I’m sure you have spotted the problems with this elderly tennis racket, but I still was almost a victim to its charms. It just stands to reason that a collector of sportswear would be attracted to the corresponding sports equipment, even if they would just be props. I’ve been tempted before, and I’ve resisted, just as I resisted this great old racket.
The maker was Wright & Ditson, a sporting goods company started by baseball player George Wright and businessman Henry Ditson in 1871. The company was bought in 1891 by Spalding, but the Wright & Ditson name was used until the 1930s. Some sources say the the Spalding company bought up other sports equipment companies and then continued to use the name of the acquired company in order to give the appearance of competition to consumers. Today there is a “vintage” sports shirt company that uses the Wright & Ditson name.
The best I can tell, this racket was made in the very late 1800s, or in the first decade of the 1900s. The oval shape was introduced around 1885, and a 1910 catalog shows an up-dated form of the tennis-player logo, so I’m pretty sure it dates within that range.