Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Art of the Lure with Elissa Ruddick: Samuel Friend's Frog

If you love vintage fishing lures as I do, you can’t help but love this one. Everything about this lure grabs the attention of we who appreciate the era of time when lure manufacturing was exploding with new and improved ideas of ways to catch fish, and of course, firstly to catch the fisherman.

The lure pictured here is a handmade wooden frog lure made by the F.A. Pardee Company of Kent, Ohio in about 1905/1906. The company had recently been taken over by F. A. Pardee’s longtime manager and brother-in-law, Samuel H. Friend. The two had been making lures together from around 1898, until Pardee’s retirement in 1905. After Friend took over, he made a few improvements to their first version “Champion Floater Frog” lure, so collectors refer to this second version as the “Samuel Friend Frog”. The nose of the lure body is more pointed and tapered, the “bow tie” props are now made of aluminum instead of the German silver they had previously been made of, and the length of the tube bearings on the aluminum “bow tie” props are longer and cone-shaped. Both the “Champion Floater Frog” and the “Samuel Friend Frog” lures came equipped with wire through body hook hanger hardware, yellow glass eyes with black pupils, and had a red glass bead placed behind each tube bearing to keep the props moving freely when retrieved through the water, as well as to prevent wear to the front of the lure body and to the rear hook hanger. This is the second version of what is commonly referred to as the “Kent Frog” lures. More changes to the lure would be forthcoming in the years that followed, and the rights to make them would eventually be handed over to the Pflueger Fishing Tackle Company.

The light rust on the hooks, the slightly bent hook point on one of the side treble hooks and the broken line tie only add to the “character” of this relic of the past, at least to me anyway. Besides…what fish, fisherman or collector could resist a cute little froggie like this?!

If you have any questions/comments, Elissa Ruddick can be reached at elissaruddick AT aol DOT com.

-- Elissa Ruddick

No comments: