Saturday, November 21, 2009

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett


May 1904 National Sportsman – First Advertisement for the Heddon #100


There are so many things to say about this ad it is hard to know where to begin. It is the ad that first set me to work in 1986 deciphering the earliest Heddon #100's. The bait is a typical 1904, three-bellyweight #100 with a few major differences. It appears to have no gill marks. It has a tubular extension washer on the rear rather than the typical brass washer. There is also a difference that escaped me until several years later. The nose washer is not the typical washer found on brass hardware Heddon Minnows, but rather the large, heavy washer identical to that found the previous year (1903) on the nose of the “Dowagiac Underwater”.

Experience has shown time and again that though a typical bait or reel may differ from an illustration, the artist had a model that looked exactly like the illustration and sooner or later one shows up to prove it. When my article on early #100's appeared in the first NFLCC Magazine (January 1991), I got a call from long-time collector Bob Essick, telling me that he had an early #100 with the tail extension tube washer identical to the one in this ad . When he found the lure, he assumed some fisherman had added the tube washer on the rear so he promptly removed it. Luckily, Bob did not throw it away and after seeing the ad in the article, placed it back on the lure. I have seen a several of the very earliest Heddon #100's that have the heavy “Dowagiac Underwater” washers, but to my knowledge, Bob's #100 is still the only one to show up with the tail extension washer.

-- Bill Sonnett

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