Kneissl Silver Arrow - Any information?

I recently picked up another odd racket. I've never seen this particular racket before. Based on the graphite composition and the head size I'm guessing that it dates from the late 1970's, maybe very early 1980's. It wears a WCT (World Championship Tennis) sticker which isn't much help but dates the racket to after 1967 and before 1991. The Butt Cap says "SPORTHAUS/KNEISSL". SportHaus is a sporting goods retailer based in the US State of Washington. Any Kneissl experts have any information about this racket? Here are a few pictures:







 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
It's the second time you've foiled my effort to acquire an important racquet for my book, David. This one has been on my search tab for 5 years! It would seem that in the rare instances where our interests intersect, I am fated to lose out to you, while you end up paying just a little more than (what I considered to be) an outrageous price for the acquisition due to my involvement. :oops:

This racquet is covered by Kuebler in his book(s), though he did not identify it as having been produced by Kneissl, perhaps because the butt sticker is missing on the example in his collection? WCT, like Wimbledon, only licensed their name to racquet makers, they didn't actually make anything on their own.

The man behind this is a German by the name of Wolfgang Rutz. His main objective was to create a more stable frame by increasing the polar moment of inertia, through the alignment of the shaft attachment points with the widest part of the head (the same principle behind the Chris, Andreef Speedshaft, and Hazells Streamline designs). He also worked out a shock absorbing handle contraption, and patented these ideas in Germany, Belgium and the UK between 1971 and 1974. However, the detailed architecture of the Silver Arrow frame was only granted a patent in Germany, in 1975, so I don't think its production could have been earlier than 1973, when that patent application was first submitted.

Per the patent description, the core of the shaft is fiberglass-reinforced polyester, which is sandwiched between two high-modulus carbon fiber strips (like on some graphite-reinforced wooden racquets). The head and bridge portions are further stiffened and reinforced by a wraparound fiberglass shell. In other words, this is a solid core frame, which should explain why it's so skinny.

If this racquet was indeed produced before 1977, it would qualify as the first 100% FRP frame made by Kneissl (hence my eagerness to study it!) I would be most interested in knowing its weight, balance, and flex, if you could measure them. Should you ever decide to give it a go on the court, I'd also be very interested in hearing your impressions afterwards.
 
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retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Elsewhere in Kuebler’s tome, he reports that Kneissl decided to enter into the tennis biz in 1976. However, Dr. Kuebler does not list the Silver Arrow among the production models of 76/77, 77/78, or 78/79.
 
... I would be most interested in knowing its weight, balance, and flex, if you could measure them ...
Hopefully these pictures will help. I don't have any tool to measure flex or twist but the racket is stiffer than it looks but certainly not as stiff as a modern racket. Back in the 70's when this racket was probably made, I used a Davis Classic II. This racket is much stiffer than the Davis. It is probably as stiff as any racket made in the 1970's.

13.8 ounces


Total length 26.75 inches


Balance very slightly head light at 13.5 inches


Head 11.25 inches long


Head 8.75 inches wide
 

rodracquet

Rookie
I also was hoping to find this model but alas David and Sanglier you both blew me out of the water. What I would like to do though is take us back to the mid 1930's with this very similar design made in Spain we believe and used for a short time by UK player H.W. Austin. Likely designed by Donisthorpe given his relationship with Austin and the eventual use of the Streamline tri shaft design picked up by Hazell and continued by new owners Grays in the mid 30's as well.

 
How often do you whiff on a shot, with the ball going through that gargantuan throat?
So, you've seen me play! I'm going to skip the how often do you whiff part of your question. ;) As for the other part, I actually spent a few minutes one day attempting to get a ball to go cleanly through the throat of a Chris Five Star. The opening in the throat of the Chris rackets, while not gargantuan, is at least gigantic!



It was surprisingly difficult to get a ball to go cleanly through the throat without touching the frame. It took me many, many tries. I'll let you decide whether that is my lack of hand-eye coordination or if it is really a difficult feat to accomplish. :unsure:
 
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Tennis Dunce

Semi-Pro
So, you've seen me play! I'm going to skip the how often do you whiff part of your question. ;) As for the other part, I actually spent a few minutes one day attempting to get a ball to go cleanly through the throat of a Chris Five Star. The opening in the throat of the Chris rackets, while not gargantuan, is at least gigantic!



