The auctioneer believes the head on this mid to late 1890s driver is made from "hornite", a vulcanized fiber process to approximate the durability of horn. The many fiber layers are visible on the crown, the sole, the back of the head—everywhere. There are a few places that might appear to have a tiny crack, but those are places where the lamination let go just a little—more evidence of the unique material and nature of this club. The leather insert in the center of the face is original to the club, as is the shaft and leather-wrap grip. The owner's initials "AEF" are stamped onto the top of the head.
Another interesting feature of this club is that it has a very flat lie, with the emphasis on "VERY." When forming the club, the cLubmaker needed to steam the fiber in order to create the bend/angle of the neck. That angle has flattened out a quite a bit during the past 120+ years. No doubt most of that change occurred early on, shortly after the neck was given its bend, which helps explain why so few of these clubs made.
This club was used very little if at all. The varnish on the top of the head has been chipped up a bit, and looks far worse under the magnifying glass of a close-up image, but the head itself is perfect and looks great in real life. Given a slight touch up to the varnish, however, this club would look fabulous.
TCA2 V1 p364 pictures and discusses this very club. A copy of the page signed by the author will be included with this lot.