The collection documents through correspondence, marketing materials, patent materials, photographs, and newspaper clippings, the development of T-Net, a sport that combines electronic game technology with a diamond-shaped court the length of a tennis court and "invisible" nets created by inventor Michael Fanning.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents through correspondence, marketing materials, patent materials, photographs, and newspaper clippings the development of T-Net, a sport that combines electronic game technology with a diamond-shaped court the length of a tennis court and "invisible" nets created by inventor Michael Fanning.
Series 1, Correspondence, 1993-1996, consists of incoming and outgoing letters. Fanning, the inventor of T-Net, corresponds with corporations and investment companies, such as Reebok, Blockbuster Entertainment, Family Dollar and Turner Sports, Inc. to solicit interest and/or financial backing in his product.
Series 2, Financial Materials, 1989-2003, consists of correspondence, invoices, purchase orders, Internal Revenue Service papers, and documentation for incorporating a business.
Series 3, Manufacturing Materials, 1993, consists of handwritten notes and sketches about materials used and lists of potential companies to consult for fabricating the product.
Series 4, Marketing Materials, 1995 and undated, consists of sketches and documentation describing the T-Net system for potential customers.
Series 5, Patent Materials, 1983-2003, consists primarily of correspondence with patent attorneys (Shefte, Pinckney & Sawyer of Charlotte, North Carolina) to patent the T-Net system. Also included are patent-related expenses incurred by Fanning and patents issued to other inventors that are similar to the T-Net system.
Series 6, Photographs, 1980-1990s, consists of color prints showing the T-Net system in use and laid out on a field.
Series 7, Newspaper Clippings, 1993, consists of one folder of photocopied newspaper clippings related to T-Net.
The collection is arranged into seven series.
Series 1, Correspondence, 1993-1996
Series 2, Financial Materials, 1989-2003
Series 3, Manufacturing Materials, 1993
Series 4, Marketing Materials, 1995 and undated
Series 5, Patent Materials, 1983-2003
Series 6, Photographs, circa 1980s-990s and undated
Series 7, Newspaper Clippings, 1993
Biographical / Historical:
T-Net (standing for transparent net) was invented by Michael Fanning. Fanning's idea for the game came from hitting a tennis ball over a telephone wire. In 1993, Fanning was issued US Patent 5,259,625 for an apparatus and method for playing a court game. Fanning's company, Tnnnnt (www.tnnnt.net), manufactures and promotes the game.
The T-Net court/field is divided in two equal halves with three scoring zones on each side. Games can include up to three players per team or be played one-on-one. The objective is to land the flyer in one of your opponent's three scoring zones, and to catch the flyer to prevent the opponent from scoring. Players move freely on their side of the court but cannot cross the center line. Pole- mounted transmitting devices on each side send light beams across the court creating an electronic net (an electronic sensing beam) for each of the three scoring zones. Players must throw a light-reflective projectile (called a "flyer") through the light field and into one of the scoring zones to get a point. When the projectile passes through the beam, a beep is emitted. If the projectile lands on the ground the pole-mounted device flashes a red light and beeps to confirm a score. Players get one point for activating the middle zone, two points for the back zone and three points for setting off both zones. The first team to achieve twenty-one points wins the game. There are six games per set, three sets per match. The game can be played on a variety of surfaces--pavement, turf, composite, snow, carpet, glass, grass, sand, hardwood or over a swimming pool, and it can be played at night in low light conditions.
Materials at the National Museum of American History
The Division of Culture and the Arts holds related artifacts. See accession 2011.0234.
The collection was donated by Michael Fanning on October 24, 2011.
The collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.