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I can definitely make out "AG Spalding & Sons". Sure has a neat, antique look to it (whatever it is...)
I'm sure there is some significant value to this piece. It looks to be in great condition for something of this vintage. What are the measurements of the face of the racquet, and how many inches long is it in total?
I grew up in Maine and seem to recall something that looked like this at one time and I was told it was used for indoor Field Hockey. I think they used a softer ball and this sort of raquet and it was not as brutal and dangerous (probably better on the Gym Floor too) but I could be wrong. This is just what I was told by an old dude at an antique show. It makes sense if you have ever seen a field hockey stick but who knows.
Just based on the curve in the stick, I think it was used to play something in which the ball (or whatever) is near the ground. It doesn't make sense to have the hitting surface offset from the axis of control if you are trying to hit something up in the air, waist high or higher, like tennis or badminton. It only makes sense if you are trying to reach down and hit something near the ground and off to the side or in front.
So I'm with Rhys at least as to speculating on something that is used in a ground-based game. I would think that normal field hockey sticks would be okay for indoor use though. Unless they changed the ball for indoor use. Then there would be some need for a different stick.
Maybe it was something like hockey or whatever, but they used something like a tennis ball (but less bouncy and fast - this racquet head looks much too small to be able to use a tight fast ball).
A lot of interesting theories. I am leaning towards the field hockey or something of that nature. To answer earlier questions the stick measures 31" long and the strung area is roughly 6" x 8". It is marked as having been produced by Spalding. There is a decal on either side that reads
????BALL (cant make out the first 4 letters)
Unless it is warped that way, it must have been for hitting something on the ground. A soft ball seems likely, something big enough that the ridge of the racket would fit under the curvature of the ball. And indoor makes sense for a game like that. And an indoor game would most likely be from up north...
I recall as a kid in Kentucky some new kid in town brought out this huge softball, from some sort of ballgame played up north, maybe near Chicago. Bats and bases, and this huge ball that wasn't going to be hit very far...
It's a vintage florball stick, which I guess is floorball today. It's an indoor field hockey game.
Here's a link to a website with some info on the sport. The stick has evolved with time.
Nice pick up. Haven't seen too many of them.
Wow. Cool. If the hitting surface is about 6x8, then maybe they could and did use an actual tennis ball. The similarity to a tennis racket is unmistakeable, the stick (with that head size) probably able to handle the size and speed of a tennis ball, and tennis balls existed and were widely available at the time.
I'm reviving this old thread because I've decided to sell this interesting/unusual piece. It just doesn't fit into my collection. I am willing to listen to all offers as I don't know the value and haven't been able to find anything on the internet. Drop me an email at Nhale5516@aol.com if interested. Thanks!