Saturday, November 12, 2011

Deconstructing Old Ads: Al Foss (1928)

Latest Al Foss Creations for 1929

The Sporting Goods Journal was a publication that went out to the industry to keep dealers and jobbers informed about new products and prices. The Fall 1928 edition has much news for the trade about upcoming products for 1929. I found this advertisement for “Latest Al Foss Creations for 1929” to be of interest on many counts.

Lets start with the “Dixie Wiggler.” I will admit that until I read this ad I did not know that the “Ponca” style spinner seen here on the Dixie Wiggler was designed to, “cut its way through the weeds making a clear passage for the hook." Al also touts the Dixie's “Pull when retreating” saying it keeps the line taught making hooking striking fish more effective. I am reminded here that Al was a renowned tournament caster and knew the value of good spooling.

Changes for the Oriental Wiggler that caught my eye were the introduction of colors other than red and white. In Al's words, “We have always refused to put them out in colors, except red and white, but now, answering an insistent demand from the trade, we are adding a black and white and a yellow and white combination.” According the Jim Frazier's book on Al Foss, what Al was not telling us was that solid red and solid white were being discontinued.

It is not often that ones sees an announcement in an ad that a lure is being “retired”. This introduction for the “New Egypt Wiggler” announces, “This lure is a wonderful improvement over the original Little Egypt Wiggler, which we want to retire to keep our line down. While we realize that the Little Egypt has a host of friends and they will give it up reluctantly, yet a trial of the new one will convince them we are giving them a more effective lure.” I may be too skeptical here but I'm guessing that it was a lot cheaper to make the New Little Egypt (a flat metal stamping) than the original Little Egypt with its hinged parts and glass eyes.

Finally the ad ends with one of Al's usual colloquial quips: “You tackle dealers who 'know your onions' know that Al Foss makes nothing but high class lures and that is the kind that sells. Al does the experimenting himself and does not make it until he KNOWS that it is good. So get busy and put in these items

-- Bill Sonnett

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