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."
While I can’t substantiate his date of 1910, I can confirm that the radium core was real. A gamma spec analysis clearly shows that the ball contains radium: approximately 150 Bq (4 nCi).
Patent for the Radio Golf Ball
The relevant patent (1,260,788) was applied for in 1916 by Ellis Miller and assigned to the Radium Golf Ball Company of New York.
Before the patent was granted (in 1918), Miller’s golf ball was described in the November 15, 1916 issue of the India Rubber Review as follows:
Advertisements for the Radio Golf Ball
Quoting Robert Hartman's Tales from Pinehurst: Stories from the Mecca of American Golf :
The earliest explicit reference to the "Radio" Golf Ball I that have found was an ad in the June 30, 1917 issue of the Philadelphia Enquirer:
The last advertisement for the Radio Golf Ball that I could locate was from 1925 (Detroit Free Press, April 15, 1925) by which time the price had dropped to 45 cents.
Construction of the Radio Golf Ball
The most detailed description of the “Blue Radio Golf Ball” can be found in an advertisement taken out by Wannamaker Company. Selective quotes follow:
The center was then increased to a larger size in a winding machine using pure para rubber thread.
After vulcanizing, the ball: