Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Voices from the Past: Origins of the Orvis Fly Tying Empire (1877)

This is a neat article from the 01 March 1877 Forest & Stream which helps to date the origins of the Orvis fly tying empire. Amazing to think there was a time when Orvis didn't make flies!

The Orvis Flies

Mr. Chas. F. Orvis of Manchester, Vt., who makes most excellent Trout and Bass Rods, and an Improved Reel, as well, which is very much in request by anglers, has recently turned his attention to dressing artificial flies. Some specimens of his handicraft lie on our table before us. They compromise seven patterns of bass flies, in gaudy colors, and nine of trout flies; and we are bound to say that they ought to satisfy the most fastidious. One of the bass flies has its wings set after the Ferguson pattern; the others are flat. Three of the trout flies are new studies, which Mr. Orvis thinks are nearer to nature than the usual styles. He claims to dress his flies on best selected gut, and tie to any size of hook. One plan he adopts which all dealers would do well to imitate. He attaches to each kind of fly sold either the name of the fly, or a number, so that parties can duplicate their orders with certainty, and also learn the names of artificial flies, which many wish to do. Lest some persons may assert that Mr. Orvis is only a tyro in tying, and don't know as much about the art as some other men (which may, or may not be a fact) we wish to say that we happen to know something of the effort and expense to which this persevering gentleman has put himself to acquire the requisite skill in the profession, and to add that if all persons undertaking a new business would take the same pains to qualify themselves, more general satisfaction would be enjoyed by purchasers. Mr. Orvis, in his far-off corner of New England, will be able to supply a local demand long felt, and to fill a void which it is possible (as the poem says) "the world could never fill."

-- Dr. Todd

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