Mr. J.E. Hulshizer, a popular member of the Produce Exchange of this city, and an enthusiastic angler, has a split bamboo fly rod in his possession that is quite a curiosity. The butt is of ash, tapered below the reel seat and ending with a steel spike, like the old English rods. The joint and tips are made of four sections of bamboo and built round. This rod, which Mr. Hulshizer has now owned for over thirty-five years, is still in fairly good order, and is yet used by his son. It was made by Samul Phillippi [sic] of Easton, Pa., who was, as far as known, the first maker of split-bamboo rods. It was from seeing these rods while in that section of the country on a fishing trip that Messrs. Green and Murphy, of Newark, got their first idea of split-bamboo rods.
Samuel Phillippi was a character in his day, a first-class hand with all kinds of tools, and could make or repair anything that he turned his hand to. An adept with the violin, as well as with the fly rod, not a dance could be given in that part of the country without Sam Phillippi to lead the music. Mr. Hulshizer states that when he was a boy his father owned a mill on the Pohatcong Brook (Indian for trout brook), which stream Sam was in the habit of fishing, and that from this he acquired his great love of fishing. He saw one of these rods in Sam's workshop, which was a perfect museum in its way, and was not happy until he managed to save enough to become the owner of one. Messrs. Abbey & Imbrie also keep a couple of these curious specimens of the first split-bamboo rods, and will be happy to show them to any angler who will take the trouble to call.
Follow the epic Samuel Phillippe thread over on the Classic Fly Rod Forum.
-- Dr. Todd