Saturday, March 31, 2012

Deconstructing Old Ads: Jason Lucas' Tackle Box (1948)

Jason Lucas' Tackle Box

Back in 1956 when I first started to receive Sports Afield Magazine I was immediately so impressed by the writings of angling editor Jason Lucas that I soon became part of what Clyde Drury has described as “…a following that bordered on being a cult and I was one of that group….”. Clyde, myself and countless others were not only impressed with his opinionated writings but also the much-published photo of Jason surveying his huge, open tackle box attempting to decide what plug to use. For some reason this photo stuck in the minds of many who saw it. As a fishing-crazy teenager I lusted to have a similar gargantuan tackle box filled to capacity. At that time I did not know who made Jason's tackle box or that the photo had been taken on Lake Mead in 1948.

In the April 1947 issue of Sports Afield Magazine I recently ran across the following ad for the very box that Jason used. The Dickson-Clawson “Fisherman's Chest Deluxe”. It was priced at $29.50, a substantial sum in 1947. The ones I see today on eBay and occasionally at antique tackle shows are usually priced in the hundreds of dollars.

The first tackle box I purchased in 1955 was a shoe-box sized “My Buddy” which was followed in 1957 by a 4-tray “Grip-Loc” that I used for 40 years. I still think it is one of the greatest metal tackle boxes ever made as it is nearly impossible for it to open accidentally while being carried, a common fault of many early metal offerings. A few years ago I purchased a large, 8-tray Umco that held a lot more and seemed really light until filled to capacity. The key word here is “capacity” as most fishermen know there has never been a tackle box that held quite enough to meet every imagined situation. I always feel the need for just a couple more empty lure compartments. At age 68, I have noticed that though it is only a 100 ft walk to the boat, my Umco seems to be getting heavier each season.
 In a weak moment a couple of years ago at the NFLCC National, I purchased the largest Umco I am aware of with ten enormous cantilevered trays with a hundred individual compartments and a cavernous bottom section large enough to hide a case of oranges. Here at last was a box that would satisfy all my imagined needs since that day long ago when I first laid my eyes on Jason Lucas' tackle box. As I began to fill it for the first time, it started to sink in that it may have taken too long in my life to arrive at this point. A few test lifts of the partially filled box brought home the sad truth. The thing was so heavy that it would take much of joy out of heading for the lake. Back to the 8-tray Umco.  Darn!

-- Bill Sonnett

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week

The Iron Man of Tuna Fishing.

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

You just don't see a Finnish bait caster for sale very often at all.

This Phillipson Orvis glass fly rod is superb.

A Luhr Jensen salesman's sample card is popular.

This Fin-Nor #4 is superb.

An ultra rare Julius vom Hofe B-Ocean in the leather case is amazing.

This Canada Creek bamboo rod by H-I is nifty.

This J.T. Buel #3 spinner with the "T" marking is great.

Even beat up this Kingfisher Moonlight #1 Woodpecker is nice, even if the box is not so great.

A Heddon Gamefisher in dace is sweet.

A Bradford & Anthony ball handled reel is superb!

The Pflueger Atlapac 9/0 was field tested by Ted S. Pflueger.

I don't know why this Pflueger Kent Frog Floater looks so sad.

Have yourself a great weekend and be good to each other -- and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ben Wright's Spinning Reel Report (March 2012)

