Saturday, July 18, 2009

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

The Markham Ball Bait

In 1913 C. E. Markham of Jackson Michigan owned the rights to the Burgess Weedless Hook and produced what has to be one of the crudest minnows on record: the Burgess Minnow. (I always thought they got third graders to paint them with toothpicks). He also ran a local pool hall and must have gotten his idea for this lure watching those round balls rolling around.

When I published this ad as part of an article on Benjamin Burgess in the December 2000 NFLCC Magazine no one that I had spoken to had ever seen the bait. I was pleasantly surprised sometime later when I received the following photo of the real thing! Fellow collector Joe McCarthy had picked up the bait six months earlier and thought it was some form of "folk art." The add appeared in several 1913 magazines including the April issue of Field & Stream. I believe another has been found since then but when the ads outnumber the total of the baits known, it is probably safe to assume that it was not a big seller.

-- Bill Sonnett

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