Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Short History of Divine & Becraft

The Short History of Divine & Becraft

Recently, Charlie on the Classic Fly Rod Forum posted some information on Fred Divine's short-lived association with Frank Becraft in a firm known as Divine & Becraft. I have put aside a big folder of materials for Michael Sinclair's updated book on Divine, but thought some people might like to see what happened to this ill-fated firm.

Here is the only ad for Divine & Becraft I have found run in a major sporting journal:

The earliest I can find this ad is in the 08 May 1890 Forest & Stream. The last time this ad ran in the magazine was 07 August, 1890. By the end of 1890, the company was advertising again, without Becraft.

Why such a short span? And what happened to Becraft?

Forest & Stream illuminates the mystery.

The following blurb was published in the 16 October 1890 Forest & Stream and explains the short life of the firm of Divine & Becraft. It noted:

Mr. Becraft, of the firm of Devine [sic] and Becraft, fishing rod manufacturers of Utica, N.Y., has been advised by his physician to seek another climate for his health, and the firm has been dissolved; Mr. Divine writes expressing much regret at being thus compelled to separate from his partner. The many friends of Mr. Becraft will hope that in his new home he may find hoped for benefit.

So the firm was likely in business less than a year, and probably no more than six months. What a strange and interesting period in Divine history!

-- Dr. Todd

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