The National Badminton Museum has managed to acquire an extremely rare Birmal aluminium badminton racket for the National Racket Collection.
The Birmal racket was first advertised in the Badminton Gazette January 1924. They continued to advertise it until April 1926. The racket was made of aluminium alloy and was strung with a single strand of steel wire. It was priced in 1924 at 30 shillings (£1.50) and for 32 shillings you could purchase it with a special leather grip. This was one of the first rackets to have a leather handle grip.
The racket was made from a single piece of aluminium 7mm x 3.75mm by 136cm long. This single piece of aluminium was shaped to make the head of the racket and the two ends were placed in the wooden handle, with 4 aluminium rivets to hold the racket shaft together. There was another riveted piece of aluminium 100mm long to form the throat of the racket. As the steel strings passed through the top and the bottom of the racket, they were protected by steel spring grommets.
This aluminium racket weighs 205 grams which makes it one of the heaviest rackets in the National Racket Collection, a modern graphite racket weighs approximately 104 grams.
The Birmal was not a success, one of the main reasons was probably that so much damage was done to the shuttlecocks by the metal strings.
Photos: – Geoff Hinder. Click on images to enlarge
This racket and many more can be seen at the National Badminton Museum, National Badminton Centre, Bradwell Road, Loughton Lodge, MILTON KEYNES MK8 9LA