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Came across this while researching something. It is a fascinating visual record of a process which must have gone on in innumerable rod making shops for decades. It's a film showing the basic methods for making a Greenheart rod. Hope you enjoy it!
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A little late to the "Latest News" this month, but it has been a busy weekend and a busy month here at WVFFM. Though the influx of items has slowed, there has been a lot to do. British Rods now extends to the post-war period but with more to come, as well as plans for a "Named Rodmakers" page. Elsewhere I made a visit to the Ellem Fishing Club's presentation at Paxton House and was generously allowed to photograph some of the items there with a view to writing something for the Magazine section. I'll let you know when it's ready.
One item that did arrive this month caused some interest. WVFFM doesn't often acquire ephemera, but this was too good to miss, especially in the light of some other recent acquisitions.
It is an envelope from a letter posted in Dunkeld in Perthshire to an Edinburgh address in January of 1863. Delivered later the same day, it carries the embossed mark of Roderick Anderson, Fishing Rod and Tackle Maker. Anderson began trading in Dunkeld some years earlier but the name became much better known when the company moved to Edinburgh after Roderick Snr.'s death. Anderson's was subsequently the responsibility of Roderick Jnr. and his brother Robert and went on to become one of Edinburgh's premier tackle and outdoor sports shops with the brothers making significant contributions to both fishing and golf. In case you are wondering, Mr. Ogilvy was an Accountant, with an office at his home in Castle Street...
Just a couple of weeks ago I told you about the new additions to, and the re-organisaion of, the American Rods section of the site. That particular project is now complete until the next USA-made rod appears. Meantime, I have turned my attention to the British-made rods at WVFFM. It seems there are more than 50 of these, many of which I know will be of interest, so I have already begun re-working the British rods presentation which I know has been sadly neglected for some time. As with everything else at WVFFM it's a "work in progress" but I have already made a little (progress, that is), so please have a look and as ever, watch this space!
So many new rods have been acquired over the last few weeks that I thought it was time to do some re-organising. I've never been entirely happy with the American Rods section so this month I set about a complete rebuild. It also gave me an opportunity to show off two more recently delivered rods. One is an Edwards built trade rod for Shakespeare, the Tony Accetta 3017 8' 6", complete with bag and tube.
The second is another 8' 6" Heddon No. 14 Thorobred, again with bag and tube, though this will need some work as with most Heddon rods, the varnish has failed.
Going forward the plan is now to tackle the muddy waters of British made rods which will certainly be something of a challenge.
You have perhaps seen the last post earlier this month, a little aside about the American Rods section of the Museum. Still working on this as time (and Millie) permit, but wanted to show you a couple of things that arrived during June.
For some time now I've been looking for an item from the output of William Phin, an Edinburgh tackle maker active from 1810 to 1894, though from 1832 -58 his widow ran the business until his son C A Phin took over the reins. The reel on the right of the picture is marked on the face in a simple shield-shaped cartouche "PHIN MAKER EDINR". It is a 2 3/4" reel, all brass, with hand cut steel screws and a turned hardwood handle. The 2 1/2" reel on the left came in soon after the first. It has an ivory handle and is marked, in a shield-shaped cartouche, "HOGG MAKER EDINR." Interesting eh? Francic Hogg had a succession of shops in Edinburgh from 1837 to 1887, latterly operated by HIS son, Fraser. Phin was well known for the quality of his rods which he made himself, but little is known of the source of reels sold in the city at this time and I hope to be able to discover more in the future...
Since the Museum has acquired a few early American made rods in the last few months, and the fact that I was never that happy with the existing pictures, I set about trying to photograph some of the rods. I got a few done, until one member of staff decided that we had done enough photography for one day...
...the rest of the rods will have to wait, as will the updated page. I am pleased with the results so far and will confirm when the new material goes live, once Millie lets me finish the photos!
Catalogues and Ephemera have always been an interesting part of collecting. They are often important sources of information and means of identifying items, but they are also, of course, collectible items in themselves. WVFFM has a few catalogues, mostly used for identification, but the latest acquisition is so remarkable as to be a museum grade object in its own right.
Some of you may have read the page in WVFFM about the fly reels of Grice and Young. When this particular item was listed on a leading auction site, I knew we had to have it:
Not only is this a copy of an original Grice and Young reel catalogue, it came complete with compliment slip AND a retail price list dated 1952. The document is in the most extraordinary "as new" condition, - I almost suspect the seller of having a Time Machine hidden away somewhere...
The Frontispiece of the catalogue is an illustraion of the Agila works, complete with period cars parked outside.
Each of the three catalogue sections is defined by a full page illustration.
Each reel featured has a full page illustration, and on the reverse of each reel page, a line drawing, based on the actual engineering drawings for the reel. Some of you may recognise aspects of this drawing from the Sea Jecta patent on the Grice and Young page.
Sadly none of Grice and Young's fly reels are featured in the catalogue, but nonetheless it remains an exciting and important acquisition and something genuinely different from recent trends. You can see the whole catalogue at the foot of the Grice & Young page.
There is definitely a theme developing this year, - early American rods. The Leonard featured in last month's news is now in the hands of a professional rod maker and restorer, - it's needs were beyond my skills, and hopefully when it comes back towards the end of the year I can do a little feature about it. Meantime, two more rods have appeared, both of which have their own stories.
One is a fascinating example of late nineteenth century American bamboo, A J. G. Landman 8 strip rod, retailed by Abbey and Imbrie, refinished at some point in its history, but with its formfit and both tips, though one is short. It has one or two other issues, but is still a remarkable survivor and must have been a personal import into the UK as these rods were never retailed here.
The second rod is very exciting in that it is something of a "missing link" - a UK made mortised rod, again with a few issues. These two, and some of the other items acquired this year are important landmarks in a story that I am only just beginning to get a sense of...
...with apologies to Jeff Wayne whose excellent "War of the Worlds" album has just been played on the radio...
This is one of two more rods that made their way into WVVFM this month, via a well-known auction web site. I knew the rod was of US manufacture from the signature wraps, and at one point even convinced myself that it could be an F E Thomas. As it is, it turned out to be a Leonard, minus a few guides and its original butt cap. Like last months purchase, it brought a friend along as well...
The only thing about this rod that is NOT unusual is that it is made of Greenheart. The way the handle is waisted, the guides and the locking ferrules are all completely without precedent - at least as far as I have so far been able to find. Clearly a quality item, it seems this rod is going to need some research...
Watch this space...
This last month has seen some extraordinary developments in the arrival at WVFFM of this rod:
The rod has been posted on The Classic Fly Rod Forum and has been the subject of mush exciting discussion. Is it by Wm. Mitchell & Son, a late C19 New York maker? Is it British made with heavy American influence? Is it American, made for the British market? It may never be possible to know for sure, but the discussion has prompted me to explore another chapter of "The Transatlantic Connection" and to make more effort to present the British made rods in WVFM, so much to do in the coming months, although the Brown Trout season opens here in Scotland in two weeks.....
Tight lines and happy collecting.!
If you've had a look at the "About" page, you know what this is all for. Here you'll find progress reports on new items and other developments on the site.