Even from the origins of tennis, we know, more from patents than preserved specimens, about rackets with anomalous shapes or integrated mechanisms seeking a “plus” compared to the orthodox rackets of their time. It is surprising to see ancient rackets with double string beds, balance adjustments, tension control, foldable features, etc.
If this was the case in the wood era, the arrival of other materials facilitated the development of different concepts with diverse objectives. Some seem to aim for a distinctive feature for commercial purposes rather than the development of a specific characteristic.
Here are some of the many concepts that bring an eccentric touch to our sport.
In Spain, as happened worldwide, tennis spread through the different British colonies established in the country, and the equipment traveled with them in their luggage.
The oldest rackets found in Spain, marked with the seal of various sports equipment stores in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, San Sebastián, etc., were actually foreign made. Initially British, rackets from France, Germany, and Switzerland were also sold. The first reference to a racket made in Spain is the CM racket, which Joaquín Llasat crafted by hand starting in 1907. Around 1925, in addition to CM, new brands like G Jaraute and EP Eugenio Puig and Maxim GC appeared. Through catalogs, invoices, and ads, we also know about the manufacturing of Cobos, Taberdet, Vicente Ferrandis Llácer, Chic, and Ernest Witty, who commercialized an Anglo-Spanish racket. All these rackets were of more than acceptable quality and were constructed following the standards of the time.
It’s worth highlighting the artisan Eugenio Puig, who from the beginning seemed to be attentive to the latest construction processes (updated patents) and developed notable models that are highly valued in the collecting community.
As tennis became more popular, new brands appeared. Some models from Ikatxue or Fereust brands lowered their quality to offer more affordable prices. Widely commercialized brands like Reno or Climax (which absorbed the former Maxim GC, later known as Gico) provided catalogs with a good variety of models.
National manufacturing continued during the transition to new materials, offering metallic models (March, Stub, Climax, etc.) and even innovating with combinations of new materials (Roy-Grac, Cyclon, Bormak, etc.), but it eventually declined as global production shifted to Asian countries.