Sialkot racquet

The National Badminton Museum has recently acquired a Sialkot racquet, clearly marked Jamsetjees Sons, Sialkot, Punjab, which was originally owned by a lady residing in Glasgow. It probably dates back to the 1890’s or even earlier.

sialkotIn Lawn Tennis, December 6th, 1899 in an article on the early history of badminton, we learn that parchment used in battledores was giving way to catgut. The earlier bats produced by local craftsmen were of strange and divers patterns, and a large proportion of the early players invested in English racquets and shortened the handles. As the demand rapidly grew, the manufacture of implements was started by an enterprising Parsi firm at Sialkot in the Punjab, who soon succeeded in producing very light and suitable bats as well as good shuttlecocks. In doing so they assisted very materially in developing and perfecting the game. The Sialkot bat has altered little in design since its first introduction and is still used almost exclusively in India, where lively shuttlecocks and wrist play are special features of the game. In England the Sialkot bat has found favour, though it is now being gradually replaced by the heavier and more tightly strung bats of home manufacture. The comparatively slow shuttlecocks of French make, which have been supplied by British firms in recent years, have required very hard driving, and more powerful bats than were in earlier days thought necessary.

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In March 1900, Lawn Tennis records that Colonel Selby played badminton in Western India in 1877, at an exceptionally high order, using with remarkable effect a bat with an abnormally long handle (30 inches in all), and made specially to his order at Sialkot.

Nine months later, Lawn Tennis records that the Sialkote bat, once so popular over here, is fast disappearing, owing, no doubt, to the hard hitting which the modern game entails, and to those who have played with both the English and Indian bats, it is not in the least surprising, as the former (which one always expects from the price charged) is infinitely superior.

However, it is in the Badminton Gazette, November 1909, in an article by J.H.E. Hart that he tells us  that he introduced raw hide instead of vellum into early bats, but this was soon superseded by a gut-strung racquet, made by a Parsi firm (Gamsetji & Sonsof Sealkot), which, with evlutionary improvements, forms the pattern in use at the present time. (We find that two versions of the spellings of Sialkot/Sealkot are used in the records) 

Also acquired at the same time was a Club racquet owned by the same lady and we assume of a similar date – had she decided that she needed a better racquet to cope with the improved shuttlecocks as suggested above?