PFLUEGER’S EGG BEADED BAIT
by Jerald Jolly
I consider the Egg Beaded Bait made by the Enterprise Manufacturing Co. (Pflueger) one of the favorite parts of my collection. It was made for casting, trolling, or however one wanted to use it. The bait has a unique configuration and does not cost an arm or a leg to collect. When many collectors see an Egg Beaded Bait or put one up for sale, they immediately think it is around 100 years old. That is not the case. While the bait was first made in the late 1880s or early 1890s not all of them are that old. According to the catalogs and catalog copies I have the Egg Beaded Bait was shown in Enterprise Manufacturing Co. catalogs thru the 1941 copyright catalog.
Several early patents granted to Pfluegers pertain to the Egg Beaded Bait. The following is a list of the patents, their issue date, and what they pertained to.
…..Patent No. 272,317, Granted Feb. 13, 1883 – Dealt with the three types of artificial metal baits (the minnow, the devon or angel, and the spinner) as well as the application of a luminous coating to the bait.
…..Patent No. 432,436, Granted July 15, 1890 – Dealt with the addition of a picture or representation of some insect or animal suitable for bait to a metal spoon bait. This patent was not listed with the bait in the catalogs; however, some of the Egg Beaded Baits do have the pictures or representations on them.
…..Patent No. 468,361, Granted Feb. 9, 1892, -- Dealt with the addition of brightly colored flakes to the luminous or reflective paint on the back of a metal spoon bait.
…..Patent No. 480,132, Granted Aug. 2, 1892 – Dealt with the use of a thin piece of metal (hinge lug) to attach the blade of a metal spoon bait to the shaft.
…..Patent No. 564,839, Granted July 28, 1896 – Dealt with the addition of a primer used under the luminous paint on metal or flexible baits to help prevent the luminous paint from flaky off the bait.
There are many ways to assign an approximate date to the Egg Beaded Bait but you need to know what to look for when examining the bait. This article will take you thru the changes in the Egg Beaded Bait according to the information I have available in the form of Enterprise Catalogs and copies of portions of Enterprise Catalogs. I will give a brief description of the bait and/or changes in the bait along with a photo or photos for illustration.
The first catalog we will look at is the 1897 F-25 catalog. This catalog shows that the Egg Beaded Bait came in both the Kidney and Egg Shapes. The Kidney came in 7 sizes (1-7) and the Egg came in 8 sixes (1-8) and both came in both Luminous and Non-Luminous (red paint). The photo to the left is from the 1897 catalog and shows that both shapes had a box swivel and a small glass bead above the blade. There were also many different hammered designs for the blades and the blade was attached with the reversible hinge lug. The catalog goes on to state that the Special Feature for this bait was the GIMP SHAFT which was flexible and easy to cast and would not allow the hook to cock back like a stiff shaft would. These baits were marked PFLUEGER AKRON O on the convex side of the blade.
The 1906 Catalog had different pages for both the Kidney Shaped and Egg Shaped Egg Beaded Bait. The photos to the left were taken from the 1906 catalog. The top photo is of the Kidney bait and the bottom photo is of the Egg Shaped bait. As you can see both baits continue to be seen with the box swivel and the small glass bead above the blade with the blade being attached with the patented reversible hinge lug. The beads below the blade are simply referred to as a string of brilliant colored beads. The baits still have the flexible GIMP SHAFT and come in Luminous and Non-Luminous (Red Paint) Quality and Non-Luminous (Red Paint) Favorite Quality with the paint being on the concave side. The Kidney Shaped bait came in 9 sizes (1-7 with a 2 ½ and 5 ½). The Egg Shaped bait came in 12 sizes (0-9 with a 1 ½. 2 ½, and 3 ½). It also reads in the catalog that the Premium Quality baits come in either Nickel, Brass, or Copper finish with the Favorite Quality coming in either Nickel or Brass but Copper could be ordered for the price of 50 cents per gross. It goes on to state that unless specified the bait would come in Nickel Finish and either plain or embossed blades should be specified when ordering. The Luminous Premium Quality baits come sewn on a Bronze Printed Card and the Non-Luminous Premium and Favorite Quality baits came wrapped in tissue paper. They could also be sewn on a card for the extra cost of 50 cents per gross. These baits were also marked PFLUEGER AKRON O. This catalog also states that the Old Style Lug can be ordered at no extra charge.
