Racquet Bending Machine

E. Kent Estateca. 1876

International Tennis Hall of Fame

International Tennis Hall of Fame
Newport, United States

Rectangular wood base on which is a racquet shaped mold. Around the exterior of the mold are numerous large wooden screws. In 1876, Elijah Kent saw an English tennis racquet at the Philadelphia Exhibition, and upon his return home, decided to go into business making racquets. He used this racquet bending machine to shape steamed slats of ash to form tennis racquets.

The neighboring cities of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and Seekonk, Massachusetts, in southeastern New England, historically were known for manufacturing and were the locations of early American tennis equipment manufacturers Kent (1876) and Bancroft (1882).

Elijah Kent successfully manufactured racquets used worldwide from 1876-1943. By 1880, the factory turned out hundreds of racquets daily. As tennis grew in popularity, the Kent Racquet Company became suppliers to large sporting goods firms, including A.G. Spalding & Bros., Peck & Snyder, Wilson, and Slazenger. At the peak of their production in the 1930s, they employed 100 people, and produced 1,500 frames a day.


  • Title: Racquet Bending Machine
  • Creator: E. Kent Estate
  • Date Created: ca. 1876
  • Location Created: Pawtucket, Rhode Island / Seekonk, Massachusetts, United States
  • Physical Dimensions: (h) 17.8 cm x (w) 90.2 cm x (d) 71.1 cm
  • Provenance: Gift of Mrs. Ruth Kent Hatch, 1960
  • Type: Sports Equipment
  • Rights: © International Tennis Hall of Fame
  • Medium: wood, metal
  • Depicted Topic: Tennis

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps