Rich Maier, co-inventor of the Skymar paddle – paddle innovation takes another step

Skymar Paddle
Skymar Paddle

Maier was not content with just playing and teaching the game. He was an innovator, with a US patent (US4379554) as proof.

Along with co-inventor Andreas D. Schuyler, they developed a new concept for the platform tennis paddle.

The patent, filed on August 24 1981 and issued on April 12, 1983, described an improved platform tennis paddle constructed “with two outer laminated ply structures and inner laminated ply structure there between. The inner laminated ply structure has a central aperture there through which, in the preferred embodiment, is filled with a resilient plug. The edge of the paddle is protected by a T-shaped molding fitted in to the perimeter of the paddle, and to safeguard against de-lamination, the handle is of pegged construction.”

The patent was assigned to Skymar Corporation, and Rich and Andreas built the racquet, Skymar Proflight, in a garage in Allendale, NJ. The racquet was a commercial success, but the garage manufacturing operation faced constraints and ultimately closed.

The concept though endured and was picked up by another manufacturer, Marcraft, with their Force model which was introduced in 1992.

Source: Private communication with Rich Maier

NOTE: For the history of the paddle from the early days through early 1990s: Jim Tate’s article The Paddle Itself has a History Too!