Blasts From The Past

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pdfNew collections are, thankfully, arriving weekly and many of them create great interest when received. The hockey stick illustrated in the below images was a real example of this. It came complete with a copy of an advertisement from Hockey Magazine of 4 September 1908 extolling the virtues of the “patent edge-protected” stick. Hopefully, (from the PDF of the advert downloadable to the right and from the images below) you can see that the complete edge of the head of the stick has a metal tape running round which is fixed to the stick by small nails. My first reaction when I saw it was “How could this stick be legal?” but then the rules and interpretations were very different over a century ago.

We did not think very much more about this until we received another item of great interest. This was a photocopy of the Hockey Association (HA) Minute Book from the period. The minute for the meeting of 15 November 1909 does indeed mention “the Pickering St George” hockey stick, this being the model of stick in question. Clearly some complaint had been received about this stick because the Council of the Hockey Association had considered the matter and this was their deliberation:

“The Hon. Secretary reported correspondence he had had with Messrs Grenville, Gamage and with the Army & Navy Stores with reference to the illegal hockey sticks which they were said to be supplying and the arrangements he had made with them, viz: that no more sticks should be made after the present stock had in each case been sold out, was approved”.

Clearly these sticks must have been very popular at the time as apparently they were being counterfeited! In the advert by Grenvilles for the original design by Mr WH Pickering he made the following statement:

“Dear Sir or Madam – As the designer with Mrs Pickering of the ‘Pickering’ hockey stick, I shall be glad if you will allow me the opportunity of explaining that Mr WG Grenville, Birmingham, who manufacture the ‘Pickering St George’ hockey stick, is the only maker authorised to use the name, and we can only guarantee his make as being true to design and of proper quality. Another firm is using the name without acknowledgement and without authority from us. This has caused misunderstanding and we have been annoyed by complaints from people who have bought these sticks on the assumption that they were guaranteed by the name.”

The annotation in the HA Minute Book goes on to say: “Mr Grenville’s objection to a stick manufactured by Messrs Ayres, named ‘The Connaught’, was upheld and the Hon. Secretary was instructed to write to Messrs Ayres on the subject.”

Looking back on this 107 years later, it does seem a little pointless for the HA to uphold a complaint on a product that they had deemed illegal. Additionally, the Grenville advertisement describes the stick as “patented”. Surely, therefore, Grenville could have challenged Ayres on a question of patent infringement.

 Grenville Illegal Hockey Stick 01    Grenville Illegal Hockey Stick 03
 Grenville Illegal Hockey Stick 04    Grenville Illegal Hockey Stick 05


Greville's Pickering St George hockey stick (c.1908)

Blasts From The Past: An Introduction

This features page includes articles from hockey's rich history. With the ever increasing activity of The Hockey Museum, our research is constantly coming across fascinating stories from throughout the sport's history and across the hockey world. These are not current news stories although some may have been when they occurred....

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An Illegal Hockey Stick

An Illegal Hockey Stick

New collections are, thankfully, arriving weekly and many of them create great interest when received. The hockey stick illustrated in the below images was a real example of this. It came complete with a copy of an advertisement from Hockey Magazine of 4 September 1908 extolling the virtues of the...

The Jet-propelled Hockey Stick That Didn't Take Off!

The Jet-propelled Hockey Stick That Didn't Take Off!

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