Bancroft Sporting Goods Company was founded in the early 1900s, and for many years they were a leading producer of wooden tennis rackets-
Just like Wilson or Head of today! can you believe it?
However, production of these rackets ceased in the 1990s.
So the question on many people’s minds is, does Bancroft still make tennis rackets?
Let’s find out…
Bancroft Sporting Goods: The History
In today’s terms, this company was the Head or Wilson of its time.
They not only made great rackets, but also other tennis equipment like tennis balls.
The company was founded by an American man from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, named Frederick J. Bancroft- which called the brand name after his surname.
He started making wooden tennis rackets in 1882, In his home, using white ash he got from Vermont.
This wood was perfect for creating tennis rackets because it was lightweight yet strong.
By the early 1900s, business was booming, and he had a factory with over 200 employees.
During this time, they also started to make rackets for other sports- such as badminton and racquetball.
Which pro players use Bancroft tennis rackets?
Many famous tennis players used Bancroft rackets during the company’s heyday.
For example, Bill Tilden- who was ranked number one in the world for seven years in a row- used them.
He even won Wimbledon using a Bancroft racket!
Another well-known player who used Bancroft rackets was Billie Jean King, which is one of my favorite players of all time.
Martina Navratilova, another Hall-of-Famer, also used Bancroft rackets.
But the most famous tennis player who used the Bancroft tennis racket was the Swedish legendary player Bjorn Borg.
He is famous for using the “Bjorn Borg Personal” tennis racket by Bancroft, However, he also had another personal racket with the same name by Donnay.
Bancroft Sporting Goods: The Downfall
However, in the 1970s, the production of wooden tennis rackets ceased.
There are a few reasons given for this:
One is that there was a decline in the popularity of wooden tennis rackets which have been replaced by newer, more technologically advanced materials such as graphite and titanium frames.
Another reason is that they didn’t adopt new technologies as other companies did- such as changing the shape of the racket head, which made a big difference in performance, or changing from wood to graphite.
They didn’t have enough tools to make the change, while meantime new tennis rackets brands and companies were born and started to get more and more popular which “pushed” Bancroft from the market.
Lastly, it’s said that the quality of Bancroft’s wooden rackets began to decline near the end of their production.
So does Bancroft still make tennis rackets today?
No, they do not.
The brand and the company were disassembled in the early 1990s from the tennis landscape.
Today, the name “Bancroft” is only a nostalgic memory for those who played with their rackets in the past.
And if you are too young to have played with one of their rackets, now you can at least say that you know what they are!
When I’m talking about their rackets with my “older” expert tennis friends, they always say: “I used to have a Bancroft!” or “They were the best!” or “My dad had a Bancroft, and it was his favorite racket.”
Some of them are even surprised that someone too “young” like me knows about this brand.
But that’s the great thing about tennis- it’s a sport that connects generations and unites people from all over the world.
So even if they’re not around anymore, it’s obvious that they made an impact while they were.
Can I buy a Bancroft tennis racket today?
While you can’t buy a new Bancroft racket today, you can find some vintage ones online- on websites like eBay for example.
But if you’re looking for a new racket, you’ll have to look elsewhere. There are plenty of other great brands out there that can provide you with what you need.
Is there any chance for Bancroft’s comeback?
Well, they kind of did a comeback!
In 2000, a new sports company called Harrow Sports was born.
It’s not the same company as the original, in fact – It’s a new brand that sells Hockey, lacrosse, squash, and racquetball equipment.
When they decided to join the tennis market, they knew they have a very big challenge in front of them.
They had to compete with the well-established and popular brands that have been around for decades, some of them even longer than Bancroft itself.
But they wanted to make a name for themselves, and they thought the best way to do that was by rebranding an old, forgotten company.
So they bought the rights to the Bancroft name and started to produce tennis rackets.
However, I checked their racket compared to the Bancroft tennis rackets I have in my collection (You don’t know already that I’m crazy about tennis rackets?) and they just use their name-
There is nothing similar to the original old and vintage Bancrofts rackets –
But honestly, they couldn’t sell rackets if they would use the same Bancrots rackets because wood is no longer used in racket manufacturing for a very long time.
They did try to use the name of Bancroft and their amazing heritage, to show the clients that their new rackets are using high quality just like Bancroft did on their hays day.
However, they do offer a modern and new design so you won’t get an old racket from the 1900s, don’t worry.
But at the end of the day, it’s just a new brand that tries to make some noise in the tennis world, with a little bit of help from an old friend.
Bancroft no longer makes tennis rackets, but you can find some vintage ones online.
A new company called Harrow Sports bought the rights to the Bancroft name and started producing tennis rackets, but they are very different from the original Bancroft rackets – in a good way!
Bancroft did make an impact while they were around, and their legacy continues today.
But in today’s competitive tennis market, it’s going to be tough for them to make a name for themselves-
After all, wooden rackets are a thing of the past.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this blog post like I enjoyed writing it. 🙂
Do you have any nostalgic memories of playing with a Bancroft racket? Let me know in the comments below!