Saturday, June 6, 2009

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

The Origins of South Bend

In the May 1910 issue of The Sporting Goods Dealer Magazine there appeared the following notice:

“New Goods From South Bend Bait Company

The South Bend bait Company of South Bend, Indiana is placing on the market sixteen different styles of bucktail lures, wooden minnows in four different styles, casting rods, weedless hooks and casting floats....”

I believe this is one of the South Bend Bait Company's earlyest public announcements that they are in business. That same month Elmer Doddridge of South Bend, Indiana applied for a patent on his weedless hook and assigned the rights to the South Bend Bait Company. In August 1910 this ad appeared in Field and Stream. It is one of the earliest ads in an outdoor magazine for the South Bend Bait Company that I am aware of and the only one I've seen for the Doddridge Hook. The Doddridge hook by the way was last seen in the 1912 South Bend Catalog.

After a long search about 10 years ago. I finally located a Doddridge Weedless Hook and added it to my collection. Feeling quite proud of myself, I told fellow collector (and long time fishing apprentice) Warren Platt that I had found an elusive Doddridge Weedless Hook. He immediately said, in a somewhat indifferent manner that he had three of them on the card. I told him that I doubted that as they were last made in 1912. The joke was on me as he really did have three he'd found in a flea market that were still on the cards. I don't think he had any idea of how rare his find was. As far as I know they are still the only three that have been found on there original cards. Needless to say after telling him he probably did not have the real thing, I was put through a lot of friendly hoops acquiring this one.

-- Bill Sonnett

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