This film is part of Free

Making of Tennis Balls at Rex Rubber

Hypnotic behind-the-scenes film showing the science behind a seemingly simple product.

Amateur film 1955 6 mins Silent


This behind-the-scenes film shows each individual stage of tennis ball production (albeit, unfortunately, not in the right order), making for curiously hypnotic viewing. Whether it’s the stamping of rubber into hemispheres, or the cutting out of fabric to stick on the balls, these manufacturing processes are still basically used today - even if the technology probably looks a little flashier.

The film was sponsored by the Rural Development Commission, a body which existed to spread economic opportunities across Britain. But tennis ball production is an industry which has now deserted Bradford-on-Avon (and almost all of Britain) in favour of overseas factories. The town’s association with rubber-working dated back to the Industrial Revolution, continuing in some form until the 1990s.