Well, here at the Fishing for History Blog we are fascinated by extremes. Here we have what was touted at the time as the smallest fly rod in the world, a three feet model made in Japan -- and which came with a barbless fly. The article was run in The New York Sun in July, 1890. While not as small as the novelty fly rod we wrote about last year, it is still a small fly rod and reminds me of the bantam rod made by modern maker Chris Lantzy. I believe the shop referenced was Thomas J. Conroy's. Here's the blurb in full:
In the window of a fishing tackle store in Fulton street is displayed a fly rod three feet long, and tapering from the thickness of a lady's pencil at the butt to the size of a pin at the tip. It is made of Japanese bamboo with a tip of whalebone. There are three joints in the rod. The line of the length of the rod is of fine gut. At the end of it dangles a tiny yellow fly, concealing a barbless hook. The rod was made in Japan, and is a specimen of those in use there in the capture of minnows, which are regarded as a delicacy by the natives.
-- Dr. Todd