Guide to the T-Net Records
NMAH.AC.1255

Administrative Information

Repository Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History, 2012

P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C., 20013-7012
Phone: 202-633-3270
archivescenter@si.edu

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The collection was donated by Michael Fanning on October 24, 2011.

Processing Information note

Processed by Alison Oswald, archivist, October 2011.

Return to Table of Contents »


Summary Information

Repository
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Title
T-Net Records
ID
NMAH.AC.1255
Date
1983-2003
Extent
0.05 Cubic feet, 1 box
Language
English
Abstract
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.

Preferred Citation note

T-Net, Inc. Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Instiution.

Return to Table of Contents »


Biographical/Historical note

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.

Return to Table of Contents »


Scope and Contents note

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.

Return to Table of Contents »


Arrangement note

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

Return to Table of Contents »


Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Materials at the National Museum of American History

The Division of Culture and the Arts holds related artifacts. See accession 2011.0234.

Return to Table of Contents »


Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Clippings
  • Correspondence
  • Patents
  • Photographs--20th century

Subject(s)

  • Inventions--20th century
  • Recreation
  • Sports

Return to Table of Contents »


Collection Inventory

 Series 1, Correspondence, 1993-1996

Correspondence, undated


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 1

Correspondence, 1993


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 2

Correspondence, 1994


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 3

Correspondence, 1995-1996


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 4

 Series 2, Financial Materials, 1989-2003

Box
1
Folder
5

 Series 3, Manufacturing Materials, 1993

Box
1
Folder
6

 Series 4, Marketing Materials, 1995 and undated

General, 1995


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 7

T-Net tournament brackets, undated


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 8

 Series 5, Patent Materials, 1983-2003

Correspondence, 1993


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 9

Correspondence, 1994-2003


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 10

Patent expenses, 1992-1993


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 11

Other patents, 1983-1992


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 12

 Series 6, Photographs, circa 1980-1990s and undated

Box
1
Folder
13

 Series 7, Newspaper Clippings, 1993

Box
1
Folder
14