The National Badminton Museum has recently acquired a very rare c1860s leather base battledore shuttlecock
The shuttlecock has a brown leather base with 28 feathers. It has a feather diameter of 75 mm (3″) and overall length of 115 mm (4 ½”), the diameter of the leather base is 45 mm (1 ¾”) and the shuttlecock weighs 11.3 grams which is just over twice the weight of a modern shuttle. We believe the shuttle was made in England.
Photos: – Geoff Hinder Click on images to enlarge
The game of ‘battledore and shuttlecock’ dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The roots of the game have been reported to go back to ancient times in China and other Asian countries. The game was played with rackets, battledores and even wooden paddles. ‘Battledore and shuttlecock ‘was played without a net and without the boundary lines of a court. If a single player played, they would hit the shuttle in the air counting the number of times they could do this without it falling on the floor. If two or more players played they would hit the shuttlecock back and forth to each other, it was usually a cooperative rather than a competitive game, the players purposely hit the shuttlecock towards rather than away from each other, their goal was to have as long a rally as possible keeping the shuttlecock up in the air and counting the number of consecutive successful strokes in each rally. The present-day game of badminton developed from this much older game of ‘battledore and shuttlecock’. Badminton was being played in at least 1863 and maybe a few years before that.