when did the very first composite or graphite racket come out???

Discussion in 'Classic Racquet Talk' started by jimanuel12, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. jimanuel12

    jimanuel12 Semi-Pro

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    and who was the manufacturer?
    it has been too long and i cannot remember.
    i think the first aluminum rackets came out around 1974.
    the wilson T2000 came out around 1970 or maybe 1969.
    but the first composite or graphite, i don't know.
    some help please????
     
    #1
  2. Tennis Man

    Tennis Man Hall of Fame

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    #2
  3. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Aldila Cannon

    The C-6 and Aldila Cannon were the first true graphite racquets, IIRC. I think the Aldila was out before the C-6 but may be mistaken.


    Aldila Cannon

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  4. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Aldila Cannon Pics

    Aldila Cannon

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  5. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    The T2000 came out in 1963.

    As far as the composites go or the first full Synthetics racquets were the HEAD Arther Ashe Competition and the Voelkl Zebra.
    http://80s-tennis.com/pages/voelkl-zebra.html
    http://80s-tennis.com/pages/voelkl-zebra-2.html
    http://80s-tennis.com/pages/voelkl-zebra-3.html
     
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  6. jimanuel12

    jimanuel12 Semi-Pro

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    i did not know that the T2000 came out that early, i thought that it came out in the late 60's or early 70's.
    i first one i saw was in 1970 and it cost $40.00 and man, that was allot of money back in the day.
     
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  7. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    I think the Fansteel Graphite predated the Adila Canon
     
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  8. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Not clear which graphite racket was the first produced but Head was obviously part of this transition as the AA Comp transitioned the metal racket to a composite with the boron filler in between the aluminum plates. A metal sandwich :) I need to consult the Keubler and Cherry books to see what racket(s) they claimed were the first composite(s) ...
     
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  9. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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  10. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    The original Arthur Ashe Competition of about 1971 was a fiberglass core sandwiched between two aluminum sheets. The design was taken from the HEAD Ski of the time.:)
     
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  11. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    OH yeah...the Kawasaki Graphite Ruler was a real early one as well....Cliff Drysdale was the endorser for that frame
     
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  12. schu47

    schu47 Rookie

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    Here's the Trabert C-6 -- according to Kuebler's book, one of the first all-graphite racquets. He has it listed as 1974; the Aldila Cannon is listed as 1976. I haven't heard of any all-graphites earlier than that, but they're probably out there.

    The C-6 was made by a company called ProGroup, Inc. in the USA. There doesn't seem to be much information on the company. This may be the only racquet they ever manufactured. Maybe some other folks on the forum can shed some light on them.

    I have two C-6s, and so have been able to take them out a couple of times to hit with my 18-year-old son. It was a lot of fun. They're great racquets, heavy, solid and well-balanced, and I was amazed at how well we could rally with them -- but we really had to concentrate on our form to hit that little sweet spot. My son was raised on the Babolat Pure Drive, and I think it was good for him to get out and give an old classic a try, gain an appreciation for the level of skill and consistency needed to play with a frame with a 70-in. head.


    [​IMG]
     
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  13. schu47

    schu47 Rookie

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    The Fansteel Graphite and the Kawasaki Ruler both are listed as coming out in 1977.
     
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  14. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    The beforementioned Völkl "Zebra" was the first fully composite (epoxy matrix) racquet, as I recall.
     
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  15. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, the Volkl Zebra is regarded as the first fully composite racquet, it was released in 1973!
     
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  16. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Well it may have been released to the public in 1971!

    But Arthur Ashe won the Australian Open in 1970 with this racquet amazingly, so it was probably around in 1969, at least for the PRO's:)
     
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  17. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Jimbo, is the Zebra 100% graphite (not including the matrix)?
     
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  18. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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  19. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    I think this will answer your question.
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    You are right the Arther Ashe Competition came out in 1970. I was off by a year.:oops:
    [​IMG]
     
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  21. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    I demo'd and broke(in about 5 minutes--one overhead) a Leach graphite racket VERY early on. The handle was some other composition and snapped just at the junction of the handle and the graphite throat. Guess that helped them decide to stick with racquetball. That MAY have been the first 'mostly' graphite model I remember.

    I agree that the AA Comp would qualify as the first 'composite'(as opposed to all metal or wood-based frame), with Voelkl being the first 'all' fiberglass model. Anybody remember that Lorne Greene played with the Zebra? May have been the 'first' celebrity 'must have' racket. Head was very popular with celebs a couple of years later.
     
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  22. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    One of my first coaches had one of those Leach frames; it looked like an adaptation of their successful (and virtually ubiquitous at the time) racquetball frame. I was hitting with the Kneissl White Star Pro Masters at the time and hit his frame and mine back to back one session. I think that Leach still qualifies as the most flexible tennis racquet I've ever experienced - with every impact with the ball, it deflected so severely that it felt like it was hinged in the middle and about to fold up!
     
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  23. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Zebra - 100% fiberglass

    So, the Zebra wasn't graphite (or composite)... it was 100% fiberglass.

    So, back to one of the original question posed in the OP... what was the first 100% graphite racquet.

    Was it the C-6 or the Cannon?
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
    #23
  24. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Sorry, I was way too slow there:???:
     
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  25. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Believe me, I'm embarassed being right about it:oops:

    Would you or anyone else know what racquet Ashe used to win the US Open in 1968?

    It was a wood Wilson, but would be interested to know which one?
     
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  26. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    Over the years, it reminded me of the Stan Smith Autograph...could it have been a Tony Trabert Auto?
     
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  27. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    This racquet?

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
    #27
  28. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks:)

    If I remember from a photo it did look a bit like a SS Autograph!

    It could be a TT Auto, but I've never seen one so I don't know, anyone else?
     
