Curator's choice - artefacts
Lawn tennis racquet with lop-sided head, c.1875-c.1890
Wimbledon is known all over the world as the home of lawn tennis. This very early racquet, with its long handle and small tilted head, is very similar to the type used by Spencer Gore and William Marshall in the very first Wimbledon tennis finals in 1877. Many of these early players had gained their experience from Rackets and Real Tennis, in which the racquet had a lop-sided head and was sometimes double-strung. This example has single cat gut stringing through a frame made of ash. Ash was particularly good for bending round in one piece after steaming. A large serif letter ‘W’ has been applied on the filler at the top of the handle.
By the 1890s, racquet heads had become symmetrical and players were beginning to consider performance aspects of their racquets, such as special grips on the handles and increasing the tension of the gut strings.
Length (overall): 670mm; length of head: 250mm; width of head: 190mm. LDWIM : S003