MARCH 2012
Featured Reels:
A very rare French made KID EREL C-1937 exc+ started @ 1,865.00 NO BIDS
Listed by seller as the oldest US made spinning outfit known to exist pre WW11 ( I don't think so) was a Bache Brown Luxor model A2 with a Accuate 400 Bamboo rod. both exc, reel comes with the box. started @ 800.00 with no bids !! also per seller this is an Historic one-of-a-kind that should be in a museum?
Listed as a rare Abu Garcia Giveaway Prize by Nibisco was a model 505 SCF reel with a 61/2 ft rod with accessories. all nib started @ 395.00 no bids
7 first version e+wb @ 244.81
33 repro ewb @ 202.50
44 second version exc @ 218.25
44X green/cream exc @ 237.33
Garcia 152 exc @ 110.03
other abu---
garcia Abu-matic 150 CF nib @ 96.00
Garcia 507 SCF nib @ 364.69 wow
Suveran S1000M nib w/gold box @ 355.00 holy cow !
Vic green exc- @ 61.00
same as above @ 89.00
same as above @ 132.50
model 365 ewb @ 87.50
Dam Quick:
330 nib @ 205.15 wow
5001 nib @ 142.49
Rare neat J. W. Young Delmatic MK 2 Marked Service Loaner Reel on red medallion ewb @ 144.10
Bretton 600 SCF nib @ 81.01
Mepps Super Meca rust color ewb @ 232.49
Silent Spin-Flyte exc @ 72.67
Triplex FB verson ? exc- @ 165.72
Alcedo Taurus Deluxe second version ewb @ 507.39
Alcedo Atlantic exc- @ only 213.00
Zangi made---
Orvis 50A FB red paint on fish logo @ 140.00
Orvis 100 first version e+wb @ 132.62
Dorado 360 exc- @ only 133.39
Mitchell/Garcia Mitchell:
more from the collection of Dan Hawks----
300DL nib started @ 1,900.00 no bids
400G nib      "       "        "       "    "
408DL ewb started @ 2600.00no bids
410DL nib sold @ 2,200.00
other Mitchell---
400 nib @ 160.00
408 nib @ 306.00 wow
706 nib @ 445.00
706Z exc- @ 184.49
714Z nib @ 108.50
716 nib @ 400.00 wow
model 2062 second version with WRONG MEDALLION !!
nib started @ 70.00 no bids.
was re-listed by seller after I was told I didn't know what I was talking about !!! seller added that his grandfather had worked at the company at that time and had worked on these reel and that they had substitued the round medallions (same as used on some of the closed face reels) because they had run out of the regular medallions.

OK I can buy that ?  maybe? this time the reel sold @ 70.00 seller also said that he had about 20 of these !!
Zebco Cardinals:
3 second version e-wb @ 189.50
4 early version ? nib w/green box @ 275.00
Omega 940XL nib @ 28.00
Omega 950L like new @ 32.00
Other Reels:
Fin-Nor no 3 exc- @ 274.99
Lew's Speed Spin 1 ewb @ 81.01 wow
Australian Seamartin Mk 11 nib @ 255.00
Swiss Record Marine 500 nib @ 56.89
Pflueger Pelican 1020 nib @ 34.44
South Bend 1600 CF exc @ 31.00
Johnson Century 100B CF nib @ 76.00 wow
same as above @ 45.00
some reel deals:
Abu Cardinal 160 exc+ @ 41.10
kind rare Spanish Alevin 2 exc-@ 12.50
Feurer Bro's FB417 Spinster exc @ 9.50
Garcia Mitchell 308A first version w/garcia name e+wb @ 41.08
Garcia Mitchell 324 e+wb @ 15.51
H-I Hi-Spin 1901 model B exc @ 2.05
Langley Spinator 870 exc+ @ 24.39
Shakespeare 2090 gray ewb @ 14.39
guess there are still some reel deals out there if you take the time to look !!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

52 Trade Houses Part 52: Brintnall's of Boston

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Over the course of the next year, we'll be detailing the history of 52 companies that sold branded fishing tackle. 52 trade houses in 52 weeks -- some obscure, some famous, and all available exclusively here on the Fishing for History Blog! If you have any items from the week's entry you'd like to share with us, please send it my way and I'll make sure it makes it on the blog.

For a discussion of what exactly trade tackle is, Click Here. Enjoy the 52 for 52!

o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o

Trade House Tackle, Part 52:

Who Sold Your Tackle? The Fascinating Story of Brintnall's of Boston

Who sold your tackle? That's the driving question behind my year long series "52 for 52," which today celebrates its 52nd and final installment. If there has been one thing I want people to take away from this project, it is that it's as important to understand exactly who sold your fishing tackle as it is who made it.

Finding the retailer/wholesaler is largely a fruitless endeavor. Mostly what we're left with is a name, an address, and if we are lucky, a line spool, lure box, or fishing reel marked with a seller's trade name. We rarely get to know the individuals and their own unique stories behind the tackle which was sold to eager anglers, all in the hopes of catching a fish.

Sometimes, however, we catch a break--we learn a bit of history, a snapshot of time, and even a name and a face we can put to a piece of tackle. A man like J.H. Wiggers, tackle shop owner and the "Dean of Poughkeepsie Anglers," as his friends and clients called him, but largely forgotten today. Even someone as famous as Eddie Bauer, a name still widely recognized today, has been mainly forgotten as a trade dealer of tackle.

That's a shame. Many of these trade houses had fascinating histories that mirrored American history, and studying (and collecting) them can be a blast. They can lead us to both interesting and important facts, but most of all, they can help remind us that behind every name is a series of men and women who sought above all else to make that name mean something.

