Saturday, February 5, 2011

Deconstructing Old Ads: The Abbey & Imbrie Glowbody

The Abbey & Imbrie "Glowbody" Minnow
Today's ad is from the March 1920 issue of National Sportsman. It celebrates the centennial of Abbey & Imbrie as well as introduces their new "Glowbody Minnow". Years ago these glowing, glass-bodied baits were regularly seen at lure shows. I don't see them that much any more. Because the material they contain is radioactive, there was always a question about whether they were safe to have in one's collection.

Rather than make a mistake here, I contacted Jerry Martin (the smartest person I ever met) who is an expert in these matters and who has been working for many years on the definitive article on glowing baits and the possible hazards involved. The Glowbody is not a bait that needs to be exposed to sunlight to be "charged up." It glows all the time as it contains radium. Jerry assured me that with radium the type of radioactive rays emitted cannot pass though glass, but there is real danger should one break the glass or should the radium somehow leak out. The danger lies not so much in the exposure to the small amount of radiation, but rather in the possible ingestion of even minute amounts of it. Many are familiar with the story of the ladies who painted radium watch dials and pointed their brushes with their lips and tongues. Ingested radium eventually ends up in ones bones where very bad things happen, including a very painful death.

As far as the danger subsiding with time, Jerry tells me the half-life on this material is just over 1600 years. If you have one of these baits, be very very careful.

-- Bill Sonnett

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