Wednesday, October 12, 2011

52 Trade Houses Part 28: Engel & Simmons of New Jersey

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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!

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Trade House Tackle, Part 28:

Engel & Simmons of New Jersey

This week in 52 for 52 we are covering an interesting modern trade house known as Engel & Simmons of Haddon Heights, New Jersey. I've seen this name come up on a number of different kinds of fishing tackle, including rods, line and other terminal tackle.

The company appears to have been active from the 1960s through the 1980s and perhaps beyond. It was owned by Felix A. Costa and his wife Mary H. (Kasper) Costa of Haddon Heights, New Jersey -- which is not far from the city of Camden.

Engel & Simmons was a full service distributor of fishing tackle. I have seen only one catalog from the company but it appeared to carry a full line of tackle of the day. WHile most wholesale distributors did not brand tackle with their own name, Engels & Simmons appears to have offered its customers marked trade tackle. The following is a good example. It is a mid-1960s True Temper manufactured glass casting rod marked "Engel & Simmons 220" on the shaft.

There is a bit of mystery surrounding the company. The founder Felix Costa passed away in 1989. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer dated August 24, 1989, Felix Costa died at the age of 76 and was the "former president of Engel & Simmons Inc., a Haddon Heights fishing tackle wholesale distributor."

The company appears to have continued running under Felix's wife Mary H. (Kasper) Costa, who passed away on May 15, 2004 at the age of 88. Her obituary stated "Costa was the co-owner of Engel & Simmons Inc. in Haddon Heights N.J., along with her husband Felix."

Interestingly enough, the company also appears to be still be listed as a fishing tackle distributor. As one web site declared, "Engel & Simmons Inc Fishing Tackle expert, located in Haddon Heights, NJ 08035, enjoys an excellent reputation through years of business experience and has built stable business relationships with a great number of customers, our company address is Haddon Heights, NJ 08035."

If it does still exist, it's nice to see one of the old-time trade houses still selling tackle. As its stands, Engel & Simmons marked tackle is very rare and makes a nice find for the trade house collector.

-- Dr. Todd

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