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For sale is a mid-century WILSON MATCH POINT TENNIS BALLS TIN CAN from the Wilson Sporting Goods Company, Chicago, Illinois. This original yellow and red lithographic tin has minor surface wear and displays well. The can stands about 7 7/8 inches tall. Sale includes two vintage Wilson tennis balls that do not match the tin. An hard to find tennis collectible.

From the 1880s until about 1930, tennis balls were sold in paper bags or cardboard boxes, and occasionally metal boxes. To improve bounce, gas was forced into the balls during manufacture, but since the pressure was greater inside than outside it was only a matter of time before the balls went flat. In the late 1920s, Thomas E. Wilson & Co. and the Pennsylvania Rubber Company, respectively, began manufacturing the first pressurized metal tubes for preserving the shelf life of tennis balls. The air pressure in the can was increased to equal the pressure in the ball. As long as the can was sealed, no gas escaped, guaranteeing freshness. Once the can was opened, however, the balls would eventually go flat.

In 1913, Sulzberger & Son’s founded the “Ashland Manufacturing Company” to use animal by-products from its slaughterhouses to make tennis racket strings, violin strings, and surgical sutures. The company then expanded into baseball shoes and tennis racquets. In 1915, Thomas E. Wilson, a former president of meatpacker company, was appointed President and renamed the company “Thomas E. Wilson Company”. The company then acquired another company to produce athletic uniforms and another company to produced golf balls and later footballs and basketballs. In 1918, Wilson left to concentrate on the beef-packing business and the company was renamed to Wilson & Company.

Weight 1.5 lbs
Dimensions 11 × 11 × 6 in