"Pettitt Match Shoe", early 20th century tennis sh

Just came across this and thought it might interest some. It’s a page from the Wright & Ditson tennis catalog (courtesy whatsalltheraquet.com)…

And for those curious about the name of the shoe… here’s some history and a 1946 obituary of Thomas Pettitt (Time.com)…

Thomas Pettitt won the (world championship) title in a successful 1885 challenge to George Lambert, 7-sets-to-5, at King Henry VIII’s old playpen, Hampton Court, outside of London. In an 1890 defense he turned back Charles Saunders, 7-5, at St. Stephens Green, Ireland, resigning the title later unbeaten. In the earliest pro lawn tennis tour, he and Irish pro champ George Kerr played a series of three well-attended matches in New England in 1889. Kerr, won at Boston, Springfield (MA), and Newport.

Died. Thomas (“Tom”) Pettitt, 86, British-born, mustachioed grand old man of court tennis; in Newport, R. I. A onetime locker-boy for the first U.S. court-tennis court (in Boston), he taught himself the ancient, highly specialized game (played in large, complicated, enclosed courts, with pear-shaped racquets and complex rules), revolutionized classic court style with his smashing drives (“When I get a fair sight of the ball, I hit it, and I hit it damned hard”). Tom Pettitt made both court-tennis history and legend, in his heyday was reputed to have defeated many an opponent while using a bottle instead of a racquet. In 1885 he won the world’s championship, successfully defended his title until he resigned in 1890, for 66 years served the famed Newport Casino as superintendent and grand panjandrum of tennis courts.

My favorite part: “When I get a fair sight of the ball, I hit it, and I hit it damned hard”

Hey Ryan:

Cool post. Early footwear design has always interested me. Here are some vintage renderings I have in a collection of mine…they are awesome for their time (c. 1950s)…no photoshop! haha.