Sport Antiques Catalogue - Antique Golf - Balls & Bags
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'NOVA' Bramble Pattern Golf Ball.
A good example of a rubber core golf ball with a moulded gutty bramble pattern cover, ca. 1910. Stamped "Large NOVA Floater" on both poles. The golf ball is manufactured by Boyle's.
Prior to the 1920's, as there were no regulations in place, the golf ball was made in varying combinations of sizes and weight. With this large variety of balls a player was able to choose a ball depending on the wind conditions, temperature and the course choice of the day. A complete line of golf balls were manufactured for this purpose. Some of the large lightweight balls would actually float on water giving them the nickname 'floaters'. In 1935 St. Mungo (a large golf ball manufacture) was making 32 different models of ball.
The rubber core ball (the ancestor of the modern ball) began its life in the late 1890's. The first mass produced rubber core ball was by Coburn Haskell of Cleveland, Ohio. The first core balls were hand wound with elastic thread with a Gutta-percha cover, moulded with the raised square mesh pattern of their predecessor. The slight irregularities in the early wound balls made them quite lively, it was not until the invention of the automatic winding machine by John Gammeter (an engineer at Goodrich) and the change of pattern from mesh to bramble that the balls became more consistent and predictable.