Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Entertaining History of Rufus V. Allen's Miracle Hook by Fred Ribb

Recently I was lucky enough to pick up an extra box of R.V. Allen’s Miracle Hooks from Chino, California. They are a patented hook from 1952 and a nifty bait holder, and I put it up for sale on Joe's Board. 

Lo and behold soon after it sold I got a message from Fred Ribb, who wrote the following: 

Two years ago I found two gentleman in their upper eighties that knew Rufus V. Allen. One of them recalled Rufus selling his tackle in the back of the old San Saba Hardware Store near the Courthouse square in the 1950s. The building has changed ownership several times over the years and today it is Harry’s Department Store. There are no Family members living here now which makes it difficult to find out much more.   

I saw your board post on Joe’s and thought you might like to have this [a research article]. You should be able to open the two pictures attached. They reflect the difference between Chino, CA. and San Saba advertisement.   

Regards, Fred Ribb   

With Fred’s permission, I give you the history of the Allen’s Miracle Hook, courtesy of Fred Ribb.   

R.V. (Rufus) Allen Tackle manufacturer, San Saba, Texas 

After receiving my R.V. Allen hooks and paperwork by mail, I was eager to start investigation. San Saba is a small central Texas town with a population of just over 3,000. It's better known for being the Pecan capital of the world rather than for its fishing tackle.   

With new treasures in hand, my first stop was the San Saba Courthouse just down the street from where I live. With a little help from the clerk, we found Mr. Allen's death certificate and I was given a copy. Mr. Rufus Virgil Allen was born in Voca, Texas on 9-30-1897 and died at age 62 on 12-30-1959. As the Crow flies, Voca is 30 miles Southwest of San Saba. Mr. Allen’s occupation is listed as a poultry specialist and was considered an expert in Chickens and Turkeys. From talking with a few folks around town, San Saba was one of the Nations top poultry producing counties more than sixty plus years ago.   

Mr. Allen moved to or near Chino, California by at least 1948 as evidenced by patent #2,518,588 that he applied for on June 11,1948. The patent was for improvements to a hen house. Searching Chino, CA. online I found that they were known for their vegetable crops, dairy and chicken production. I suspect the poultry industry was what prompted Rufus Allen's move to the West coast. During his stay in California, there were several patents applied for and granted to R.V. Allen between 1950-53. Among those were live and dead bait hook types, a live bait container and one patent for a trotline which I found quite interesting.  

The trotline is comprised of metal links with eyelets on each end which are joined together with split rings. Stagings are connected by wire clips along the trotlines length at the split rings. A spring is attached to each end of the trotline which gives it flexibility. The springs can be fastened by small rope to a tree trunk or stake driven in the ground. When you're done fishing the trotline, stagings are disconnected and the trotline links are easily folded together and stored in a sack or small compact box free from tangles. Measurements for the metal links are not given but I suspect they would have been approximately eighteen inches long since trotlines generally have staging drops every 36 inches or so. 

Here is a link to his Trotline patent, here is a link to his Live bait container patent, and here is a link to Live bait hook patent. Other patents credited to Mr. R.V. Allen (There may be others I’m not aware of) include a Magnet cutoff valve (#2,576,168 issued on.Nov. 27, 1951) and a Magnetized window control (2,607,961 on Aug. 26, 1952).   

Below is what may be one of R.V. Allen's earliest advertisements, Allen & Richards Mfg. Chino, Calif. The graphics are very similar to the San Saba advertisement but are indeed different as well as the wording used. The box is 2-piece cardboard construction (as shown above). 

— Fred Ribb

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