July 11, 2017
It goes without saying that the annual Tennis Grand Slam at SW19 is a beacon of British Summer time. Strawberry's, cream, sunburn and perhaps a few too many glasses of Pimm's are amongst many of the connotations that make Wimbledon, Wimbledon.
As synonymous as the grass courts themselves however, little thought is spared for those luminous yellow tennis balls that ricochet across them. Staggeringly, an average of 50,000 of the furry spheres are used during the entirety of the tournament. Able to withstand intense rallys and crushing service speeds of up to 160mph, it's no wonder we watch some of the world's greatest players carefully sifting through a handful of them before firing it across the net at their opponent.
To meet such demands, it is a little known fact that the majority of the worlds tennis balls are manufactured in China. For a 12th century French sport, it seems somewhat disappointing that these balls are manufactured far away from the grassy courts of Wimbledon and closer to the not so far East.
However, in tandem with the Grand Slam, a small rubber factory in Wiltshire have been producing 6,000 tennis balls a week in preparation for the annual Summer surge. Having manufactured rubber goods since 1936, J.Price of Bath are the proprietors of all things yellow furry and round; the only operational tennis ball manufacturer remaining in Europe. With 14 members of staff, the family ran factory proudly produce various models for tennis, squash and racket ball via their in-house rubber moulding machines. With the ability to work with small volumes, Price can meet detailed orders via custom Pantone colours and prints.
Interestingly, the processes involved in tennis ball manufacture is standard, regardless of the location or the volume. With a resilient willingness to meet the demands of their customers, Price have survived and thrived against the threats of lower cost, foreign labour.
New Balls Please.
"We have designed and developed balls for many major organisations, often assisting sports in their infancy when standard balls haven't existed in the marketplace. For example, Derek was the brains behind the first ever larger and lighter 75mm Mini Red Tennis Ball for the LTA. The idea was so successful, the ball was adopted worldwide by the ITF and has contributed to getting more children involved in tennis.
We will continue to grow our family business here in Wiltshire and look forward to working with customers across the globe."
For more information about Price or Bath, follow the links below for more information.
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June 28, 2017
New Optical Collection
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