Monday, January 25, 2016

Sporting Collectibles -- Paw Paw Baits

This "leaping bass" Moonlight box was used for all its lures during the late 1920s

For my money some of the most interesting fishing lure boxes were crafted by the Paw Paw Bait Company which started out as the Moonlight Bait Company about 1909.

In 1923, the Moonlight Bait Company acquired another fishing lure maker, the Silver Creek Novelty Works, and by 1927 the Moonlight Bait Company became the Paw Paw Bait Company.  The Paw Paw Bait Company was ultimately sold to Shakespeare fishing tackle in 1970.

Orange Paw Paw boxes are the company's earliest -- dating around 1929 -- and often contain leftover lures from the previous Moonlight line.

The next-oldest of Paw Paw boxes are the yellow "photo cover" boxes.  These boxes and lures date from the late 1920s into the 1930s.

The Blue Lucky Lures box was Paw Paw's last two-piece cardboard box.  After this one their lures came in the cardboard bottoms with clear plastic tops.

Above Western Auto Game Getter Lures by Paw Paw

Paw Paw Baits did very little direct marketing to fisherman.  Most of their lures sold wholesale through retailers like Sear & Roebuck, Montgomery Wards, Western Auto, and catalog merchants such as Gateway.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Sporting Classics -- Bristol Rods Gals

Circa 1900 Bristol Steel Fishing Rods poster

One of the things I admire most about the Horton Mfg. Co. and their early 20th century "Bristol Steel Fishing Rods" marketing efforts was their inclusion of ladies in their calendars, catalogs, postcards and posters.

Here are a few of my favorites...

1905 Bristol Steel Fishing Rods calendar art -- "The Start"

1907 Bristol Steel Fishing Rods catalog art -- "A Lucky Strike"

1909 Bristol Steel Fishing Rods postcard art by Oliver Kemp

1911 Bristol Steel Fishing Rods calendar art by Oliver Kemp

1913 Bristol Steel Fishing Rods calendar art by Oliver Kemp

1916 Bristol Steel Fishing Rods calendar art "Lucky Catch" by Philip R. Goodwin

1915 Bristol Steel Fishing Rods catalog cover girl by unknown artist

1917 Bristol Steel Fishing Rods calendar art "Waiting Out the Storm" by Philip R. Goodwin

1918 Bristol Steel Fishing Rods calendar art "Fishing at the Rapids" by Philip R. Goodwin

1918 Bristol Steel Fishing Rods calendar art "Fish On" by Philip R. Goodwin

In today's fishing tackle collectibles marketplace these advertising pieces fetch big money, but the good news is that some of the illustrations have been reproduced over the years.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

British Legacy -- Woolwich Arsenal Retirement 1917

Stephen John Head and Susannah (Avery) Head about 1910

Stephen John Head, my great grandfather, was forced to retire from the Royal Carriage Department, Woolwich Arsenal following injuries sustained during a WWI German Zeppelin raid over Plumstead.

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Stephen had been employed in the Carriage Department at the Royal Woolwich Arsenal for 42 years when he retired.  He was the assistant foreman of the department at the time of his departure.

The Kentish Independent Newspaper published an account of Stephen John Head's retirement from the Royal Arsenal as follows:



On Saturday last Messrs. L. M. Lang, E. Edwards, and G. F. Ball, representing the managers and foremen of the Royal Carriage Department, Woolwich Arsenal, met at the residence of Mr, S. J. Head to present a testimonial to him on his retirement after 42 years service.

Mr. Ball, in making the presentation, said he had worked with Mr. Head for over 40 years, and could speak in very high terms of his valuable service. Forty years ago there were only 12 employed in the shop, and at the present time there were 209, and he was sure no shop in the whole of the department had improved more in both quality and quantity of work produced. This was in no small degree due to Mr. Head, particularly when marker-out. He asked him to accept a little token of their regard a cheque and gold watch. The latter was inscribed: Presented to Mr. S. J. Head on his retirement from the Royal Carriage Department after 42 years service from the managers and foremen of the above department as a token of esteem and regard. November, 1917.

In presenting Mrs. Head with a gold brooch Mr. Ball said he was very pleased they had decided to share the testimonial, as woman's devotion was a great feature in the success of men, and he hoped Mr. and Mrs. Head would jog along for many years to come.

Mr. L. M. Lang, in supporting, remarked that he had known Mr. Head for 38 years, and could remember the time when as "Steve Head" he was called upon to do the most particular work in copper, and how as a boy he would stand and admire his work. He always found him ever ready to help anyone in trouble, and he agreed with Mr. Ball that rapid strides had been made in sheet metal work. He congratulated Mr. Head in having such a capable partner, who must have helped him considerably during his life, and he hoped they would live for many years to come.

Mr. Edwards, who followed, said although he had not known Mr. Head as long as the two previous speakers, he could speak with pleasure of his connection with him for 18 years, and he thought after such valuable service for so many years it was tragedy to retire owing to ill-health, and he hoped the time was not far distant when he would be completely restored to health.

Mr. Head thanked the gentlemen for their very kind words, particularly regarding his wife, who was worthy of all good things said of her. He would like to have stayed at work a little longer for the good of his King and Country, but it was not to be. He hoped the gentlemen would convey to all subscribers their sincere thanks for their valuable presents, which they would always look at with pride.

Stephen's watch is now in the procession of his 2x great grandson in the USA.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cowboy Wisdom -- Canoe Rowing vs Paddling

My 14' Old Town Hunter Canoe with an Essex wooden rowing rig

Did you ever think about rowing your canoe?

I'll be 74 this year, and because I'm retired I can't always find a fishing partner that can get off work for a fishing trip.  Consequently I do a lot of solo canoeing.

I've been canoeing for well over fifty years, and among my most cherished memories are canoe trips to the Boundary Waters, Algonquin Park, and Missouri River in Montana where I soloed 150 miles.

My son Adam with two gorgeous Brown Trout on Lewis Lake in Yellowstone

A few years back I took my son Adam on a fishing trip, and because he had very little canoeing experience I thought I'd better learn how to do a self rescue, so I could instruct him if he got in to trouble. 

I decided to swamp my Old Town Pack Canoe in a warm swimming pool to see how long it would take to empty, right, and climb back in.

Long story short -- a swamped Old Town Pack Canoe cannot be emptied by a 70+ year-old solo paddler while in the water -- and if you do manage to get back inside it sinks to the bottom of your feet.

That was a real eye-opener for me, so I decided I'd buy some air bags, and a canoe stabilizer for my solo trips, and for Adam's first canoeing experience.

While researching stabilizer floats I learned about Spring Creek's rowing rig.  I purchased one and have since discovered I can row my canoe nearly three times faster than I could paddle.  Better yet I can fish on windy lakes, and have full control of my canoe.

I am so happy I purchased the rowing rig and stabilizer floats.  I figure they may extend my fishing years, and might even save my life on some far away windy lake.

However, there are still those quiet mornings when nothing is more enjoyable than a peaceful outing where the stealth of the paddle takes you to those silent places, and reveals the secrets they hold…

Happy canoeing