It was surprisingly difficult to get a ball to go cleanly through the throat without touching the frame. It took me many, many tries. I'll let you decide whether that is my lack of hand-eye coordination or if it is really a difficult feat to accomplish. :unsure:
I wonder if it would be legal to drill grommet holes in the throat of these frames and have two string beds??
 

teachingprotx

Hall of Fame
So, you've seen me play! I'm going to skip the how often do you whiff part of your question. ;) As for the other part, I actually spent a few minutes one day attempting to get a ball to go cleanly through the throat of a Chris Five Star. The opening in the throat of the Chris rackets, while not gargantuan, is at least gigantic!



It was surprisingl difficult to get a ball to go cleanly through the throat without touching the frame. It took me many, many tries. I'll let you decide whether that is my lack of hand-eye coordination or if it is really a difficult feat to accomplish. :unsure:
r
Growing up in Louisville We had a pro sponsored “teacher” and he pushed these .. had a lot of ladies playing pretty nice ball wit these . I wish I would have tried them for fun sake ...,I’d imagine you’d get some fun looks swinging these around now as you sure did back then, anyone know if any of these hits nice ball? Any of them soft flexible ? Or all stiffies
 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
r
Growing up in Louisville We had a pro sponsored “teacher” and he pushed these .. had a lot of ladies playing pretty nice ball wit these . I wish I would have tried them for fun sake ...,I’d imagine you’d get some fun looks swinging these around now as you sure did back then, anyone know if any of these hits nice ball? Any of them soft flexible ? Or all stiffies
Wasn't @Virginia a huge fan of these?

- The flagship Executor is 95% graphite, 5% boron. The single example I measured came out to 71 RA

- The Power G is 100% graphite. I have measured a few of these, and obtained readings between 68 RA and 72 RA

- The Competition is 75% graphite, 25% fiberglass. The only example I have is a little worn, and gave an average reading of 56 RA

- The Avenger is 50% graphite, 50% fiberglass. Mine came out to 59 RA

Obviously, the correlation between layup composition and flex is inherently non-linear, even when one discounts ancillary factors like production variance, overall wear and tear, etc. Nevertheless, short of smashing up one of these, I don't think any of them is in danger of living up to your expectations of a "soft flexible" frame, given your well-advertised appetite for wet noodles. :)
 

Virginia

Hall of Fame
Yes, I have all four models (with 3 Competitions, one still unstrung), but have only played with the Competition, which does indeed play very nicely. It seems pretty soft to me. And yes, it does attract attention! And I've never tried to hit a ball cleanly through the throat! :)
 

rodracquet

Rookie
Yes, I have all four models (with 3 Competitions, one still unstrung), but have only played with the Competition, which does indeed play very nicely. It seems pretty soft to me. And yes, it does attract attention! And I've never tried to hit a ball cleanly through the throat! :)
Hi Virginia, hope you are well. I communicate mostly through Facebook with a different global community of collectors.
Cheers
 

hannah1901

New User
Sanglier,
I’m doing some research on the Silver Arrow. We found two of them with an interesting buttcap sticker.
It says: Rutz & Bitzer.
Rutz being the developer and maybe, just maybe...Bitzer being the manufacturer...?
Do you have any info on where Wolfgang Rutz lived when he developed this iconic racket...?
Regards,
Hans Eggink
(previously Hannah19)
 
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Hi Hans,

If it is any help, his tennis racket patents were all filed from Waldbröl, a town in the southern part of the Oberbergischer Kreis in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Specifically, "Selkirk Household Manufacturing 5220 Waldbroel De GmbH".

Here is a link to the patents assigned to Wolfgang Rutz in Waldbröl Germany: Rutz patents

Hope you are well and staying safe!
 

coachrick

Hall of Fame
Thanks for reviving this thread for the racket that appears to be a cross between the Chris Star and the Spalding Orbitech!!!
 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
Bitzer was also from Waldbröl, and was the co-author on one of Rutz's 1974 patents related to this particular racquet design, so their collaboration on this was virtually from the start. This buttcap sticker is the one I would have expected to see on such racquets.

It is the Kneissl sticker that doesn't make sense! Did Bitzer and Rutz get help from Kneissl in the beginning, or did Kneissl license the product from them later on? Did Rutz split from Bitzer to team up with Kneissl? So many possibilities...

There was an Erhard Bitzer from Waldbröl who passed away in 2016 who might have been the man in question. If you are looking for a rabbit hole to explore, Hans, you could reach out to his family to see if anyone there knows the story behind this. This is how my own research got started. It worked, occasionally. :)
 
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