The Reddy Tee - changing golf forever

Although Dr. George Grant invented the 1st modern golf tee he was not a businessman and never brought his peg tee to market. The same can not be said for another dentist tee inventor Dr William Lowell of Maplewood New Jersey.  Dr. Lowell had his own troubles as a businessman, but as far as getting his invention to market and promoting it he was more than a success as any golfer that uses what is now a conventional tee can attest. 

Vintage ad for the Reddy Tee.

You see Dr. Lowell paid golfing great Walter Hagan and his exhibition partner Joe Kirkwood to use his "Reddy Tee" and leave them behind as they played. The result, $100,000 in sales in 1922, which if you look closely is a full 6 years before Dr. Lowell received his patent and 5 years before he filed his patent application.  Hmmm, I wonder why he had so many patent challenges....

Anyway, back to the invention and patent. When reviewing Dr. Lowell's patent application there are a couple of things that stand out.

The first being his concern with the fact that the tee could not be seen once the ball was upon it, even if the tee were adjusted by tilting to help maintain proper balance under windy conditions. (See fig 5 & 6) The second point he stressed was that his tee in no way would interfere with the golf shot, it would either break or come loose from the ground. 

However the thing that stands out from the first paragraph of the golf tee patent application, is it "displaced the use of molding damp sand by hand". Then latter in summary "...my peg tee provides means fro more perfect support and adjustment of support for the golf ball, without the necessity of manipulating sand or earth to from the old fashioned tee, therefore avoiding entirely the soiling of the hands...". If this all sounds familiar it is because it was the same point stressed by Dr. Grant in his 1899 peg tee patent.

So in any event Dr. Lowell's tee ( clearly a knock off of Gr. Grant's) caught on and golf was forever changed. It is also interesting to note that Dr. Lowell's son, William Jr. not only made his own contribution indirectly to the game of golf, but his personal contribution to the American lifestyle is almost immeasurable. You see William Jr. ran the Reddy Tee company for a few years and made himself into an industrial packaging specialist. In 1933, Dr. Lowell and William ended up selling the Reddy Tee Company to Red Devil Inc and young William went to work for the Union Bag Company where he developed what is known today as "the six pack".

A copy of the patent drawing for Dr. Lowell's golf tee.


To learn more about golf tees, continue your search here.....


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