Saturday, April 28, 2012

Deconstructing Old Ads: The Shur-Luk Manufacturing Corporation

The Shur-Luk Manufacturing Corporation

Most collectors of “Indiana Baits” are familiar with the Shur-Luk fly rod lures. However they come up for identification on “Joe's Board” and at lure shows often enough that this advertisement from the May 1947 issue of Sports Afield should help clear up some of the confusion. I really like this ad because it illustrates the three most common fly rod baits made by this somewhat obscure company. The “Mousey” and the “Froggie” are the two baits that I see most often and hear the question; “Who made these?”` The “Mousey” is sometimes mistakenly credited to the Isle Royale Bait Company. The Shur-Luk Mfg Corp. should not be confused with the Shure-Strike's - the Shure Bite's - or the Shur-Strikes. This can get confusing!

Knowing very little about this company's history, I asked David Budd, my lure show roommate of 20 years and Indiana bait "Guru" to give us a little history of the Shur-Luk Corporation and their baits. The following is from Dave and is about as good as it gets when it comes to the history of Shur-Luk. Dave writes:

"In the beginning the company's name was Lighter-N-Cork. The company was started by a man named Mack Shreve in the early 1920's. Shreve was a friend and business associate of Creek Chub Bait Company's founding partner, Carl Heinzerling. Mack Shreve's company made fly rod lure bodies for CCBC according to local legend. Shreve's operation was in his home at the corner of Houston and Randolph Streets in Garrett, one half  block from the CCBC factory. The house still stands today.

Lighter-N-Cork box w original Lighter-N-Cork shiners

Lighter-N-Cork papers.

While making bodies for CCBC, Mack Shreve started his own tackle company. He produced his Lighter-N-Cork minnows in 10 different colors and configurations. The Froggie and the Mousey soon followed. There is a lack of early advertising for Lighter-N-Cork. Very few examples of these baits have been found in original boxes. This operation continued until right before WWII. Sometime before the end of the war the company was sold to  George Walker Spear, a partner in the Allison-Faulkner Corp of Auburn Indiana . The Allison-Faulkner corporate business was primarily concerned with aviation and supplied items used by airports and aviators. George Spear had a daughter named Shirley. Mr. Faulkner of Allison-Faulkner had a son named Luke. Thus the Shur-Luk division of Allison-Faulkner Corporation was born using parts of both children's names and the lure manufacturing operation was moved to Auburn Indiana.

A business relationship continued between CCBC and the Shur-Luk Corp.  Advertising for Shur-Luk started showing up in 1946-1947. Their beautiful fly rod baits are commonly found on buff colored cards. The lures were packaged in boxes of 12 and also on counter cards.

Very rare box for i doz shur-Luk flyrod lures here

By 1952 the tackle industry was rapidly changing and Sur-Luk ceased production. George Spear died six years later. It is not known how long Allison-Faulker continued to exist."

Picture of color brochure of Shur-Luk baits.

Thanks Dave, that's a lot more than most of us knew about Shur-Luk.

-- Bill Sonnett

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