Alexander Patent Racket Company

Stephen Spurling's photograph of the Alexander Patent Racket Factory, Launceston (National Library of Australia, an21697618-323)

The Alexander Patent Racket Company made sporting equipment, notably the world's first laminated tennis racquet. In the early 1920s Alfred Alexander invented the process, patented it and began making racquets. In 1926 the Company was formed and production expanded at the factory in Wentworth Street, Newstead. Success depended on the use of imported English ash. This species failed to thrive at Hollybank, the Ash Plantations Limited property, while early trials of Australian timbers had been abandoned.

The Company was the first in Australia to wholly manufacture tennis racquets and also pioneered methods of decoration. Racquets were distributed worldwide and were chosen by champions. In 1933 Jack Crawford won at Wimbledon with the 'Cressy Perfect' flat-top. The Company went into liquidation in 1961; the building remains.

Further reading: Examiner, 13 May 1967; Mercury, 17 November 1956; QVMAG, Launceston, Launceston, 1989; The Tasmanian cyclopedia, Hobart, 1931; Forestry Commission, Hollybank 1850's1980's, Hobart, 1985; M O'Brien, Tasmania's war effort, Hobart, 1995.

Margaret Tassell