Thursday, June 30, 2011

Greetings From Duluth!

Post card from review today, but will be back in the morning with the Friday Funhouse!

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

52 Trade Houses Part 13: Manhattan Marine & Electric Co. of New York City

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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 13:

Manhattan Marine & Electric Co. of New York City

One of my goals in 52 for 52 is to show everyone the sheer diversity of fishing tackle sellers in American history. So far, we've covered discount stores, department stores, wholesale hardware concerns, a bookseller, a plumbing supply store, and today, we get a marine hardware company.

This particular company is called Manhattan Marine & Electric Company and it was a staple of the yachting set in New York for eight decades. Founded in December of 1923, Manhattan Marine became "something of a bible for all the ships at sea," as the New Yorker declared in 1979.

And what an institution it was! Filled with all of the latest nautical inventions, as well as all the staples that the well-to-do absolutely needed for their trip around the world. Looking through a Manhattan Marine catalog is like peeking at Santa's list for the nautically minded. Their catalogs were beautiful and revered and many of them that come to market today show consistent use, much like the old Herter's catalogs among hunters and fishermen.

This colorful 1953 Manhattan Marine catalog was typical of the company's fare.

Manhattan Marine catalogs through the years.

The firm was also a pretty active advertiser. Here are three magazine ads from 1950 and the 1970s.

An ad run in Popular Mechanics for January 1950.

A pair of 1970s advertisements.

The kinds of items that Manhattan Marine marked were, of course, nautical in nature, and today can be quite collectable. Below is a catalog cut from 1959 showing their line of very collectable boat lights, and a nifty 1940s yacht clock marked with the firm's name.

1959 catalog page.

Nice Manhattan Marine clock.

As for fishing tackle, the firm did not sell a lot of it as it tended to concentrate on the yachting set. However, I have seen two examples of Manhattan Marine branded tackle. The first were saltwater snelled hooks in a Manhattan Martine & Electric envelope. The second, pictured below, is a pair of connected wooden fishing line spools bearing the firm's name.

A wooden line spool with the Manhattan Marine & Electric label on it.

These spools date from the late 1920s or 1930s and indicate in the early years, the firm likely stocked a broader line of items in order to attract a greater customer base. Once they solidified their position as one of the leading yachting outfitters in the world, it is likely they dropped this line all together. However, they did take out a trade name "Seatest" in the 1950s, which was noted in their application that it could be applied to marine hardware of all kinds "and fishing rod gimbals."

I think Manhattan Marine & Electric fishing tackle is very rare, and it is a nice reminder that many of the companies involved in the boating trade could (and did) transition into fishing tackle sellers, at least for a time.

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Voices from the Past: Biography of James Heddon (1900)

The following biography of James Heddon reminds us that his first love in life was not fishing or tackle, but beekeeping. From the important book The ABC of Bee Culture by A.I. & E.R Root, it covers his career in some depth. Of great interest is the description of his demeanor, which is said to be "intensely nervous."


James Heddon was born Aug. 28, 1845, in the Genesee Valley, New York. Early In life he removed to the West: and for years Dowagiac, Mich., has been a name well known to bee-keepers, because it is the home of James Heddon. Endowed by nature with a mind of remarkable vigor lie lacked the advantages of much training in schools, and possibly also its disadvantages. His entrance into the ranks of bee-keepers, about the year 1869. may probably be traced to the fact that he married Miss Hastings, the daughter of a bee-keeper, serving an apprenticeship with the father. Few have shown such faith in bee-keeping, for Mr. H. was the first in the State and one of the first in the country, to make a specialty of that pursuit, and few have shown that their faith was so well founded: for, commencing with nothing he credits his capital, amounting to thousands, entirely to the aid of the little busy bee. His apiaries have some years contained between 500 and 600 colonies. In 1879 he added the supply-business.