The next entry I have is a copy of page 212 from the 1916 Pflueger Catalog. The photo on the left was taken from that page. As you can see there have been some changes made. For one thing, there is a barrel swivel in place of the box swivel and there is no longer a small glass bead on the shaft above the blade. The blade is still attached with the patented reversible hinge lug; however, it is no longer on a Gimp Shaft but on a flexible
Cable Bronze Wire Shaft. Also, there was no mention of a Kidney Shaped Egg Beaded Bait. The catalog also specifies that there is an assortment of brilliant colored Ivory Beads strung on the shaft. The patent numbers 272317-468361-480132-564839 are also shown on the page. It also goes on to state that the blades are furnished in hammered metal which is Polished Nickel on the Convex side. The bait came Luminous Concave and Red Concave in 8 sizes (1-8) with sizes 1, 2, 7, and 8 being special order sizes only. They were sewed one on a card and once card in a fancy card box. Six boxes in a fancy carton. The bottom of the page mentions PFLUEGER BULL DOG Brand Goods. The photo immediately to the left is a close up of the above photo from the 1916 catalog. Notice the reversible hinge lug. Instead of being a thin piece of metal it appears to be the reversible hinge lug that looks like a circle of metal bent around the shaft of the bait with the blade mounted on it. The photo also shows the Bull Dog Trade Mark marking; however, I am not so sure that is correct as will be seen in the 1919 Catalog entry coming up next. The hook on the bait is Polished Nickel adorned with an assortment of fancy water fowl feathers.
The photo below is from a copy of page 68 from the 1919 Enterprise Catalog. Once again there is no sign of a box swivel or the small glass bead above the blade and appears to be the same photo seen in the 1916 catalog. The four Patent numbers 272317-468361-480132-564839 are present as is the Trade Mark we are accustomed to seeing with a Pflueger metal bait from this era. If you look very closely you can see the other Bull Dog Trademark at the apex of the blade which can be seen in the close up of the 1916 catalog photo. Once again, the catalog states that the blade is hammered metal attached to a flexible Cable Bronze Wife shaft with the patented reversible hinge lug. The bait only comes as the Pflueger Luminous Egg Beaded Bait No. 191 in 4 sizes (3-6). It has a bright Nickel plated hook that is adorned with a liberal assortment of fancy water fowl feathers and the shaft is provided with the new idea of “Slip Loop” which will permit quick changing of hooks. They came sewed one on a card and once card in a fancy card box.
The photo below is from the copyright 1924 Enterprise Catalog page 91. Once again several changes have been noted. In this catalog, it states that the blades are made of Hammered Spring Brass with an Old Style Lug firmly soldered to the same. The blades are shaped to spin freely and close to the shaft which is made of Cable Bronze Wire. There is an assortment of brilliant colored Ivory Beads strung on the shaft which are a great fish attractor. The several lower beads slip over a Piano Wire Hook Connection (see photo) that allows for quick and easy hook changing. The hook is plated with Polished Nickel and adorned with an assortment of water fowl feathers. For the first time a Brass Barrel Swivel is noted. This bait came in 8 sizes (1-8), with 7 and 8 being special order only, in Polished Nickel Convex-Luminous Concave (No. 191) and Polished Nickel Convex-Red Concave (No. 195). They are on fine printed cards and PFLUEGER BULL DOG Brands are mentioned. Only 3 patents appear (272317-468361-564839) since Old Style Lug is used.
The photo below is from Enterprise Pocket Catalog 145 Copyright 1925 page 82. All the information for this bait is the same as for the bait in the 1924 Catalog except for the following small differences. There is no mention as to what type of finish is on the hook and whether or not it has water fowl feathers, the bait only comes in 6 sizes (1-6), and, for the first time, No. 191 is said to have Luminous Enamel Concave. Since the Old Style Lug is used there are only 3 patents listed (272317-468361-564-839). No other changes or any markings are noted.
The photo below is from the Enterprise Pocket Catalog 146 Copyright 1926 page 85. There are no changes from the 1925 Catalog and Luminous Enamel Concave is use again with the bait coming in 6 sizes (1-6).
The photo below is from the Enterprise Pocket Catalog 148 Copyright 1928. All of the information is the same except that the bait only comes in 5 sizes (2-6). It has the same 3 patents and comes in the same 6 sizes with Luminous Enamel being used again also.
