George Nicoll began to make clubs in 1881. On August 14, 1893, he applied for a patent on this distinct iron. It's unique feature is the gutta
percha that Nicoll inlaid in the face. Gutta percha golf balls were in
use when this iron was made, and Nicoll was trying to find a material that
would grip the ball and prevent the "slipping" that could occur on a
smooth face iron. Nicoll also used leather as an insert material in
Quite a bit of extra work was needed to prepare the cavity to hold the insert. Evidence of hand workmanship is found around the perimeter of the cavity.
Nicoll did not complete his patent, so a patent was
never issued for this club. Judging from the rarity of these irons, they
received little interest which would explain why Nicoll did not complete his patent application.
This example has a beautiful lancewood shaft stamped "A. Aiken, Edinburgh," and its original sheepskin grip. The gutta percha insert is all there the head is
clean. The writing usually found on the back of the head is not
there. It was either lost to cleaning with emery cloth, as sometimes happened, or this head was not stamped which also sometimes ocurred. Nicoll gutta percha face irons, however, are unique in the world of antique clubs and easily identifiable. This is a fine example.
TCA2 V2 p 392