Introduced in the 1890s, the Home Press was a simple design that allowed individual golfers to make and/or remould their own gutta percha mesh-pattern golf balls. These devices met with some success in the marketplace—their ads boasted "thousands sold." They remained available until the early 1900s, after which gutta percha golf balls were left behind in favor of rubber-core balls. This example still has a gutta percha ball that was left inside it over a hundred years ago—or so that appears to be the case to the auctioneer given the nature of the ball.
To remold a gutty ball, it would need to be heated in hot/boiling water first. This ball appears to have had that done, as neither its original mesh pattern is clear nor is a new mesh pattern had the ball been correctly remolded. The damage to the ball, described next, likely occurred at some point during the process of trying to remold it.
As mentioned, the ball itself is not the greatest. A significant amount of gutta percha is missing from one side of the ball (as shown in one of the images). The ball will look normal, however, when displayed inside the mold with the damaged side down. But even with the damage, this ball is quite special considering the fact that it was first placed in this mold over a century ago and it still remains there ever since. The auctioneer has never seen another Home Press that continues to hold a ball from the 1890s. Heck, the number of home golf ball presses that the auctioneer has seen, with or without a ball, is extremely small. A Fine Piece.