The photo below is from Enterprise Trade Catalog No. 49 Copyright 1929. In this catalog the bait still uses the Cable Bronze Wire shaft, brilliant colored Ivory Beads, Old Style Lug, and Hammered Spring Brass Blades. The bait comes in 5 sizes (2-6) and No. 191 still has Luminous Enamel Concave and it came in both Luminous and Red Paint. The only difference noted is the use of bright Tin Plated Treble Hooks with assorted water fowl feathers. The bait also has Brass Barrel Swivels. The same 3 patents are listed since the Old Style Lug is used.
The Copyright 1931 Pflueger Pocket Catalog No. 151 contained and Egg Beaded Bait with some changes (photo to left). The bait still had a blade made of Hammered Brass with the Old Style Lug on a shaft made of Cable Bronze wire. There was still a string of brilliant colored Ivory beads and a Piano Wire Hook Connection as shown in the photo. The same 3 patents are listed but there is no designation as to the type of hook or how it is adorned. The biggest change is the addition of a Sleeve on the shaft that the Old Style Lug rides on to reduce wear on the shaft. This year only the No. 191 Luminous bait was offered in 5 sizes (2-6) and it had Luminous Enamel.
In Trade Catalog No. 53, Copyright 1932, The bait remained the same as was shown in the 1931 Copyright Pocket Catalog. It came as No. 191, Polished Nickel Convex-Luminous Enamel Concave in 5 sizes (2-6). Everything else was the same. One interesting fact is that the Patent Numbers are no longer listed, only Trade Marks Reg. U. S. Pat. Office, which was noted on the other listings also.
The photo below is from the Copyright 1940 Trade Catalog No. 61. They must not have had much room in the catalog as the listing was very short. It says it is a dependable trolling bait that has stood the test of time and is still vedry popular. Improved sleeve construction prevents fraying of cable bronze wire shaft. Spoon is polished Nickel Convex, Luminous Enamel Concave. It then list No. 191. The only difference is that the hook is attached with a Heavy Split Ring. No patents are listed here either.
I found information from the 1895 Catalog in which the Egg Beaded Bait was listed as coming in 8 sizes (1-8) in the Hammered Finish that resembles a pine cone. It has the small red bead above the blade, and box swivel, and the blade is attached with the Reversible Hinge Lug. No photo is available for this bait.
A special thanks to Lindy Egan who provided me with information that the Egg Beaded Bait did not appear in any of the Pocket Catalogs 1934 thru 1941. I have the Trade Catalog 59 Copyright 1938 and the bait is not in that catalog either.
From its inception the Pflueger Egg Beaded Bait went thru many subtle changes. The changes pointed out in this document will help everyone more accurately date the Egg Beaded Bait in the future and help with assigning a value to it. Since there are some catalogs not included herein there is the possibility that other changes could also have been made. This document is most likely not all inclusive and is only meant to be a guide and reference as far as the information contained herein.
The following 4 Baits are from my collection. The photos and description will point out how I dated them using the information contained in this document.
I think the bait in the 3 photos below was made between 1916 and 1919 and possibly as late as the early 1920s since the Old Style Lug is shown in the 1924 Catalog. This could have been a transitional bait where they had box swivels left over and used them or they had the shaft with the swivel attached which they were trying to deplete from their inventory. Notice it has the box swivel and the blade has the Old Style Lug. The red concave side was being made during that time frame. Notice in the photo on the right that the shaft was bent back over itself and then secured with a wrapping of red thread and then covered with a lacquer or shellac coating. The 1919 Catalog stated that they introduced the new idea of Slip Loop once again suggesting that they were depleting the stock of something.
The 3 photos below show a bait that I have dated between 1919 and 1924. The barrel swivel, Old Style Lug, and Slip Loop (right photo) date it 1919 or later but the luminous paint does not appear to be Luminous Enamel which was introduced in the 1925 Catalog.
The bait in the 2 photos below is the oldest Egg Beaded Bait I have. I dated this bait between 1897-1906. The baits in that time frame had the box swivel, the red bead above the blade, the reversible hinge lug, and is marked Pflueger, Akron O. I did not date it earlier since it did not have the Pine Cone type hammered finish.
In the Catalogs this bait is called the Pflueger Egg Beaded Bait, the Pflueger Luminous Beaded Bait, and the Pflueger Beaded Egg Bait. No matter what you may prefer to call it, I think it is one of the really nice Pflueger Collectibles even though it is not considered “High End”.
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