TNT Backstory, As Told by One of the String Inventors

May 8, 2019

By Ron Carr, Vice President of Research and Development at GAMMA

Hi Tennis Fans.

Ron Carr here, Vice President of Research and Development at GAMMA. If you follow us on Facebook and Twitter or if you’re simply old enough to have been playing this great sport for the past, oh say 25 years or so, you will know that this year, GAMMA is celebrating the Silver Anniversary of its TNT string line.

Its hard to believe that 25 years, well actually 29 years, could go by so quickly. It seems like yesterday that our late founder and dear friend, Dr. Harry Ferrari and I were sitting at the small round conference table in the corner of our shared office located in the posh surroundings the Graziano Construction Company building. We were brainstorming about developing a new processing technology that could raise the bar and set a new standard for string performance.

It had been 14 years since Dr. Ferrari had patented the GAMMA irradiation process for making the first true performance synthetic string in the industry and aptly named it GAMMA Gut. At that time, natural gut was the benchmark for string playability and performance and had the highest levels of elasticity and resiliency of any material being used to produce strings at that time. But for those of us that couldn’t afford to play with natural gut, there was the less expensive, run of the mill, nylon or synthetic strings that didn’t provide near the performance as natural gut.

Although Dr. Ferrari’s irradiation process had set the standard for elasticity and resiliency in synthetic strings, there was still room for improvement to reach the performance levels of natural gut. So, for the next 4 years we continued to brainstorm, experiment, trial and with the assistance of our resident tennis pro, Chuck Vietmeier, play test numerous variations until we hit on a process that would actually exceed the performance levels of natural gut. We filed for and obtained patents on the string characteristics that resulted from this new processing technology and named it Thermo Nuclear Technology or TNT for short. The TNT process itself is a trade secret that only a few individuals in the company are privy to and it remains a trade secret to this day. So, I could tell you but… you know.

The initial launch of TNT strings back in 1994 included TNT16, TNT 17 and TNT 18 that are still being sold today, TNT Pro Plus, a TNT processed version of the highly acclaimed GAMMA Gut Pro string that had set the standard for synthetic string playability, and a unique gel filled string, TNT Rx 16, that was designed to maximize shock and vibration absorption and help minimize arm discomfort during play.

Over the years numerous other TNT string models have been added that offer specialized performance benefits. Strings like Fat Core and Fusion along with strings having unique constructions like GAMMA Solace, made with TNT processed core filaments. In 2008, some enhancements were made to the TNT strings and TNT became TNT2 that included a new look and package design as well.

Although the packaging may have changed over the years along with enhancements made to the process, the basic TNT technology has been the same and has stood the test of time. Although my co-inventor Dr. Ferrari is not with us to celebrate the 25th anniversary of TNT, he is with us in spirit and his ingenuity will live on.

Happy 25th birthday TNT and here’s to another 25 years!