THE SPALDING STORY SPORTING EQUIPMENT, TENNIS RACKETS & GOLF CLUBS CHICOPEE MASSACHUSETTS 56644

THE SPALDING STORY   SPORTING EQUIPMENT, TENNIS RACKETS & GOLF CLUBS  CHICOPEE MASSACHUSETTS  56644

This early 1950s film about Spalding manufacturing of its products is produced by Sound Masters, Inc. A customer buys a Spalding golf club in a sporting goods store. The manufacturing process is overviewed (0:19-1:43). The camera pans over the Spalding factory in Chicopee, MA (2:44-3:06). Thousands of baseballs are manufactured automatically. Workers labor in a room (3:07-4:46).

GOLF CLUBS: Engineers sketch club designs at drafting tables (4:47-5:10). A Toledo scale is used. Heads are weighed, matched, and stamped with identification numbers (5:11-5:54). The Spalding Synchro-Dyned stamp is shown up-close. Record cards are stamped (5:55-6:15). A club head is manually attached to a reverse-threaded shaft, hand-measured, and grips wrapped with leather (6:16-7:48). Women weigh finished clubs, which are loaded into boxed sets (7:49-8:43). Wood is dried on pallets. Automated equipment turns and shapes wood into a gold head that is drilled and routed for attachments (8:44-9:44). A vintage Ther-Monic induction heater joins the head. Workmen remove excess wood. The head is sanded, checked, scored, and varnished (9:45-12:07). Secretaries work in the Spalding registration card filing system. Spalding Club Masters are shown for exact reproduction (12:08-12:56). Custom luxury golf clubs are welded and carved by hand (12:57-13:42).

WOODEN TENNIS RACKETS AND TENNIS BALLS: Different woods are selected, stained, wrapped with metal, and pressure-shaped into a racket (13:43-14:42). An automated CNC cuts the shape. A workman sands them. Automated systems drill holes into the rackets; grooving for strings is done by hand (14:43-15:32). The rackets are weighed, measured, and strung (15:33-16:20). Rubber is processed by spinning drums into an extrusion machine, cut into slugs, and hydraulically pressed into half-ball shells. Shown in different colors are different types of balls (16:21-18:27). Tennis shells are dipped in rubber cement and run through an infrared drying oven. A pressure chamber vulcanizes tennis balls in bulk (18:28-19:18). A machine removes fleshing, and dumps balls into washing chambers (19:18-19:56). Intricate conveyers ferry the balls into an automated bounce test that flings balls over a curtain. Those that fail will become children’s high bounce balls (19:57-21:05). Women cover the balls with cement-coated covers. Finished tennis balls are pressure packed (21:06-21:42).

GOLF BALLS: Rubber cores and a secret shell are vulcanized and dimpled in a hydraulic press (21:43-22:23). A Federal automated testing system sorts them. A female worker manually weighs and checks them (22:24-23:13). Automated sprayers apply three coats of paint to the golf balls (23:14-23:31). Golf balls are packed and packaged models shown (23:32-23:50).

BASEBALLS AND SOFTBALLS: Rubber cores are wrapped with 370 yards of yarn by female workers, covers are hand stitched, and finished balls stamped with Reach (American League) and Spalding (National League) (23:51-24:50). Kapok is pressure-molded and steamed into a softball core and wrapped in thread (24:51-26:20). Vintage softball boxes are stacked using stop-motion photography (26:21-26:36).

RUBBER COVERED BALLS: A craftsman stitches a football (26:37-26:46). Foam cores are stitched. Leather panels are cemented to a basketball, which are painted by an automated sprayer (26:47-27:25).

TESTING: Automatic testing includes basketballs squeezed, tennis balls compressed, golf balls hit, and baseballs and softballs pounded. A technician pulls apart a golf club (27:26-28:05). An automated machine rapidly hits tennis balls and tests rackets (28:06-28:42). A 1940’s commercial truck’s side says “Spalding sets the pace in sports” (29:04-29:09).

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