Saturday, August 31, 2013

Letterheadings with Jim Jordan: Peter Henkenius (1900)

This Jas. M. Kane , Fort Wayne , Indiana billhead lists some of his companies wares, Toys, Fancy Goods,Bird Cages, Fishing Tackle and Notions. James M. Kane was a prominent Fort Wayne businessman. He started in business during the 1850's with a sidewalk street stand located on Calhoun street. By the 1870's Kane claimed to have the largest assortment of notions in the State.
Kane was assigned 1/2 of the patent for a fishing bait created by Fort Wayne candy maker Peter Henkenius.  The bait was designed to be a surface plug with a revolving member with an attached propeller blade and a keel. In other words, it is what lure collectors refer to as a rotary head bait. Over the years collectors have called this particular bait the Henkenius/Kane plug for obvious reasons. Prior to their patent approval Henkenius & Kane simply referred to the bait as an Aluminum spinner . Language in the patent mentions that it is preferred that the propeller & keel were made of aluminum and present a bright attractive surface.  Sometime after the patent was issued on Nov. 13, 1900 , the makers referred to the bait as the "Only" Patent Spinner. I believe this plug to be the first patented rotary bait of its kind. It is unknown how early these baits were available to the public. They were available prior to the turn of the Century. Examples have been found with Pat Appl stamped on the prop, others with the patent date stamped on the keel and some with no markings at all.

This  August ,1899 bill addressed to Drug Store owner Paul Klinkenberg lists an order of 1/2 dozen Aluminum Spinners. Klinkenberg must have found the baits to be satisfactory sellers. Another Kane billhead has turned up listing an additional order which had been placed by Klinkenberg for a dozen more baits within that same month.

Best Regards,
Jim Jordan


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