Tuesday, December 22, 2015

1920 Bristol Steel Fishing Rods Catalog on CD

I was really thrilled when I found this catalog because I am a collector of all things made by the Horton Manufacturing Company of Bristol, Connecticut.

I've decided share this marvelous catalog by creating a pdf copy of all 42 pages and with a digitally enhanced cover.

They are being offered for $11.95 each -- including S&H -- at http://www.cowboyup.com/Bristol.html

Just use the Buy Now button at the bottom of the link.

The CD has 176.6 MB of PDF files for Bristol Steel Fishing Rods, Meek and Blue Grass Reels and Kingfisher Silk Fishing Lines.

Horton Mfg. Co. makers of Bristol Steel Rods

The Horton Manufacturing Company, of Bristol, CT was a successful manufacturer and dealer of quality fishing tackle from the late 1880s to the 1950s.

The business was started in 1887, when Everett Horton, a Bristol mechanic, patented a fishing rod of telescoping steel tubes.  The rod was lightweight and compact, and the steel tubes protected the line from tangling and snagging on branches while hiking to a favorite fishing hole.

Within a short time frame The Horton Manufacturing Company located in Bristol, CT and began producing a complete line of steel fishing rods.  They offered everything from delicate fly rods to hefty deep sea rods.

Horton Mfg. and Meek Reels

On Monday, August 14, 1916, the Bristol Press newspaper reported on page one:

"General Manager Charles R. Riley and Secretary Towndsend G. Treadway of the Horton Manufacturing Company returned this noon from Louisville, Kentucky from a business trip which is very important to this city.  While at that place on Saturday, the purchase of the B. F. Meek Company, manufacturers of fishing reels, by the Horton Manufacturing Company was completed."

So, in 1916, the Horton Mfg. Co. went from having no fishing reels in their catalog to being the manufacturer of the most famous fishing reels in America.

E. J. Martin's Sons and Kingfisher Fishing Lines

In 1920, the Horton Mfg. Co. acquired the E. J. Martin's Sons firm, of Kingfisher Brand Silk Fishing Line fame.

Horton Mfg. Co. Marketing and Advertising

Some of the most beautifully illustrated postcards, calendars, and catalogs offered by any fishing tackle company were created by the Horton Manufacturing Co, for their Bristol Steel Rods.

In the early 20th century three of America's finest sporting illustrators -- N. C. Wyeth, Oliver Kemp and Philip R. Goodwin -- were commissioned to do paintings for their calendars, catalogs and other marketing materials.

I have been fortunate enough to obtain a c1920 Bristol Catalog with a cover illustration by Philip R. Goodwin.  The best part of the catalog is that it was late enough to include not only Bristol Steel Rods, but also Meek Blue Grass Reels, and Kingfisher Silk Fishing Lines.

These rare, early catalogs are extremely collectible, offer a vast amount of information, and fetch fairly high prices in the collector market.

My Bristol Steel Fishing Rods Catalog dates c1920

I've scanned the entire catalog and converted the pages to pdf files then burned them to a CD:

My catalog is undated, however the Horton Mfg. Co. acquired Kingfisher Silk Fishing Lines in 1920, and Philip R. Goodwin painted the cover image in 1920.

The original catalog is 9 7/8" w x 7 1/4" h, and has 41 numbered pages along with 3 cover pages.

I have carefully restored the Cover and its Philip R. Goodwin image.

This catalog is a great find because it has all the Bristol Steels Fishing Rods available at the time, and also includes Meek and Blue Grass Reels, as well as the newly acquired Kingfisher Fishing Lines.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Sporting Classics -- Fly-rod Lures

In the 1960s -- while still in college -- I took up fly fishing.  Somehow I though it was a more intellectual approach to fishing.  Maybe it is, but over the years I've discovered my personal favorite way to fish is trolling lures from a canoe.  

A few years back I gave my daughter most my fly fishing gear.  Now, I need to tell her just valuable all that stuff is.  She has my old Hardy Bros. rod and reel as well as hundreds of small accouterments and flies I collected over a thirty-five year span.

This week I was cleaning out some old tackle boxes that belonged to my dad and me when I came across a bunch of old fly-rod baits and lures that I never got around to giving to my daughter.  I began looking up some of these on Ebay, and I learned that they are every bit as collectible as other lures.

Many small bass plugs in the one to two inch range where made by Heddon, South Bend, Creek Chub, Paw Paw and other manufacturers.  If you're lucky enough to have some in the original boxes you'll find they are worth a small fortune.

I've always been a big fan of Fred Arbogast's Hula Poppers, so it was no surprise that these two fly-rod lures have been in my tackle box for the past 50 years.

I've never been a big fan of Helin flatfish lures.  Over the years I've probably spent more time untangling 'em than fishing with 'em, but here are a few that I've been dragging along since the 1960s.

When it gets right down to fly-rod baits that work best for trout you can't beat hair and feathered sculpins, frogs, mice and other baitfish imitations.  I've caught some dandy German Browns on the Owens River by dapping these in the grass along a cut-bank.

I've also had a fair amount of success with streamers, especially on a sinking fly line trolled behind a canoe.

Also for trolling "old timers" often added spinners and other attractor blades to work with flies and streamers.

All of these fly-rod baits have been popular with angler's since the nineteenth century when Julius Vom Hofe was making his #4 Trout Reel.

Size matters!  

Especially when it come to fishing collectibles.  Small is better because it's always easier to display small collectibles as they require less space in a showcase or on a wall.

