This William Mills Duplex RL 2 1/2 model has its original 38 1/2" shaft and leather wrapped grip. The club is in nice overall original condition with some bag wear to the head, but nothing excessive. These heads were made from soft aluminum, so they would mark easily. The British design registration number 413,454 on the sole of this club dates to 1904.
Described during his day as an "innovative genius," William Mills attracted attention with the double face on his Duplex clubs. A duplex club served 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. But a Mills duplex provided even more!
In October of 1903, Golf Illustrated gave the Mills 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 wouid, 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.