Complete with its original shaft and sheepskin grip, this club measures a full 41" in length. The grip itself measures 15 3/4". These numbers are on the extreme end for the length of a rut niblick as well as a grip of any kind.
Despite these two highly unusual features, this iron has a patented hosel covered under the December 3, 1890 British patent issued to Thomas Carruthers. In his patent Carruthers called for shortening the hosel (by approximately 2 inches) and drilling it out through the sole. By doing this he could take all the weight that he had removed from the hosel and add it directly to the back of the head, to put more mass directly behind the ball. In addition, his patent notes that the flex point of the shaft, which would now be longer than it would be with a longer hosel, would change and "bring the 'spring' into the proper place."
All the late 1950s through mid 1970s Wilson Staff Dyna-Power irons had drilled through hosels. Carruthers had them beat on Wilson by nearly 60 years. The ball in the images is shown to provide prospective and is not included with this lot.
A self-described dairyman when he patented his iron, Carruthers was Scotland's best all-around athlete in the 1860s and 1870s. He produced primarily bore-through cleeks and driving irons which achieved a notable level of popularity during the 1890s. His rut niblicks were made in much smaller numbers.
It is the opinion of the auctioneer that Carruthers sold this head unmarked so the buyer couid stamp it, shaft it, and do with it as they saw fit. That would explain the extreme length of the shaft and grip, which likely makes this club a one-off. A monster-long shaft with such a tiny head so far away from the golfer's hands would be really difficult for anyone to hit. But, obviously, somebody wanted to try.
Today, few examples of a genuine Carruthers club remain, and this one is outstanding! For more on Carruthers and his patented cleek, see TCA2 v2 p416.