A Quality Pair of Cased c.1900 Lignum Vitae Bowling Woods by Thomas Taylor, Glasgow


Origin: British
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1900-15
Case Width: 10 inches
Circumference of Woods: 15 inches approx

The pair of bowling woods turned in lignum vitae, with ivorine insets engraved "RH" and “1” and “2” respectively in script for the original owner, housed and presented in their original leather and canvas carrying case and surviving from the early twentieth century.

Condition would be described as good with very slight knocks commensurate with use, the wholes with a superb colour. The case is original but has seen better days with the top detached from the lower and the leather strap with losses. The bowls are marked with the makers name Thomas Taylor, Glasgow and AS705.

Bowls historians believe that the game developed from the Egyptians as one of their pastimes was to play skittles with round stones based on artefacts found in tombs dating to circa 5,000 B.C. It was in the thirteenth century that the game as it is played today became popular though there is a positive recorded history of bowls having been played in England as far back as the 12th century, and it could well have been played much earlier than that.

Back in the 1800's, when all bowls were shaped by hand to a template and consequently, no two bowls were exactly alike, Thomas Taylor made and patented a machine for shaping bowls accurately. To obtain absolute uniformity, each set of bowls was made from the same log of lignum vitae, and put through the shaping machine as a complete set of four. Lignum Vitae is one of the few woods that with not float and was replaced with composition bowls later in the twentieth century partly due to the rarity of the wood.

These prove to be both incredibly tactile and thoroughly decorative.