I was reminded of this point earlier last week when collector Kip Gomez put up an obscure snell marked "Brintnall's" on Joe's Board. I emailed Kip and asked him about it, and as a testament to his character as an all-around good guy, he emailed me back and said "send me your address, you can have it."

We are fortunate in this little community of ours. Random acts of kindness like this happen every day.

I was planning on finishing up my year long project with a bang, with a history of a trade house I'd been tracking for several years. But I knew fate had something in store for me. I had to find out who Brintnall was.

The first clue was the address, which to anyone familiar with Boston tackle, should ring an immediate bell. 374 Washington Street (opposite Bromfield Street) was the address of Bradford & Anthony, the famed Boston trade house that succeeded the legendary Martin L. Bradford's "Sign of the Angler" pre-Civil War trade house. Bradford & Anthony was itself succeeded by the firm of Dame, Stoddard & Kendall in 1883. DS&K became Dame, Stoddard & Co. in 1900, a name they utilized until around 1921. The store then became known as Stoddard's and continued at the 374 Washington address until the 1960s when the company moved to 48-50 Temple Place. This address was closed in 2004 but a branch operation of Stoddard's is still in business. Stoddard's continued to sell fishing tackle until the move to Temple Place, after which they concentrated on fine cutlery (for which they were noted).

The venerable 374 Washington Avenue address ca. 1890.

But what of Brintnall's? And why does it have the same address as Stoddard's? And why is the name Brintnall's overstamped? This snell was chock full of tackle mysteries.

After much research and thinking, I believe I have the answer. It's still not entirely clear, but I believe Brintnall's was a very short lived transition period name that came between Dame, Stoddard & Co. and Stoddard's, the name by which the firm was known since 1921 or early 1922.

This 1906 letterhead, courtesy of J.K. Garrett and L.P. Brooks, shows the progression of the company: Samuel Bradford (1800), Martin L. Bradford (1845), Martin L. Bradford & Co. (1856), Bradford & Anthony (1867), Dame, Stoddard & Kendall (1883), Dame, Stoddard & Co. (1900). To which we might add Brintnall's (1921) and Stoddard Co. (1921).

Thus I believe this Brintnall's snelled packet dates from around 1921, in a very brief transitionary period when the firm was being renamed Stoddard's. Somehow this name did not last, and like many tackle companies, rather than throw out the snelled packets marked Brintnall's, they used a rubber stamp and stamped over it with the more familiar name Stoddard's

The famous Dame, Stoddard & Co. name.

All of this brings me back to my original question. Who sold your tackle?

In other words, who was Brintnall?

Not an easy question to answer, but after much digging, I discovered that the namesake was Robert R. Brintnall, listed in the 1925 Boston Directory as "Clerk, 374 Washington" with a home in Cambridge. It turns out that Brintnall was a long-time clerk for Dame Stoddard & Co. who, for a brief period of time, took over the store at 374 Washington and changed it to his name.

Why did it disappear so quickly? It is not known exactly, but one suspects it had something to do with the economy. Stoddard's was a name with a long history and tradition in Boston, and I believe the name change seriously hurt business (note that Brintnall even took the pains to put his connection to DS&Co. on his snell packets). We know that the tackle business for Stoddard's slowed considerable in the 1930s, and with the company concentrating more and more on cutlery and tackle competition becoming more intense, it makes sense he would revert to a name more people would recognize. Whether he had a change of heart, or was forced by economic circumstances, the firm did indeed revert back to the better known Stoddard moniker, and stayed at 374 Washington Street until the mid-1960s.

All of this gives us a bit of new history on an old company, but it doesn't fully answer the question: who sold your tackle?

Fortune sheds its light upon us today. A 1953 article in the Kingston Daily Freeman shows a smiling elderly couple -- likely in their late 60s or early 70s -- under the header "Happy at Losing $2,000,000 Headache." Underneath was Mr. and Mrs. Robert R. Brintnall.

It turns out that Mrs. Brintnall was set to receive a windfall of $2 million from the passing of a cousin and uncle in Toronto, but Canadian law prevented her from collecting the massive sum (the economic value of that amount is equal to $76.6 million in today's terms). The caption notes, "Mrs. Brintnall says she has had severe headaches and been bothered by strangers seeking money every day since she was notified she might inherit the estate. Now that she has been told she can't expect the money her headaches have gone and life is more peaceful."

