In 1913, the Chicago-based meat-packing firm of Schwartzchild and Sulzberger created the Ashland Manufacturing Company as a subsidiary to sell violin strings, surgical sutures, and strings for tennis rackets—all by-products of animal gut. The company soon branched out into making tennis rackets, camping equipment, fishing tackle, bicycles, automobile tires, and phonographs.
When the Ashland Manufacturing Company was forced into receivership in 1914, a group of bankers decided to rename the company Wilson and Company to capitalize on President Woodrow Wilson’s popularity at the time.
In 1914, a New York banking firm took over the company and selected Thomas E. Wilson, a vice president of the meat-packing firm, to manage the company. The bankers chose Wilson because they had already decided to rename the company Wilson and Company to capitalize on President Woodrow Wilson’s popularity. Thomas E. Wilson began expanding the company by purchasing other sporting goods companies that manufactured baseball masks, tennis rackets, baseballs, baseball gloves, and uniforms.
The company also went through a number of name changes until 1931, when it became known as Wilson Sporting Goods Co.
In 1930, a can of three Wilson Tennis Balls sold for $1.50 in the Sears & Roebuck catalog. In 1990, that same can of balls sold for less than $2.
In the 1940s, Wilson created an advisory staff of sports figures who field-tested equipment and offered suggestions on improving it.
Once a Wilson Tennis Ball is removed from its pressurized can, the rebound of the balls decreases over time due to pressure loss. The rebound loss, however, is only between .032 and .038 inches per day.
Wilson is the only ball used at all United States Tennis Association national championships.
Since 1979, Wilson has been the official ball of the U.S. Open.
A number between one and eight is imprinted on each Wilson Tennis Ball to help players keep track of their tennis balls while playing.
Wilson Tennis Balls are packaged in specially designed, 100 percent recyclable, pressurized containers capable of keeping the balls fresh for years when unopened.
Duraweave is an exclusive Wilson felt developed with high-grade wool uniquely interwound with copolymer fibers to form a tight, uniform weave. The result is a long-lasting tennis ball with enhanced play and consistency.
According to United States Tennis Association specifications, tennis balls must weigh between 2 and 2.06 ounces, measure between 2.575 and 2.7 inches in diameter, and when dropped from a height of 100 inches onto a solid, concrete base, rebound to a height of between 53 and 58 inches.