I'm going to start spotlighting a piece of patented fishing tackle that is a bit out of the ordinary over the coming months. The item for this month is a combined metal creel and tackle box -- and a really neat one at that!
It was invented by a pair of Tioga county, Pennsylvania anglers named William E. Smith and Irving J. Focht of Wellsboro. They applied for a patent on July 24, 1936 and it was granted as Patent #2,098,636 on November 9, 1937.
The inventors described their creation to The Pennsylvania Angler in the May 1938 edition. W.E. Smith noted:
Some of the features of this model creel are as follows: in the first place it makes it unnecessary for the stream fisherman to wear a hunting or fishing coat to carry along the anglers equipment which often as we know, especially in hot weather, is not only too hot, cumbersome and burdensome but also prevents ease in casting and walking.
Further this creel, as one whom we contacted stated, is 'everlasting'--he suggested we call it the Everlasting Creel--it will outwear a number of the present reed or willow baskets.
The 'accessibility' of your tackle in this basket over any form of outer garment is greatly superior. The tackle compartment is water-tight or water-proof, and a safe place for valuable fly-books, etc.
We also claim sanitation--we both know how smelly the old fish basket becomes after being in use a short time--this creel can be washed out in a jiffy and kept clean and sanitary. The fish compartment is designed to permit a maximum of ventilation, and drainage from the ferns and moss that the average fisherman uses to keep the trout cool.
Last but not least, the creel will weigh but only a few ounces more than the present reed or willow basket and the fisherman can keep all his tackle in this creel so when going fishing he has but two things to think about--of his rod and basket. You may, no doubt, be able to think of many things I have stated here that this creel may afford the fisherman but the above is some of what I consider the most important; a built-in bait box with an individual lid is incorporated on the left side, which can be utilized for small gadgets by the fly fisherman, or can be removed in a split-second entirely, leaving this space for other paraphernalia—the compartments are removable and adjustable, so he can take them all out or move them around to suit his personal needs."
It's a nifty design and an attractive creel, but I wonder how many of these were sold over the years. I'm betting not too many, and with World War II around the corner and the spin revolution after World War II, I am betting the Everlasting Creel had a short life.
-- Dr. Todd