Born in North Berwick 1882 to Thomas Dunn, son of Willie Dunn, Seymour Dunn was a member of the great Dunn family of clubmakers. Along with his Willie Jr. and John Duncan Dunn, Seymour moved to America and went on to work in the golf business his entire life. This club is marked with the cleekmark Dunn used while working as a professional at Lake Placid, New York.
Both Willie Jr. and John Duncan Dunn devised and patented some unusual clubs. Seymour was also a bit of a club designer and produced the club offered here, which has got to be the ultimate backspin iron!
With this club, Seymour formed a raised edge along the top of every groove in a typical slotted backspin iron. Each edge faces down, so each will cut into the soft covers of the golf balls made back in the day and not let go. Making each one of these raised edges had to have taken a fair bit of work, but it was executed with great precision as the sharp edges are all consistent in their height and depth. Each edge is reminiscent of the edge of the blade that extends out from the bottom of a hand plane used in wood working. Call it a "knife-blade face" since these blades will slice up the cover of most any rubber core golf ball from its day.
There is no question that the sharp edges installed on this face functioned as blades that would cut into the cover to impart backspin. The main question that remained is this: "Would the golfer tolerate using a ball with its cover sliced up in dramatic fashion?" The answer would be an obvious "no," which helps explain why there are no other Seymour Dunn clubs known. Just this one has come to the attention of the auctioneer. But that is not to say that nobody else had a similar idea. A related club is the rasp face backspin iron found in volume 1 page 278 of The Clubmaker's Art. That club, which is also the only one of its type known, was covered under a 1903 US patent issued to Frederick Taylor. It, too, would tear up the cover of a golf ball in short order.
Seymore's iron offered here has its original 37" shaft and original leather wrap grip. The patina on the head is old, even, and shows that the club has not been altered after it was first made.
When it comes to backspin irons, this one is as rare and creative as they get. A true work of mid-evil art!!
This club is the fifth club down from the top in the group image.