From Ohio History Central
Haskell Golf Ball. Courtesy of Glendale Golfs
On April 11, 1899, Coburn Haskell, an avid golfer, and Bertram G. Work, an employee of the B.F. Goodrich Company in Akron, Ohio, received a patent for a golf ball. Initially, golf balls had consisted of leather pouches stuffed with boiled feathers. In 1848, a new golf ball -- the gutta-percha -- began to replace the "feathery," as the original golf ball was known. The gutta-percha consisted of hardened juice from trees located in South America and the Pacific Islands. Unfortunately, the gutta-percha proved difficult for golfers to hit out of both fairways and the rough. They were, however, much cheaper to manufacture than the feathery.
Haskell's and Work's ball consisted of rubber thread wrapped around a solid rubber core. This golf ball was much easier for golfers to hit and also allowed players greater control when they hit the ball. As a result of the Haskell and Work golf ball, the game of golf dramatically increased in popularity within the United States. In 1901, Haskell established the Haskell Golf Ball Company. This company manufactured Haskell's and Work's new golf ball. It was the only company legally permitted to do so in the world during the first decades of the 1900s, making Haskell a very wealthy man. In 1917, he sold the Haskell Golf Ball Company and his patent. The Haskell Golf Ball Company ceased operation this same year.