snauwaert could argue that there was no infringement, because they specifically instructed their customers not to dismantle the Ellipse, unlike the Jenrot.
What I find most interesting is the fact that these all say "Made in Europe", with a bunch of EU stars framing that proud declaration. But why "Europe" and not the name of the actual country - which I gather was Bulgaria? There is no "Made in Asia" or "Made in North America", and I have yet to come across any other product labeled "Made in Europe". Bulgaria didn't even join the EU until the late 2000's. It's almost as if those Snauwaert execs were trying to have it both ways - they wanted the prestige of a European-made product at minimal cost, but they didn't want people to know where they actually sourced the product from. Why? Was Bulgaria too poor? Not known for quality products? Those guys probably believed that racquets labeled "Made in Europe" could fetch more than those labeled "Made in Taiwan", which would in turn outsell those labeled "Made in Bulgaria", maybe even in Bulgaria.
If I were Bulgarian, I would have felt more than a little insulted by this rather public snub.
Hmm. I thought the latter Snauwaert racquets were made in either Portugal ("made in Europe!"), or, as with their ATP line, made in Taiwan. I hadn't heard of any racquets made in Bulgaria.
You got me, Retro, I don't know where or how the Bulgaria idea got into my head, but it's been there long enough that it had burrowed a semi-permanent home in my memory, from which it is being evicted as a result of your timely intervention!
I probably should have done a search before posting the above, but the point I was trying to make would (mostly) stand regardless of the identity of the country.
So then, what's wrong with "Made in Portugal"?
I may be able to add a tiny bit to this thread. The Jeanrot racket says "Made by Snauwaert" on the throat. It is not designed to come apart but rather to be folded. The Jenro, on the other hand, was made by an independent company. I don't think they had any affiliation with Snauwaert - at least there is no marking on any of my Jenro rackets indicating an affiliation with Snauwaert. The Jenro was designed so that the grip was removable. Here are pictures of each racket:
Jenro (much more common)
It's beginning to make sense now. I didn't realize that Patrick Jeanrot had his foldable frame made by Snauwaert. Thanks for pointing this out! I am guessing that there must have been some sort of licensing arrangement.
Jeanrot authored two patents, the 1985/1988 one looked like a proof-of-concept exercise, whereas the later one from 1990/1994, which focused on the manufacture of the grip, was illustrated using the production model that Snauwaert made for him. I think it's telling that he did not assign the later patent to Snauwaert; which suggests that either Jeanrot was very protective of his IP, or Snauwaert chose not to buy it from him because they had other ideas.
The fact that the folding frame was so short-lived, and that Snauwaert made the Ellipse (which was essentially the Jeanrot minus the hinge mechanism) soon afterwards, lead me to suspect that Jeanrot and Snauwaert did not part company on amicable terms. I know of another instance like this involving two early graphite racquet makers in the US. I guess this is a fairly common occurrence in business negotiations between individuals and corporations. Sometimes it's the corporation taking advantage of the individual entrepreneur, sometimes it's the entrepreneur holding firm to unreasonable demands.
The later Jenro frame is emblazoned with both Jeanrot patent numbers, even though it doesn't fold. I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to assume that this was Jeanrot's belated effort to make the racquet on his own. The elimination of the hinge mechanism made it much easier to swap heads/grips (one of the main selling points of this design), and no doubt reduced the manufacturing cost. Either that, or some Taiwanese/Chinese entrepreneur took a liking to this design and licensed it from Jeanrot.
Of course, now that both Jeanrot patents have expired, Dunlop has come up with the iDAPT - an Ellipse with more sophisticated rubbery bits, a Jenro that doesn't come with a personal key!
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