Take a look at the photo. THIS is who sold your fishing tackle. A normal, everyday gentleman in a clean suit smiling with his wife because they avoided the headache of having too much money. A humble tackle clerk who's name, for at least one brief, shining moment, adorned the company for whom he worked for decades.

It's a fascinating story and one we would likely never know unless Kip Gomez posts a picture of an old snelled hook packet on the internet. Thank you, Kip, and everyone else who bothers to save this ephemera which is so easy to overlook. Thanks to Robert Brintnall for selling Bostonians fishing tackle for so many years. And most of all, thank you for reading my ramblings over the past year. I hope you enjoyed it, and learned a bit about trade tackle.

And with that, we close out 52 for 52, a year's worth of histories both short and long, all of them dealing with the tackle of the trade.

I thank everyone for coming along on this journey with me, and leave you with one final thought:

Who sold YOUR tackle?

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Voices from the Past: Donnell Culpepper on John Tarantino (1960)

My recent trip to San Francisco and the Golden Gate Casting Club reminded me that tournament casting has a long and brilliant history. No star in the history of the sport burned brighter than San Francisco's John Tarantino. A prodigy, he was world champion in his teens and when this article, written by Long Beach Independent outdoor scribe Donnell Culpepper on 30 September 1960, he was already three time defending champion. He broke several world records and soon after retired. Tragically, like Johnny Dieckman (also a member of the U.S. team and professional world champion caster), he died far too early.

A SEVEN-MAN U. S. castting team won the international casting tournament in Zurich, Switzerland, capturing both the amateur and professional combined all-around championship. The U. S. casters set three world records and won 23 of 32 contests.

Competing against the world's finest casters from 11 nations, the Americans swept three first places in the combined all-around and won the first leg on the Garcia Cup.

Jon Tarantino, San Francisco, spearheaded the U. S. triumph to win his fourth connective combined title with 13,622.2 points. In second and third places were Steve Aleshi, Kansas City, Mo., and Ben Fontaine, New Orleans.

The trophy, which is considered the decathalon award of casting, was presented by Thomas T. Lenk, president of the Garcia Corporation. Tarantino already had retired a previous trophy by winning it three years in succession.

Johnny Dieckman, Costa Mesa, world professional champion, had a major share in the victory. He won 12 of 16 professional events and the combined all-around professional title with 14,024.4 points.

Others on the American team were Robert A. Budd, Jeffersonville, Ind.; Myron C. Gregory, Oakland, Calif., and Edward R. Lanser, St. Louis.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fishing for History Turns 5 Today!

Well, folks, five years ago today Fishing for History began. Hard to believe it's been five years -- honestly, it sometimes feels like I've been doing this for a decade or more. At times it has frustrated me, at times it has made me want to pull out my hair, but mostly it's been a ton of fun. I get to share something I am passionate about and am lucky enough that there are a lot of people who want to read it. So my sincere thanks to everyone who stops by and takes a look at what myself, and some very talented other folks, write about our favorite past time.

I wish I had time to develop all the ideas I have for the blog, but alas, I struggle to find the time to do what I am doing right now. But I will try to keep it as fresh as I can.

1800 posts and a million or more words and unique visitors alike...1000 days in a row with a post with no advertisements or pop up ads...even the occasional angry email. Along the way we've lost some of our best friends, and picked up some new ones. It's all been a strange and wonderful ride.

I think I'll let Marilyn sing Happy Birthday this year, as we celebrate our 5th Birthday.

Here's to many more!

-- Dr. Todd

News of the Week: 26 March 2012

Don't have time to read 50+ fishing and tackle collecting blogs and web sites? Well, let us do it for you! Follow all of the latest news, articles, and stories on our Whitefishpress Twitter account! Hint: You don't need to be a member...just bookmark the Twitter Feed Page or click on latest links to the right!

A great article on Ted Juracsik of Tibor Reels...lead debate rages on...River Monsters has a line of fishing tackle...Aussie angler rewarded for bravery 59 years with a fly rod...A history of the Northwest Sport Show...Healing Waters is the best...Rod Building 101...the beauty of custom built must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

Just an awesome article on Ted Juracsik, the man who changed fly fishing forever.

The lead debate hits New Hampshire.

The hit TV show River Monsters has spawned a line of fishing tackle.

Aussie angler rewarded for bravery 59 years after the fact.

The Northwest Sportshow is entering its eight decade.

Catch more fish with a fly rod.

Healing waters heals through fly fishing.

Rod Building 101.

Finishing with a Flourish: The beauty of custom built fishing rods.

