Over the course of the next year, we'll be detailing the history of 52 companies that sold branded fishing tackle. 52 trade houses in 52 weeks -- some obscure, some famous, and all available exclusively here on the Fishing for History Blog! If you have any items from the week's entry you'd like to share with us, please send it my way and I'll make sure it makes it on the blog.
For a discussion of what exactly trade tackle is, Click Here. Enjoy the 52 for 52!
This episode of 52 for 52 will deal with one of my very favorite kinds of trade houses: gun dealers that sold fishing tackle. Throughout history many legendary gun names--Winchester, Remington, Browning, etc.--lent their names to fishing tackle. Of interest is that some lesser known shooting lights like Charles Daly Inc. also branded a bit of tackle. Today we deal with one such company primarily noted for guns: Davidson's of Greensboro, North Carolina.
Davidson's Supply Company grew into an important Southern importer of guns who also dabbled on the side in fishing tackle. Although its origins are as yet verified, it is believed the firm was founded as an army surplus store in the wake of World War II. By the 1960s, Davidson's Inc., as it became known, was listed in the Standard Directory used by advertising agencies as dealers in "Firearms and Sporting Equipment."
By the 1970s the firm became well known in gun circles for their imported guns, often sold under the Davidson's Firearms name. One popular branch of guns were side-by-side double barrel shotguns made in Spain, and these appear fairly often on the secondary market. They appear to be inexpensive but serviceable guns. They also imported (and marked) a large number of other guns, including this Heckler & Koch P7 marked "Davidson's, NC" on the barrel.
It is likely that in the 1950s, to supplement their gun sales, the firm expanded into fishing tackle. The only marked piece of tackle I've seen is the following line spool, marked "Gold Medal, Davidson's, Greensboro, N.C." on both sides. It is a contemporary spool to the Van Camp and Wyeth Hardware spools recently covered in earlier episodes of 52 for 52, and which date to 1959-1960. We can similarly date this Davidson's spool to around the same time.
The company was alive and well in 2000, when they were located at 2703 Highpoint Road, Greensboro, NC 27403 and applied for a registered trademark on the term "Gallery of Guns." They were still selling Limited Edition exclusive guns in 2007, but likely due to the economy, apparently closed their doors not long after (perhaps in late 2009). However, their web site appears to be still be live. Perhaps rumors of their demise are premature, and that would be a good thing.
The country was built on company's like Davidson's, and I love the fact the firm dabbled in fishing tackle, at least for a short while.
-- Dr. Todd