This “The Pneumatic” golf ball shows little to no use. It is marked “Pat Aug 19, 1902” on one pole and “Goodyear, Akron” on the other. Some of the lettering in the pole stamps is hard to impossible to read. Because the cover on this ball is made from para rubber, and not gutta percha like the vast bulk of all early 20th century golf balls, it did not hold its stamp quite as well as gutta percha does. However, “The Pneumatic” stamped twice on the ball, on opposite sides of its equator, is still very readable.
Not only is this the first and one of the very few balls to be made with a para rubber cover during the early part of the rubber core era, it has a Pneumatic cover as cover under a patent filed on Sept 11, 1900 by Addison T. Saunders who assigned half of it to Frank Seiberling, the man who founded Goodyear Tire & Rubber in 1898.
The making of this ball was a bit of a marvel in and of itself. According to the attached 1905 advertisement, the wall of wound thread between the cover and the pure Para Rubber “jacket” that held the compressed air consisted of a single thread of Sea Island cotton over one thousand feel long that was wound with perfect accuracy and uniformity. The cover of the ball was also made from pure para rubber.
In the center of the ball, inside the para rubber “jacket” is compressed air. The accompanying ads show the core of compressed air and the other layers. The first advertisement is a Goodyear ad from 1903. The second was run in 1905 in the UK by the London firm of Geipel & Lange. Notice how Geipel uses Goodyear’s exact illustration of the ball.