When I signed up here almost a dozen years ago, I didn't even know enough to be cognizant of my own ignorance. It's the lively and informative discussions here by people like you that inspired me to look into the history of racquet development, specifically the birth of graphite frames in the 1970s.
I started with a patent survey (before I found out that Kuebler had already done one long ago and had included its summary in his book), after which I reached out to some of the inventors directly, or (if they were no longer with us) talked to those who had worked with them or known them personally. Without exception, every person I was able to reach was more than gracious in entertaining my trivial questions, giving me more reason to take the project seriously. As a lifelong admirer of clever and driven people who create and build things, I find the stories of tool-inventors and tool-makers just as interesting, if not more inspirational, than the celebrated exploits of extraordinary tool-users.
My ambition was (is) very limited. The initial goal was to tell the story of a few long-forgotten manufacturers based in SoCal only. However, history cannot be understood without context; the breadth and depth of which are only limited by one's willingness to explore, because as the cliché goes - everything is ultimately tied to everything else. It wasn't long before I realized that for this story to stand on its own, it needed to be properly contextualized; which meant expanding my focus to include innovators beyond SoCal, collecting and analyzing more "physical evidence", and (consequently) falling down more and more rabbit holes. An inescapable side effect of learning new things is to realize just how little one actually knows, and how easily one's conceits and beliefs can be upended by seemingly minor discoveries. Do you remember that Donnay 3-SET you gave me all those years ago? It started me down one such rabbit hole, the bottom of which I have yet to reach, even though Michel Guilluy's manuscript carried me most of the way there.
The upshot of all this is that I have been floundering a bit for a number of years now, in contrast to the quick progress I experienced when picking all the low-hanging fruits in the beginning. Nevertheless, I am committed to completing this project soon, if for no other reason than to fulfill the pledge I had made to all those who so generously contributed to my effort, including you, and to bring relief to my long-suffering wife, who had allowed me to requisition an entire room for "physical evidence" storage, in exchange for an assurance that it was for focused research and not pathological hoarding. Now that shame has become a dominant motivating factor in my drive to finish, I'll have to accept my limitations and live with the fact that the end product will be something well short of my already narrow aspirations, yet it should still be able to fill some gaps in our collective awareness, and more importantly, give overdue acknowledgement to the visionaries and risk-takers who helped to revolutionize this sport (for better or worse), well off the court and away from the spot light.