Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Voices from the Past: The Abbey & Imbrie Centennial Rod (1916)

Some of you may know I am obsessed with finding the legendary Abbey & Imbrie Centennial rod built in 1876, as I've written about it before twice (here and here). Here's a new blurb I've uncovered from a 1916 The American Angler.

A GOLD-FINISHED FISHING ROD.— This rod owned by Messrs. Abbey & Imbrie, New York, is a nine-foot split bamboo rod with solid gold mountings, ornamented with genuine topaz in the butt and in the plugs that fit in the ferrules. The engraving on the butt depicts various fishing scenes and was executed by one of the Tiffany artists. All the mountings are of fourteen-karat gold and over five hundred dollars worth of gold was cut out of the plates on the side of the reel in order to make the bar relief deep.

The rod was made for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. It was also a part of the fishing tackle exhibit prepared at the request of the United States Fishing Commission as a part of their exhibit at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. It was shown at the United States Fishing Commission's Exhibit at the Paris Exposition in 1900. where it was awarded a gold medal, and it was also exhibited at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901, and at the Charleston Exposition in 1902. Abbey & Imbrie used it as part of their own exhibit at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904, where it won the Grand Prize, the highest award for fishing tackle over all other exhibitors. The varnish with which the bamboo is covered has mellowed with age and the contrast between the deep yellow of the rod and its gold and jewel mountings are a delight to the eye.

There are certainly details here I've not seen before, and it is exciting to track its history down at the various expositions.

-- Dr. Todd

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