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!
An often overlooked sporting goods distributor from the heart of the American homeland is the Dickerson Supply Company of Camdenton, Missouri. A fairly obscure company, I checked the bible for Missouri collectors -- Dean Murphy's Fishing Tackle Made in Missouri, but was unable to find any information on Dickerson. Of course, I was only able to locate my first edition, and Dean may very well have added this to the second edition of his outstanding book.
I wasn't able to uncover a tremendous amount of information about this company. I do know it was active in the 1960s and 1970s, and three of the principals involved were Jack, Jim and Terry Dickerson. I believe Jack was the principal, and its possible Jim and Terry were his sons.
Jack Dickerson was profiled in an article dated June 19, 1969 by Joplin Globe outdoor editor Bill Potter in an article about Ozark environmentalism. At a news media dinner, "Jack Dickerson and E.B. Kinder of the Missouri Tourism Commission were there. Jack, owner of the Jack Dickerson Supply Co., operating out of Camdenton and Branson, is a member of the commission His firm provided the happy hour sociabilities preceding the dinner.
The following year they were listed in the October, 1970 Field & Stream as a distributor of Refrigiwear winter wear.
While it is not known their ultimate fate, an advertisement in the November 13, 1980 Galveston Daily News showed Dickerson was still in business, and looking for a "sales representative by a leading U.S. sporting goods distributor." So clearly the firm's history spanned the 1960s to the 1980s as a sporting goods distributor.
The company filed for the following trademark in 1973 but the trademark was cancelled in 1982. I assume this meant that the firm was either purchased or shuttered by the owners.
The original trademark application noted the firm was "retail mail order services, namely, mail order sales of sporting goods." It appears it was both a wholesale and retail firm. I believe Dickerson's Supply Co. was succeeded by Jack's Sporting Goods & Hardware Co., also of Camdenton.
The company sold fishing tackle branded with its name. The most commonly found are the "Laker" brand line spools, like the one pictured below.
Note that this one was sold by the ALCO Discount Stores. ALCO Stores are still around today, which makes this the neatest of trade tackle items--one that is an item from two trade houses!
There are other items marked Dickerson out there, and one sometimes causes great confusion. Occasionally, very cheap fly rods marked "Dickerson" come up for sale. Owners who rush to the internet discover that there was a rodmaker named Lyle Dickerson who was internationally famous. L.L. Dickerson rods sell regularly for over $5000 and some have brought as much as $10,000. In an excited rush, they put their Dickerson fly rod up on eBay and expect the money to come falling from the sky. One look by anyone even remotely knowledgable will reveal there is no chance in hell that Lyle L. Dickerson ever had a thing to do with these cheap rods. Instead, these are Dickerson Supply Co. trade rods and worth around $20 instead of 25 times that amount.
Anyway, it's a neat Missouri trade house and tackle marked with the Dickerson name can be tough to find. If you want to know more about Missouri fishing tackle, contact Dean Murphy and get the second edition of his book! He's in the NFLCC directory.
-- Dr. Todd