The giant flange on this club was covered under a 1913 British patent
issued to Louis Rose (see TCA2 v1 p321). According to his patent, the flange was brazed to the sole of an iron, sometimes using a steel rivet under the heel and the toe. Rose's flange could be included on a new club or it could be added to an existing iron: "The sole may be
attached to existing clubs in any suitable way." So to make a solid connection between the two pieces, the head and plate were brazed and
pinned together. The brazing can be seen on the top of this flange, right next to the blade
In addition to its flange, the head on the club offered here has a drilled face. The 59 holes drilled through the face served to lighten the head, to counteract the added weight of the flange. In addition, it was thought that a drilled face would serve to "soften up" a shot, so the ball would not go quite as far as it otherwise would. Jack White and James Bradbeer also devised putters with holes in their face (see TCA2 V1 p270-271).
The patina on the entire face matches that of the flange, indicating that the holes date back to when the flange was added. The execution of adding the flange is perfect. When the leading edge of the club is closely examined, there is no sign of a joint between the two pieces.
This creative implement is not only rare but also highly visual. It shows the curiosity felt by many a golfer today—always interested in trying something new to help their game—is nothing new in the world of golf. There were a few other flanged-irons made in the 1890s and
shortly thereafter, such as those by William Ballingall, George
Forrester, Francis Brewster, and Reginald Brougham (see TCA2 v1
p321-324, 326). Those clubs were also short lived.
The 36" shaft has its original grip. Given its length and the significant face loft, this club could work as a putter or chipper. Either way, this is a dang cool club. It's the only one of it's type known to the auctioneer and likely the only one of its type out there. Irons with Rose's flange are extremely rare to begin with.