Mr. Heddon is slight and wiry In figure, below the medium size, of sandy complexion, and intensely nervous in temperament. This nervous tendency leaves its strong impress on his writings, and more especially on his speaking. To that, and to the state of health resulting from it, may perhaps be attributed a fierceness in controversy, especially in his earlier writings, that would hardly allow one, who had never seen him, to give him credit for the affability that he really possesses. As might be expected, both In writing and speaking, he is possessed of great vigor. He Is a prolific writer, and, when not too much carried away by controversy, eminently practical. In 1885 he published "Success in Bee Culture," a practical work, giving his plans of bee management, as also a description of the Heddon hive invented by him —a hive having the brood-chamber divided Into two sections, with the Intention of making manipulation by hives rather than by frames. He is also editor and publisher of the Dowagiac Times.

Among his inventions, aside from the Heddon hive, are the Heddon surplus case and the slat honey-board, so extensively used. He is the father of the "Pollen Theory." Mr. Heddon is by no means guided by what is merely popular, seeming rather to take a delight In the opposite, and for a time championed box hives after their general abandonment. He now prefers a carefully bred cross of Italians and blacks.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, June 27, 2011

News of the Week: 27 June 2011

Don't have time to read 50+ fishing and tackle collecting blogs and web sites? Well, let us do it for you! Follow all of the latest news, articles, and stories on our Whitefishpress Twitter account! Hint: You don't need to be a member...just bookmark the Twitter Feed Page or click on latest links to the right!

7-Year Old NFLCC Member Has 1100 Lure Collection...Sambo lands a bass and a blonde...Ned Lyons has a tackle museum...a fishing clubhouse (with banjo music)...Price is Right contestant blows $28,000 fishing trip...1000 pound Mako shark is boated...Bamboo Fly Rod builder Scott Noble gives a talk...drum fishing...Glen Lau gets reviewed...Rapala & Bagley join record Blue Catfish gets broken must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: 7 year old NFLCC member Will Yocum is a better collector than you, has amassed 1100 Rat-L-Traps for his collection.

Sambo hooks and lands a bass and a blond. Best article title. Ever.

Ned Lyons is displaying his fishing tackle collector in home museum .

A clubhouse for anglers with a banjo to boot.

Norfolk Broads is alive and kicking.

Price is Right contestant blows a $28,000 fishing showcase showdown.

Attack of the Cane River snake.

Anglers nab 1000 pound Mako shark.

Wise anglers stick with duct tape.

East Oregon club spreads the word on fly fishing.

Bamboo rod builder Scott Noble is giving a talk in Hayden.

11 year old's record Crappie may be the beginning of a great career.

The freshwater drum is attracting more attention.

Advanced Angler reviews Glen Lau's new book Bass Forever.

Biggest trade news of the week is Rapala and Bagley joining forces.

Finishing with a Flourish: Blue Catfish world record is broken down.

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, June 26, 2011

1000 Words

This is a classic group fish shot ca. 1910.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Deconstructing Old Ads: The Rightest Thing Ever Developed (1913)

"The idea looks Wrong, but its the rightest Thing ever developed..."

The “Football Hardware” Dummy Double

Today's full page ad comes from the May 1913 issue of Outer's Book magazine. The Dummy Double hook was touted as “Jimmy Heddon's last invention” in a similar write up seen here from the May 1913 issue of Field & Stream. James Heddon had passed away in December of 1911, so if he really did invent the Dummy Double hook it took a couple of years to bring it to the public. Considering that only nine years had passed since the Heddon #100 was introduced to the public, this strange looking wooden minnow must have caused many to shake their head in disbelief. The first version, as can be seen in this ad, was a seven-sided minnow that sported odd looking hooks, odd looking hook hardware and no rear hook! The bait came with an extra hook as a replacement but Heddon really hoped that it would not be used on the rear of the bait and brought home the point by attaching the rear spinner with a small circular screweye that was not very suitable for attaching a hook. Many fishermen (as well as present day collectors) thought the bait looked odd without the rear hook and went ahead and attached the extra Dummy Double hook to the rear of the bait.

