1875 Encyclopaedia Britannica Rules

Early Rules of Badminton: The following article appears in Volume III of the 9th Edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, which was published in 1875.

The author HJ was Henry Jones, who under the pseudonym Cavendish wrote a number of books on various card games, and in addition was one of the prime movers in establishing rules for the then new games of Lawn Tennis and Badminton. He was the Referee for the very first Lawn Tennis Tournament at Wimbledon, in 1877 .

BADMINTON, a game of recent introduction. It may be played in or out of doors, by any number of persons from two to eight; two or four makes the best game. The following description applies to the outdoor game; the indoor follows the same plan, modified only by circumstances affecting a room. A tolerably level surface is required to form a ground. Turf or asphalt is the best. The size of the ground varies from 40 ft. by 20 ft. to 30 ft. by 15 ft., according to the space at command and the activity of the players.

The ground is divided into Courts as shown in the diagram, which gives the marking-out and measurements of a full-sized ground.

The boundaries of the ground and of the courts should be defined by means of whiting and water, or pegged-down tape, the former being preferable.

On each of the spots marked" post," half·way between the service lines, and 15 ft. apart, a post about 6 ft. high must be erected, either on a stand or driven into the ground, and supported by guy-ropes.

A net, about 5 ft. 6 in. or 5 ft. high, should be stretched from post to post. The depth of the net is of but little consequence. Where expense is no object, it should reach to the ground. The implements required in playing the game are(1), shuttlecocks, and (2), rackets or battledores. The former should be about 5 in. high, and about 1 oz. in weight. For outdoor play the shuttlecocks are sometimes made heavier by being loaded with lead. The body should be covered with india·rubber. The rackets should be similar to those used at the game of the same name, only smaller, about 2 ft. 6 in. long.

The game consists in sending the shuttlecock with the racket over the net, forwards and backwards, until one of the players fails to return it. The players decide by lot which shall commence or have first hand-in and choice of ends. The player who is hand·in (say A) stations himself in one of the courts at his end, his adversary (say B) in the diagonally opposed court at the other end. A. then serves to B., i.e., A. standing in the court chosen by him, strikes the shuttlecock over the net with the racket into the diagonally opposed court. B. then has to return the service by striking the shuttlecock back over the net without allowing it to touch the ground, and so on alternately until one player fails. If this is the player who served, he is hand-out, his adversary becomes hand-in, and serves, and no score accrues. But if the player failing is the one who was served to, his adversary scores one point towards game, called an ace. The player who first scores 15 aces wins the game; but if the score arrives at 14 all, it is necessary for one player to score two consecutive aces in order to win.

The server must serve according to the following conditions :-he must stand with both feet in the court served from; he must send the shuttlecock clean over net (i.e., without touching net or posts), and so that it will drop into or beyond the service line bounding the court served into, and into the diagonally opposed court. If he fails to comply with these conditions it is a fault, and he has to serve again. Two consecutive faults put his hand out.

The server's hand is also out if he fails to send the shuttlecock over the net; if he hits the shuttlecock beyond the external boundary of the ground, or more than once; or if after the server has loosed it, it touches him. No fault is allowed for these failures, as they are considered more serious than those first enumerated. After service is properly given, if either player fails to return the shuttlecock clean over the net, and so that it drops within external boundary of the ground on the side of the net furthest from the striker, the player failing loses an ace, or is hand-out as the case may be. It will be observed that in the service the shuttlecock must be sent from right court to right court, or from left to left, but in the return, by either player, it is only required that the shuttlecock shall drop within any part of the ground, bounded by the external line of all. In addition the shuttlecock must be struck before it touches the ground, and must be touched only with the racket, and must only be hit once, otherwise it counts against the striker. If the shuttlecock drops on line enclosing the court served into, or in the return drops on the boundary line, it is generally reckoned as a let, i.e. stroke or innings goes for nothing, and the server again. But this is an utterly useless rule, and it is better to count everything that drops on the line to the striker.

In the case of a fault, or in the case of returns that are not according to the conditions, if the adversary returns or attempts to return the shuttlecock, the service or return counts the same as though it had been properly made. If server scores he serves again, this time from his other court and so on alternately from one court to the other as long as he scores. When he is hand-out, his adversary commences serving from either of the courts at his end, and, on scoring, serves from his other court, and so on. In partner games the disposition of the players, and the rules by which they conduct the game, as to the two hands in, so forth, are identical with those which prevail at lawn tennis. See TENNIS. (H.J)

Content contributed by Dave Jacobs
Page maintained by Stan Bischof. Last updated 03 Nov 2006 18:43