...maybe "construction site" would be a better term. Missed last month's news because WVFFM, at least, the part of it that is not "Virtual", is moving. Every item you see on the web site is actually here, my own collection of vintage fishing items. Over the years this has grown from a few reels displayed on bits of broom-handle across some shelving, to almost 500 items. Now there 's a good Scots word for the resulting combination of lack of space, hasty organisation and lost labels and the word is "guddle". Well the "guddle" is gradually being re-organised in a purpose-built location where I can spread stuff out and actually get to work with it better. Even small things like comparing the reel seats on a range of rods have been impossible and all this is currently changing. Once the sawdust is swept up, the cabinets finished and everything sorted out, it will be a lot better. More news as things progress. Meantime, get out there and do some fishing! Tight lines for those who do!
A lot of our news lately has been about delving into the far past and taking a more academic view of Vintage Tackle but earlier this month Bryan Henry, from Winnipeg, Manitoba got in touch with something that is entirely practical.
Bryan has a Grice & Young Jecta De luxe. This is the reel with the drag that could stop a hippo, patented by Gurney Grice and first used on the Sea Jecta. If you are not familiar with Grice & Young reels, you can read more here.
Like many older reels, Bryan's was set up for right-hand wind. The fact that the line guard could be moved suggested to Bryan that it could be changed to a left-hand wind, - here's how he did it:
I'd like to thank Bryan for getting in touch and passing on his great photos and for reminding me of the practical side of WVFFM!
March was a busy month here at WVFFM, - starting with the Scottish Fly Fair at the beginning of the month. We attended the first of these events last year, and again the show was held at the Stirling Court Hotel on the campus of the University of Stirling. Last year we showed timelines of both rods and reels, this year we included many of the same rods shown last year, but also some of the material from the story of the Ogden rod acquired last year. The entire saga can be read here, along with the subsequent tale of Ogden and Scotford and the early years of Ogden Smiths Ltd.
The James Ogden rod alongside a later marked Ogden rod that we now know to have been made by his nephew.
We hope to be able to add to this story in the coming months and, as usual, anything important will appear here on the News page.
Tight lines for the new season to all our visitors!
...because I've been up in the loft getting all the stands together for The Scottish Fly Fair.
You may remember we took part last year at the fair, which is held at the Stirling Court hotel, in the grounds of Stirling University. It was a great opportunity to bring WVFFM into the real world and we will be doing the same this year.
The Fair is on the weekend of 9th-10th March and you can find out more HERE.
Hope to see you there!!!
When I was doing the research for the Hardy-Marston "Blagdon" Rod I came across an excellent book by Geoffrey Bucknall charting the story of Marston's "Fishing Gazette". It was while reading this book that something caught my eye, but I didn't note it at the time, something about James Ogden's "Invicta". It's been nagging at me ever since, so I finally found the quote. It has been a long held belief that the "Invicta" was invented by James Ogden and included in his 1879 book, "Ogden on Fly Tying". However, the Fishing Gazette describes the fly as being "new" in 1902. A further careful reading of Ogden's book revealed no mention of the "Invicta" and in fact the fly was devised and brought to market by his nephew, also James Ogden who had inherited his Uncle's shop in Cheltenham. You can read more on the Ogden's Legacy page linked in the previous post.
One of the many puzzles in the vintage tackle world has been the story of Ogden & Scotford. James Ogden is well known in the literature. Inventor of "Ogden's Fancy" and an early exponent of shorter rods and "floating fly" techniques, he was also the father of Mary Ogden, the matriarch of Ogden Smiths Ltd. However, there is next to nothing in the reference books or on the Forums about Ogden & Scotford. Who was Scotford, and what was his relationship with Ogden? I hope to have at least uncovered part of the story. You can read about it HERE.
Nothing very special to add this month, other than that I have been working on something which I hope will be of interest to a lot of people. I am waiting for a few items and additional data to arrive and once all of these have been processed I'll be adding the finished piece to the site.
As ever...watch this space!
..along with an early Christmas present
On Christmas Eve the postman arrived with an eagerly awaited parcel all the way from the USA. Inside was a reel that had been the subject of much discussion between myself and a fellow member of The Classic Fly Rod Forum. He had purchased the reel a number of years ago, believing it to have been made by David Slater of Newark, famous for their Nottingham style reels and the celebrated SEJ Fly Fishers' Winch. It is a Hercules pattern reel, made of brass and alloy in the conventional pattern, and appeared indeed to be a Slater reel.
The reel is marked for Lillywhite's of London, a sports outfitter still in business, and has the characteristic Slater two-screw locking winding plate. It is also assembled with nickel-silver screws, another Slater characteristic. The natural conclusion, therefore, being that it is indeed a Slater reel. The surprise came when my friend dismantled the reel...
On the inside of the backplate, along with typical artisan marks is a stamping; "S&W". It seems that we were all wrong, and in fact it is an early example of the work of Smith & Wall. I had never seen a Hercules pattern reel from this manufacturer before, and there is scant reference in any literature, so it seemed natural for the reel to join WVFFM. Now that it is here, it is possible to make some other comparisons.
Heaton also made reels in this pattern.
On the left is the new reel, in the centre, Heaton and on the right Slater. The S&W reel has the two-screw lock typical of Slater BUT the drum arbor seen on Heaton-made Hercules reels.
I'll be writing up the details of this reel and couple of other Smith and Wall reels acquired during the year and adding them to the Smith and Wall page on the web site.
Happy New Year eh?
Things have been pretty quiet here at WVFFM through November, though I'm pleased to say a few people have got in touch through the Contact Page with various inquiries, with which I'm always happy to try and help. It's also nice to know people are visiting the site.
Newly acquired from Mullock's October auction, and delivered this month is an interesting three piece rod from Hardy's, the Marston-Blagdon. One of a series of rods designed in collaboration with Robert Marston, the owner/editor of the Fishing Gazette. I'll be writing up a page about the rod in the near future, meantime here's a first look:
Well, considering this is Whiteadder's Virtual FLY Fishing Museum then this is a little weird, but it is a reel I have long admired and when a really fine example became available, I just had to include it here...
If you have read the Museum pages on Ken Morritt and the Intrepid brand you will know how important contribution was made in the development and distribution of fly reels, - after all, EVERYONE had a Rimfly, but Morritt's also made some other excellent products including this very elegant fixed spool reel with another Morritt patent for a slipping clutch mechanism. While it is a poor fir in a fly fishing setting, it is still I think one of the most elegant fixed spools ever made.
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.