Changes came rapidly. The seven-sided body immediately gave way to a five-sided body, as configured on the Heddon “0” minnow. By looking at the following photos of the dis-assembly of this hook hardware, one gets some idea how difficult this “Football Hardware” ( a name given by collectors to this style of hook hardware) must have been to assemble on each bait. The first style of flat clips that were used in “football hardware” overlapped inside the bait and a pin was inserted in the belly of the bait passing up through a hole in each clip when the holes were lined up. Some, as those seen here, had notches to accommodate the pin rather than holes. The last Dummy Doubles to have “football hardware” have no holes in the clips and no pins, they simply depend on a tight fit to hold them in place.
All this quickly led to another change in the bait. When the 1914 Heddon Catalog appeared, “football hardware” was gone forever and in its place a new type of hook hardware appeared on the Dummy Double. This new hook hardware was so successful that within two years it replaced the older “cup-rig” hardware on most of Heddon's minnows. Today collectors call this new hardware “L-rig” after the L-shaped screw that attaches the hook. "L-rig" was to be used on most of Heddon's wooden baits through 1933.

Special thanks goes out to Joe Stagnetti this week for his consultation on the Dummy Double. Joe is an astute observer and has the most advanced collection of Dummy Doubles that I am aware of.

-- Bill Sonnett

Friday, June 24, 2011

Breaking News: Bagley & Rapala Join Forces!

Dan Basore sends news that Bagley and Rapala have just joined forces! This is GREAT news for the Bagley name!

The Friday Funhouse

The Video of the Week

Don't forget to check out the Fishing For History Fishing Video Tumblr Archive where all the videos ever we've posted are stored!

This BBC Video shows the ancient art of using Cormorants to fish in China.

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

The Heddon No. 3 Indian Chief Takapart is an uncommon Heddon reel.

You don't get many collectable trolling motors, but this Byrd Otasco is a nifty looking item.

This is an odd Florida Fishing Tackle Co. survival kit.

A set of Heddon Pal-On line spools is a great find.

This Pfeffer Sunfish is just so rare.

They don't come much nicer than this Vom Hofe Islamorada reel.

The Heddon #1500 Dummy Double is in tremendous condition in my favorite Heddon color--Green Crackleback.

A Heddon Big Hedd in Baby Bass? VERY popular.

A Moonlight Floating Lure in the box would make a great addition to any collection.

Howe's Vacuum Bait in original tin-- a great classic.

This Millsite 99R-3 Jointed Floater is sure popular…

A Winchester split shot sinker packet illustrates the Winchester effect beautifully.

As always, have a blessed weekend, and be good to each other--and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, June 23, 2011

52 for 52 Update: Davidson's of North Carolina

Astute collector Jim Jordan sent me an email updating me on the Davidson's story. With his kind permission, here's his correspondence and three pictures from a 1955 Davidson's catalog.

A little more about Davidsons. In 1955 they were located  at 313-317 South Greene St. Greesboro N.C. It seems they more than dabbled in fishing tackle. They claimed to have "The largest and most complete stock of fishing tackle in the South." Their 1955 Catalog had 443 pages of mostly fishing related. The catalog was made up of individual 3 hole punched pages. It has a combination of color & black & white pages. It is interesting that many smaller companies listings were in color, while CCBC & Heddon were in black & white. Some of the company pages are  an inserted trifold advertisement. They sold all types of fishing gear Lures, Rods, Reels and misc. tackle. The only Davidson trade name item I could find in the catalog was your line spool.
-- Jim Jordan

Well that is amazing! Thanks a ton, Jim, for taking the time write and scan the pics. It's pretty cool to learn that they were MUCH bigger in the tackle business than I would have guessed!

The back cover of the 1955 Davidson's catalog.

A page of CCBC baits from the Davidson's catalog.

Gold Medal trade line from Davidson's.

-- Dr. Todd

Folk Art Month: Reader Favorites!

Today we turn folk art over to the readers! And let me tell you, I was blown away by the submissions.

