Radio Golf Ball (ca. 1910-1930)

Mathew Laine, in his A cultural history of radiation and radioactivity in the United States, indicates that the Radio golf ball was introduced in 1910 by the Worthington Golf Ball Company "with an allegedly radium-laced core."

I have not found any company literature that specifically states that the ball contained radium but an advertisement (see below) in the May 17, 1918 issue of the New York Tribune quotes "one of the greatest of American Golfers" as saying that the ball had "what is known as a radium center."

An analysis by gamma spectroscopy clearly shows that it does indeed contain radium: approximately 150 Bq (4 nCi).  


Finally, a quote from Robert Hartman's Tales from Pinehurst: Stories from the Mecca of American Golf : "The Radio golf ball was advertised as, "The Ball of Mystery that never loses life or shape due to its inherent radioactive properties."

Atomic Brand Names                     Museum Directory

Last updated: 10/18/11
Copyright 1999, Oak Ridge Associated Universities