Sport Antiques Catalogue - Schotten Golf Trophies
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Robert Simpson Bookends.
A pair of bookends hand crafted from high quality traditional materials with original 1950's/60's club heads. The heads came from the Carnoustie workshop of Robert Simpson when it closed down and have been mounted on to oak with the bases weighted with lead. The persimmon wood head is in a part finished state with 'Bore' hand written in pencil across the top. The Iron has the cleek 'pipe' mark of Tom Stewart of St. Andrews with a Simpsons autograph and his RS monogram.
Robert Simpson was born in Earlsferry, Fife in 1862 and was one of six brothers. Two of his brothers were competitive golfers; Jack won the Open in 1884 whilst the other, Archie, was runner up. Robert is better known as a club maker, but he too was a good golf competitor, taking 4th in the Open on two occasions and tying for 2nd in 1893. He was an apprentice for George Forrester, in Elie, from 1878 - 1882. He then moved to St. Andrews and worked for Robert Forgan. In 1883 he filled the vacancy at the Dalhousie Club in Carnoustie as a club and ball maker, also acting as the green keeper. He started his own business making clubs two years later. In the infancy of the firm both Jack and Archie worked for their brother in Carnoustie. The forges of Robert Condie and William Gibson made the early iron club heads for Simpson, but with the rise of the James Gourlay forge in Carnoustie, Simpson could now obtain them locally. The Gourlay family made clubs for many years and forged many club heads for Robert Simpson and other makers. These heads can be identified by the Gourlay cleek marks of the 'anchor', 'moon & star' or 'horseshoe'. Simpson also had his own brand mark of an S in a circle and this also appeared on the Gourlay club heads made for him.
Robert Simpson died in 1923 with the business being run by his eldest son under the name R. Simpson & Son.
There is a certificate of authenticity for the club heads signed by the great grandson of Robert Simpson.
Tom Stewart learnt some of his club making art from his father who was a carpenter and occasional club maker. He served his apprenticeship with one of St. Andrews most prolific iron club makers, Robert White.
In his early days one of his best customers was the shop of Tom Morris, Old Tom even played with irons made by Stewart. Other well-known customers were the McEwans in Musselburgh as well as D. & W. Auchterlonie and Robert Forgan in St. Andrews.