Happy Hunting!!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Sporting Classics -- Edwards Bristol Rods

Eustis William Edwards premier bamboo fly rod maker

Eustis William Edwards (1857 - 1931) was best known as a premier bamboo fly rod maker and innovator.

He joined the Leonard Rod Company in 1882 as one of Leonard's first apprentices.

Kosmic Rods

In 1889, he left the Leonard shop to start a new rod-making partnership.  Edwards and his partners established themselves under the name 'Kosmic Rods' working for A.G. Spalding (sports equipment) & Bros..  The 'Kosmic' fly rod enjoyed many awards and accolades in its short time.  'Kosmic' rods were displayed at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and won a gold medal.

In 1894, during a growing economic depression, Spalding sold its interest in the 'Kosmic' partnership to U.S. Net & Twine.  After the sale of the Kosmic partnership to USN&T, the original founders broke up and went their separate ways.

In 1915, after a fifteen-year hiatus from rod building, E.W. Edwards began rod making once again.  He developed a way to temper Tonkin Cane to increase its resiliency, quickening its recovery time and lessened its weight.

Between 1914 and 1919, E.W. Edwards made rods in Brewer, Maine, for Abercrombie & Fitch, with his sons Bill and Gene.

Winchester Repeating Arms Company

In 1919 Winchester Repeating Arms Company purchased the E.W. Edwards Rod Company.  Edwards was retained to oversee the operations in New Haven, Connecticut.

After his five-year contract expired, Edwards left Winchester in 1924, and continued to build rods at his home. Winchester continued to make all of the Edwards-designed rods until 1930.

Edwards moved to 40 Filbert St in Hamden while still at Winchester, purchasing the house in 1922. He lived there the rest of his life.

He worked out of the Filbert St house until early 1927, when he moved his business to a large building in Mt. Carmel, a nearby town. Edwards produced four ranges of models. He had six employees, including his sons Bill and Gene.

E.W. Edwards & Sons

In 1927, the name of the company changed to E.W. Edwards & Sons. The company made rods for various suppliers including Abbey & Imbrie, Weber, Paul H. Young and others.

Horton Manufacturing Company

After becoming ill in 1931, Edwards made arrangements to sell his fly rod company to the Horton Manufacturing Company. The deal became difficult due to the Great Depression.

Eustis Edwards died on New Year's Eve of that year. He is buried in Highland Mills, New York at Cemetery of the Highlands.

After Eustis died in 1931, his sons continued to make rods under the Bristol name.

1935 Bristol Bamboo Rods ad

Eventually becoming discontent with the Bristol operation, Bill went out on his own and formed the W. E. Edwards & Son Rod Co. where he developed a new four-strip rod technology that became famous as the Edwards Quadrate; Gene also went out on his own and formed the Eugene Edwards Rod. Co..

Bristol-Edwards fly rods came to an end about 1941/1942.

What could be better than owning an Edwards-Bristol F-7 bamboo fly rod and a nearly new Bristol No. 66 fly reel.

I'm not sure exactly when the Horton Manufacturing Company began producing the Bristol fly reels, but by the early 1950s they had a half-dozen different models.

Good condition Edwards-Bristol F-7 bamboo fly rods routinely fetch between $200.00 - 300.00 in today's collectors market.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Sporting Classics -- Kingfisher Lines

Kingfisher Silk Lines display c 1915

Elisha J. Martin of Rockville, Connecticut was the original creator of the now famous Kingfisher brand of silk fishing lines.

In 1882, he was in the business of making braided eye-glass cords.  After making a few braided fishing lines for his friends he began his silk fishing line business in 1884.

Following the death of E. J. Martin in 1899, the business name was changed to E. J. Martin's Sons when his three sons took over the firm.

The E. J. Martin's Sons firm continued in business until it was eventually sold to the Horton Manufacturing Company of Bristol, Connecticut in 1919.

The E. J. Martin's Sons' specialties were raw and finished silk lines, variegated waterproof lines, mottled P. & S. lines, oiled silk lines, Potomac bass lines, extra quality trout lines, Italian trout and bass lines, bait casting lines, slickest casting lines, Italian casting lines, extra strength waterproof lines, enameled oil silk fly lines, russet enamel lines, mist color enamel lines, and highest quality enamel lines.

Throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s the Horton Manufacturing Company marketed Kingfisher fishing line along with their famous Bristol Steel Rods, and Meek Fishing Reels.

See previous posts to learn more about the Horton Manufacturing Company:

A sample page from the 1920 Bristol Steel Rods catalog
Sporting Classics -- Horton Mfg Co.

1920s examples of Kingfisher Line and synthetic leader
Sporting Collectibles -- Fisherman's Paraphernalia

At some point during the 1930s depression years the Horton Manufacturing Company separated from the Kingfisher Brand, and by the 1950s they were selling Bristol Fishing Lines.

From 1906 into the late 1950s the Edward K. Tryon of Philadelphia was marketing Kingfisher brand of silk fishing lines along with a huge variety of other "Kingfisher" fishing tackle.

The Edw K. Tryon Company of Philadelphia held a Kingfisher trademark from before 1934 through at least 1945.  My research has failed to find any legal agreement between the Edw K. Tryon Co. and either E.J. Martin's Sons or the Horton Mfg. Co.

The following are some sample pages from the 1939 Edward K. Tryon catalog:

Kingfisher Bass Flies

Kingfisher Silk Casting Lines

Kingfisher Fishing Reels

Kingfisher Cohantic Enameled Silk Fish Lines

Kingfisher Trout Flies

Kingfisher Trout Flies