NEWPORT, R.I. May 22, 2019 – Pop! Whoosh! Ahhhh… Is there anything better for a tennis player than the sound, scent, and sensation of popping open a fresh can of balls on a beautiful day? Present day tennis fans generally know that this simple yet satisfying experience is something they can consistently expect across brands and ball types. However, the uniformity that we know and expect from tennis ball containers today has not always been the case in the sport. Over the course of tennis history, tennis ball containers have evolved in size, shape, technology, and material. In fact, there are more than 600 interesting tennis ball containers in the museum collection at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Previously only accessible to visitors to the museum, the colorful collection is now available to explore in a new digital exhibit, Tins, Cans, and Cartons.
“In our museum, there is a floor-to-ceiling case that displays hundreds of vintage ball containers. We see that it is consistently a spot where museum visitors love to stop and peruse the collection. Creating a digital exhibit provides an opportunity for tennis fans around the world to interact with the museum collection and explore these unique pieces of tennis history,” commented Museum Director Doug Stark.
He stated, “The containers are striking and different from what we are accustomed to today. Each also showcases that era in tennis’ evolution and historical periods of time. The colors, fonts, featured players, even the materials that are used are very much a sign of the times from when that container was created. The containers provide an opportunity to examine the broad span of tennis history.”
TINS, CANS, AND CARTONS – available now on cans.tennisfame.com
With well over 600 containers, ranging from paper bags to paint bucket type containers, the digital exhibit is divided into seven collections. The collections offer the user a chance to take a closer look into the manufacturing options of the day, how technology of pressurized cans evolved, the dawn of athlete endorsements, and the industry’s reaction and modification to carry on during times of war or financial hardship, among other areas.
The vintage containers are colorful and intricately designed. Within the exhibit, visitors can click into each container to learn more about the details of that container or brand, and search and sort the containers in various categories.
The exhibit was curated by the museum staff of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, with research assistance from vintagetennisballs.com.