We start with two of my favorite collectors, Sally & Dale Dalluhn:


From the Sally and Dale Dalluhn collection, found in Antique store in Madison, Wisc. Maker from Madison and fished Hayward in the forties

Next we have some selections from Dave Hoover, who needs no introduction and shares some great folk art ducks:

Folk art month, I like that...My folk art collection is nearly intact…

Otto Bishop submits some incredible baits. Here are three from his great collection:

The fist is a photo of underwater minnow made by Frank Miller circa 1912. He was a sign painter from Ohio. It has everything going for it from wonderful patina, 4 lead belly weights, hand made front prop, large sweeping gill marks, wonderful wood tail, hook hangers are of Pflueger design.

The 2nd pic is a musky size wood mouse made by HERMAN FISCHER USA. The wood is butternut, and i have to say this mouse has testicular fortitude. Circa on this piece is 1930s.

The last pic is a grouping of ( KING ) lures made by Ed Slominski. Ed made many different styles and he fished only his creations exclusively. Ed's lures are simply fascinating, i never tire of looking at them, Circa on the King lures are 1935 - 1965.

Next we get a selection of great baits from Gary Henderson:

Here is a group of 6 crawdad lures made by kenneth trader in kansas city. a couple of these lures are in the dudley murphy/rick edmisten book "fishing lure collectables". he is credited with making lures from the 1930's untill he died in 1984. one of the lures i have in this group was probably the last one he made as he used the dog collar licence from his dog that died in 1984 for the diving bill and it has the date on it. these came from his tackle box when he died along with several other of his lures. very detailed carving work and the one has legs and feelers cut from rubber. one of the lures in dudleys book is the "ray scott" lure as mr. trader was friends with mr. scott when he started b.a.s.s. and carved the lure in 1965.

We follow this with a submission from Bruce Berry of Montana. Bruce had so many great baits I wanted to run a separate post about his collection a bit later, but for now we'll take a look at three of his selections:

I have been collecting tackle for about 30 yrs, and have always been most interested in the home made stuff. I am gathering up some of my collection for a display in our local museum, and I thought if you are interested I could photograph it while I have it all in one spot. I don’t know any other collectors, so I have never had a chance to show it off. The photos here are some I had sent to a guy a while back. The first two are of stuff my grandfather made in the 20s and 30s. The other is of some of the larger lures I’ve gathered up over the years. I have lots more lures and some other oddball stuff: a halibut rod and reel made from an old pool cue, or an ice fishing sled/seat made from an old Pepsi crate.

We follow this with an incredible selection of baits from the scholar and collector Doug Bucha. Here are his selections:

One of the best clothes pin lures I've ever had.

This frog came my way some thirty years ago. It was carved by a well known carver from South Bend in the 1920's.

Two nice folk art fly rod lures setting on top of a folk art line dryer carved by some fisherman from the top of a Heddon wood box. Different !!

Nice little fly rod lure that is based on a Heddon Crazy Crawler, only 1-1/2" long. This lure comes from Harold Dickert. Harold bought this at the Niles Riverfest a few years ago.

This one has a Heddon body and hardware but the head is made of "cork". Something different.

This is a picture of some of my other folk art lures. The best thing is the hand made canoe paddle carved by a divinity student at the University of Notre Dame in the 1930's. Note the carved design on
the side of the paddle.

Noted collector Mike Rolf gives us his selections and they do not disappoint!

this one is included in one of my favorites found here in ohio just a dandy of an early painted fly tackle box probebly dates 1930s

here is another favorite in the reel section just a wonderfully butter smooth all wood ( all ) reel fantastic patina dating 1900

straight from the ice, these wonderful early 1900s ice fishing tip ups from upstate NY in the arrow form retain most of the mustard yellow paint with the other one a more blue green . the fish tip up is from wisconsin and dates mid 50s.

here is my early musky bull frog , solid wood body with leather legs and bead eyes . this frog large from dates ealy 30s.

WOW! Thanks for all the submissions. It's been an amazing month so far!

-- Dr. Todd