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, March 25, 2012

1000 Words

1000 Words

This week (via Bill Sonnett) we have a neat photo of one of my favorite authors, Ozark Ripley. Ripley was a columnist and author of a number of important books on sportfishing in the first half of the 20th century. He belongs in the small number of very important outdoor writers in American history.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Deconstructing Old Ads: Walter Marhoff and the Marhoff Reel Company (1906)

Walter Marhoff and the Marhoff Reel Company
From the pages of the April 1908 issue of Outers Book comes this ad for the Marhoff Reel made by the Marhoff Reel Company. Though usually associated with the William Shakespeare Jr. Company, the venerable Marhoff did not start out there. No fishing reel levelwind system has stood the test of time longer than that invented so long ago by Walter Marhoff of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

It would be difficult to imagine better documented research into the early days of the Shakespeare company than that done by Eric Jeska of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Eric also happens to be the grandson of William Shakespeare Jr., founder of the company. Eric has very kindly allowed us to use the following quote which represents an abbreviated version of only a small portion of his otherwise exhaustive work on William Shakespeare Jr.'s personal and professional life and his deep friendship with Walter Marhoff.
"In the Summer of 1906 Walter Marhoff left the Shakespeare Reel Works.  The Kalamazoo City Directory listed him as an architect, and it was then that he developed his own design of level-wind bait-casting reels on which he was able to adapt and perfect the single endless-thread or cross-thread carriage screw. A patent was issued to the Marhoff Reel Company on October 23rd, 1906 for this reel, although he had already applied for a patent to improve this reel just the day before. Marhoff next received a patent for a non-level winding reel with an improved brake, another for a quick take-a-part reel frame, and still another patent for end-cap thrust bearings. His level-winding reels were improved in a May 1907 patent with a modification to the wire line-guide, more similar now to the Shakespeare design, but with a slotted shaft above to support the top of the line-guide.  These reels were made in the Shakespeare factory under special arrangement similar to the manufacturing arrangements for the private label reels that Shakespeare was to later make for the South Bend Bait Company.
By May of 1908 William Shakespeare acquired the patent rights to the Marhoff level winding reel design. Whether Walter Marhoff relinquished his patent to Shakespeare because the Marhoff Reel Company was in financial trouble, or due to his failing health is unclear.  From the individual serial numbers we know that slightly more than one thousand reels were produced with the Marhoff Reel Company name. Of these only a few  have survived, making this reel a scarce collector's item.
Walter Marhoff died at his Forest Street home on the day before his 39th birthday on October 25th, 1908, after having suffered from a long illness with tuberculosis. His friends had seen him working at the Shakespeare Reel Works and walking around town only a few days earlier. His body was laid to rest at Mountain Home Cemetery in Kalamazoo on a hillside overlooking the town."

Photo courtesy Eric Jeska.

"In January of 1909 Wm. Shakespeare Jr. filed for the dissolution of the Marhoff Reel Company and took over the business of his good friend, only two years after Marhoff developed the reel that would ultimately become the level-wind design standard for the entire tackle industry.
Mr. Shakespeare was deeply saddened by the loss of his good friend. He paid tribute to Marhoff’s innovation and genius by placing the “Marhoff Reel” in a position of prominence in the catalogs, its basic design virtually unchanged throughout William Shakespeare’s life, and by continuing to recognize Walter Marhoff at service award banquets for decades."

Thank you, Eric, for that great history of Walter Marhoff. Finally, we present here a few pictures of a genuine Marhoff Reel Company reel. Reel number #582 of just over 1000 produced in 1907.

-- Bill Sonnett

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Friday Funhouse

The Video of the Week

Steve Campbell of Thomas Rods has crafted the L.L. Bean 100th Anniversary Fly Rod.

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This Ambassadeur 4000D is a superb reel.

A rare combination -- a Union Hardware fly rod made for McClurg's.

This Bogdan reel has some a lot of use, but is still a work of art.

These Turner Spider lures are bizarre.

This Meek #3 is a super sweet reel.

I don't believe I've ever seen this Horrocks Nature Lure on a card before…

This Ross S-3 in the box is a nice fly reel.

LOVE this Musky Pikaroon.

This set of 3 South Bend hair bugs in boxes is spectacular!

An A&I rod made by John Landman is a great find.

An early Jumbo Shiner from L&S will make someone very happy.

This Heddon Tiny Torpedo Spook in Purple is really rare.

As always, have a great weekend, and be good to each other, and yourself!

-- Dr. Todd