The British design registration number 413,454 on this club dates to 1904. This William Mills RL2 model Duplex has its original 41" shaft and an old leather wrapped replacement grip. The solf aluminum head is far above average as it shows a minimal amount of dings or wear. A real beauty!
Described as an "innovative genius," William Mills attracted attention once again with the double face on his Duplex serving as a dual-purpose club--allowing itself to be played for both right-handed and left-handed shots depending on how the ball was lying, something that previously would require owning two separate clubs.
In October 1903, Golf Illustrated gave the Duplex metalwood a glowing review, featuring so much more than just the dual nature of its hitting ability. It raved about the head being perfectly balanced--feeling so comfortable in the player's hand as to grow his confidence. It marveled that the hitting surface providing such a loft, as a cleek would, but hit straighter shots than a normal iron or a mashie. The lengthy review concluded with "We have not seen any which is so well adapted for its purpose or which gives such uniform and satisfactory results." Imagine a review like that on a new club coming out today! It would be a must-buy, just like the Mill's Duplex was back then! A very nice club, especially when considering the rarity of a fairway-wood-length duplex club, not just the Mills models.
More information can be found TCA2 V2 p519.
This club is shown 5th from the right in the accompanying group image of 7 clubs and is easily recognized in the accompanying image of 5 clubs.