I had occasion last week to attend the “Ultimate Fishing Show” near Detroit Michigan. While wandering among the many booths I came across the Eppinger display which was somewhat larger than most of the exhibitors. I was astounded at the number of color combinations and styles that the Eppinger Dardevle name now appears on. The gentleman manning the booth was past middle age and stated that he had been with Eppinger for many years. I asked him if he knew the origin of the famous white stripe that appears on the back of the majority of Dardevle spoons. He stated that he did not and had never run into anyone who indicated that they knew how the color pattern came about. He was so fascinated when I told him what the stripe was suppose to represent, I thought it would be fun to let my readers know the story.
Great ads don't always come from magazines and in fact this one comes from the box papers of the oldest boxed Dardevle that I have seen. As near as I can date the papers they are from 1920 or 1921. I had always heard that some church groups had objected to seeing the word “Devil” use in advertising and this accounted for the Eppinger spelling “Devle”. The advertising slogan in the papers seen here is “Cast Out The Devle and Catch More Fish”. This play on words may have had something to do with the objections raised by these groups. What I found most interesting is Eppinger's explanation of the two color patterns offered. The ubiquitous and often imitated “stripe” was meant to imitate a pork rind strip and the white wedge at the bottom of many early Dardevle spoons was suppose to represent a pork chunk, both were popular bass baits of the day. The slogan attached to these two ideas was stated as “The Pork Rind Without the Greece”. Apparently the proof reader did not notice that what should have been spelled “Grease” was spelled “Greece”.
Below, I have blown up an interesting portion of the above text which explains not only the purpose of the two paint pattens common on early Dardevles, but also explains that the bait's hooks are at the rear, which gives the fish the chance to “raise the Devle without pain to himself and to the delight of the sportsman.”
Shown below is an early hand-painted Osprey Dardevle with its box. The name “Osprey Dardevle” is stamped on the back of the spoon. In reading the complete and somewhat lengthy box papers, it is surprising to find that the two color patterns (stripe & chunk) are highly recommended in black & white combinations. There is little or no mention of what was to become the color combination most associate today with the Dardevle ---- red & white.
Wild Bill Sonnett