The shuttlecock traces its roots back a few thousand years in China as a game using the name “shuttlecock” (or Ti Jian Zhi). Shuttlecock games recorded as early as 5th century BC are believed to have eventually spread to India, China and Thailand (formerly Siam).
It is difficult to know how the game that came to be known as badminton evolved, however, the earliest known source is an ancient Greece drawing depicting a similar game played with a shuttlecock more than two thousand years ago. While it is unknown how and when it became the traditional game called “battledore and shuttlecock” in Europe by the late 16th century (or Jeu de Volant which means “flying game” in French) it is generally accepted the game was played with a small hand paddle made of wood and a shuttlecock which was often called a “bird” because it was made with feathers.
Over the course of the last 150 years the shuttlecock has had many iterations as depicted in this article. Historically, the shuttlecock was a small cork hemisphere with 16 goose feathers attached and weighing about 0.17 ounce (5 grams).
In the 1800’s, although feathers were used, the flight was erratic and inconsistent as shown with the velvet shuttle with a cork base. Experimentation was common place as many different types of feathers and materials were used such as the ‘experimental shuttle’ using teased natural gut in 1935 as well as chicken feathers.
A standard was somewhat reached in the 1930’s to 1940’s for shuttles which consisted of a cork base with goose or duck feathers with a heavy cotton thread. This has basically remained as the generally accepted construction of a shuttle since that time. Experiments with single, double or even triple rows of stitching still occurred but for the most part, no ‘breakthroughs’, that have made a significant impact on the sport have been introduced.
In 2019, the 3-in-1 shuttle from Kinisi Sports was released which is the first time in the history of the sport that 3 distinct parts were used in the making of the shuttle. The patented technology uses a cork base, a modified nylon core which provides for a much more solid core that doubles the life of the shuttle.
As well, the nylon core has slots providing an opportunity to replace feathers which has never been an option in the sport.
The innovative Kinisi Sports 3-in-1 shuttle is the next evolution in shuttlecocks in the sport of badminton.