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Howard Head (1914-1991)
Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Graduated from Harvard in 1936 with a degree in engineering.
  • From 1939 to 1947, Head worked for Glenn L. Martin Company as a riveter and aircraft engineer.
  • He founded the Head Ski Company, later Head Sports Inc., in Timonium, Maryland, in 1948, intent on employing structural principles from the aircraft industry and different materials to build better ski equipment. The result was the "Head Standard," the first metal laminate skis, manufactured in 1950. By 1952, Head introduced skis with edges made of tempered steel. His skis revolutionized the ski industry: they were lighter and faster than wood, and earned the nickname "cheaters" by the industry.
  • In 1968, Head formed a tennis division of Head Sports Inc., to develop a metal tennis racket that would replace the standard wood rackets. Just one year later, he premiered the first metal tennis racket at the U.S. Open.
  • Head became chairman of the board for Prince Manufacturing Inc., in 1971. He decided to enlarge the width and length of the traditional tennis racket, more than doubling its "sweet spot" (the area of the string bed that produces the best combination of feel and power). Once again, Head invented equipment that revolutionized a sport-this time, tennis.
  • He later developed and patented a line of new aluminum rackets and introduced the "Prince Advantage" in 1976.


Compiled from the following sources:
- Oswald, Alison. Howard Head Papers, 1998, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.