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  29. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    That photo isn't showing for me:(
     
    #29
  30. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Let's help Bud a little ;-)

    [​IMG]
     
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  31. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    Here is another photo of Ashe.
    [​IMG]
     
    #31
  32. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    And another one:

    [​IMG]
     
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  33. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks as usual to Vsbabolat, Ericsson and Bud:)

    Not much doubt then, definitely a TT Autograph!

    Just wondered what it was, as it looked like a SS Autograph, but was different in a photo I saw!

    Does anyone know when the Stan Smith Autograph was first issued please? Stan Smith won the US Open in 1971, was he using the first version of the Stan Smith Autograph by then?
     
    #33
  34. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Jimbo... the racquet in post #32 (TT Auto) is different from the racquet he's using at the USO in posts #30 and 31 :)

    Check out the graphics on the hoop
     
    #34
  35. ericsson

    ericsson Hall of Fame

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    Yes it is but take a look at the signature...
     
    #35
  36. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    LOL:)

    Yes I can see that now!

    Must be 2 different version:)
     
    #36
  37. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks again for spotting the TT Auto:)

    Would you know when the Stan Smith Autograph first was released?

    Stan Smith won the US Open in 1971, and just wondered if he was using the SS Auto by then?
     
    #37
  38. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Does anyone have a good pic of this racquet with the signature?

    I can't read Trabert's signature on any of these frames.

    BTW, I was 6 months old when this pic was taken (b. March 68 ) :shock:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
    #38
  39. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    The Trabert suggestion was a bit of a wild guess. I wasn't playing in '69...started working in the tennis shop in '72. I don't recall ever selling a Tony Trabert model but we had the Stan Smith then...I'm guessing I actually bought my first Stan Smith in '71 but not sure. I didn't know nuthin' 'bout nuthin' back then! :)
     
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  40. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    The "Trabert" sig is just barely visible in this pic.
     
    #40
  41. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Here is one:)

    [​IMG]

    And I was yet to be born (just)!
     
    #41
  42. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    And here is one I've just acquired:)

    [​IMG]
     
    #42
  43. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    Good job! It's interesting, I think, that I started working in a tennis shop in '72, sold many Stan Smith Autos and even a Cliff Richey or two but never even laid eyes on a Trabert. I guess he became old news in a hurry with the tennis boom years! I wonder if he and Wilson had a falling out?
     
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  44. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Yeah that makes sense, I've been doing some research and the Stan Smith Auto basically took over from the Tony Trabert Auto in 71/72, production of the TT Auto seemed to end in 71!

    I'm still trying to find out which racquet Stan Smith played when winning the US Open in 71, if anyone knows, please let me know:)
     
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  45. WORLDWITHINAWORLD

    WORLDWITHINAWORLD New User

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    I had a Tony Trabert c-6 in about 1975.It was the first graphite racket to sell in large quantities in the U.S. The Yamaha 30 and 50 fiberglass had been around for a few years earlier.I thought that the Yamaha 30 played very stiff and the TT c-6 seemed even stiffer. My prior rackets were a t-2000 and a Seamco Ken Rosewell,so maybe I was too used to them.I had been playing only about 3 years and my ground-strokes were weak . I concentrated on serve and volley. I was very satisfied with the way the Ken Rosewell suited me,but it cracked and I had to change frames. The TT c-6 cost $300 retail when it first came out.Thats something like $ 1000 today.I payed $150 for mine. All the good players that tested other c-6 s did not like them - too stiff they said. So ,for an experiment I strung mine with leather power pads on every string-main and cross.These same people liked my c-6.I wanted to like the c-6 ,it was unique and I felt avante -garde playing with it. But it did not like me .Probably because I was not the player that I wanted to be and it demanded.Also, the carbon fibers started to burst out of the top of the frame-like a cancer.It was still playable and I gave it to a friend that was taking up tennis.About this time Prince came out with its first oversized aluminum racket.I started playing with the green aluminum yonex, which suited my game pretty well. Things came full circle this January when I bought 2 unstrung TT c-6 s. I have yet to string them,but I will.Himmmm should I do power pads ?????
     
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  46. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    I would say the majority of the C-6 rackets I worked on were strung with nat gut...the frame was still popular in Atlanta in 1980. Greenie grips and VS gut...I installed a BUNCH of that! The nat gut probably mitigated the high tensions popular at that time. If the Trabert had employed grommets or string strips, it may have stayed around even longer.

    I'd go with a soft multi around 50# or so(unless you want to try nat gut--be sure to tube the throat and first two mains outside the throat.

    IIRC, the MatchMate graphite racket was also sold through ProGroup(who also had a golf division).
     
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  47. WORLDWITHINAWORLD

    WORLDWITHINAWORLD New User

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    Thanks

    Thank you Coachrick. I will,surely,take that advice when I string my TT c-6 's. Not sure who sold MatchMates. I know I liked them. I had a titanium and much later, a graphite. Looking back, I think they would have sold more graphites if they were standard length- 27 inches. I have 2 now, maybe I should cut one down to 27 ? They are not valuable, not being collected. I guess they would be if Michael Chang had used them.
     
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  48. Autodidactic player

    Autodidactic player Semi-Pro

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    Is this the Leach you guys are talking about? I'm afraid to hit with it after your comments!

    [​IMG]
     
    #48
  49. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I do believe that is the one! Careful...
     
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  50. BlueB

    BlueB Hall of Fame

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    100 percent fiberglass epoxy means composite. It implies use of the fibers bonded together in a matrix (epoxy resin). It can have other types of fiber or fillers on the mix, or even sheets of other materials. So the fame goes to Volkl, IMO.

    Artur Ashe would count as a sandwich construction. I do not think the core is fiberglass, but don't feel like researching what kind of solid polymer right now.
     
    #50

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