A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

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Bethabara
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A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#1

Post by Bethabara »

This is marked CE Wheeler, Farmington, ME.
I picked this up at an antique shop on a road that cuts down the middle of the Adirondacks.
It was also a trainwreck that I felt sorry for back in 1998 I think.
I had to scarf one tip but everything was there to work with and pieces all matched.
It was so filthy, I couldn't even see it was mortised without a borrowed magnifying glass.
All the hardware was leaching terribly, but it cleaned up nicely and pleasant to look at.
Note, the soldered raised rails, all the hardware had to be remounted with ferrule cement.
It was probably kept in a basement, shed or closet in one of those fishing cabins.

https://postimg.cc/gallery/1qch2enu2/

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roycestearns
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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#2

Post by roycestearns »

That's pretty, and an old one nicely recovered.

Other then the unusual stamp (location and actual stamp) what other Wheeler characteristics does the rod have? What are the form fit caps made of?

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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#3

Post by magpie »

Nice work.

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cwfly
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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#4

Post by cwfly »

That cleaned up nicely.
Was the form case found with the rod? If so, what if anything did you have to do to it?

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cwfly
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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#5

Post by cwfly »

Just wondering if you had a chance to see the few questions.
Thanks.

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flyrodman
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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#6

Post by flyrodman »

cwfly wrote:Just wondering if you had a chance to see the few questions.
Thanks.
Also just wondering; Is the form case original to the rod? Original form case had the Chinese end caps of German silver, a Wheeler trademark. Some rods had C.E Wheeler Maker within a stamp framing and some that had an additional stamped frame, Farmington, ME and the seldom seen early Wheeler with the gunmaker's German silver patch box cover on the reel seat that I once owned and is now in Jerry Gerard's collection.
The stamping on the sliding band in two lines "C.E. WHEELER FARMINGTON", ME is one I have never seen.
Is this a rod made by C E Wheeler or was the band stamped at a later date? Just Asking
What say you experts, Jerry, Charlie, Jeff

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Gnome
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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#7

Post by Gnome »

that looks to me to be a rod that must have Shenanigans called on it, the rod is a Montague with a forged CE Wheeler signature, and the form fit for that rod is pure dead on Monty as well, that sculptured rail reel seat has never been seen on a C.E.Wheeler but on many others before now to the best of my knowledge.

Circa 1900-1930 inlaid/mortised monty that was originally unmarked and someone added the C.E.Wheeler signature IMHO. That rod is not like any other Wheeler known and my guess is it was misidentified and the engraving added well after the rod was made. And that rod is identical to many unmarked montys.

Wheelers mortise strips are also much more delicate and longer than the rod pictured, the mortise strips in that rod are dead on short and stubby and not like Wheelers long and slender mortise strips short and stubby was a feature of all mortised rods by Montague

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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#8

Post by jeffkn1 »

Gnome wrote:that looks to me to be a rod that must have Shenanigans called on it, the rod is a Montague with a forged CE Wheeler signature, and the form fit for that rod is pure dead on Monty as well, that sculptured rail reel seat has never been seen on a C.E.Wheeler but on many others before now to the best of my knowledge.

Circa 1900-1930 inlaid/mortised monty that was originally unmarked and someone added the C.E.Wheeler signature IMHO. That rod is not like any other Wheeler known and my guess is it was misidentified and the engraving added well after the rod was made. And that rod is identical to many unmarked montys.

Wheelers mortise strips are also much more delicate and longer than the rod pictured, the mortise strips in that rod are dead on short and stubby and not like Wheelers long and slender mortise strips short and stubby was a feature of all mortised rods by Montague
+1

The Wheeler rods made with cedar inlays had a distinctive grip profile and winding check. The marking on this one was not done with a roll stamp, which is how Wheeler did his, and the location is wrong, as Chris mentioned above.
Can't complain about the nice wrapping and varnishing, though.

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2dabacking
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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#9

Post by 2dabacking »

Something more along the lines of this rod, right?

http://www.customrodsmith.com/0205_C_E_ ... ly_rod.htm

While on topic, what are the known Wheeler rods made for DS&K? Were these trade rods like the HUB and High Grade?

(Jeff, I found your other email. I'll respond shortly.)

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Gnome
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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#10

Post by Gnome »

Joel,

Thanks for the pictures, my Wheeler is buried at the moment and I can not get to it.

Your pictures show the absolutely typical mortise work by C.E.Wheeler, note the long very slender strips as compared to the short and fat/stubby mortise strips that were absolutely typical of the inlaid rods from Montague circa 1900-1930. Give me a shout

Jeff

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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#11

Post by Bethabara »

I guess I'm a bit more like a reporter; I don't make the news, I just report it.
Maybe the person who bought it or his wife had it done when purchased?
Is there anyone that did not buy components from Chubb-Monty? I don't know, I'm not that old.
Maybe, possibly, probably, would be, could be, should be, I only deal with what's at hand.
I pick it up, it looks bad, I make it look better, life is simple.

But it did get people online to look, talk, analyze, communicate, and I did my civic duty.
I can't help what someone did before me, it's only the work I do that's important to me.
But I do appreciate that no one got hurtful or made any personal accusations.
I can't imagine how that band was done, it's so small of an area, tiny letters, and caked up filthy to clean.
It seemed like a hundred years of oxidation and calcium build-up. It took a Dremel wire wheel, CLR, 0000 wool, and silver polish to clean.

No matters whos name is on the band the inescapable fact is; I put this rod in a condition enabling me to fish a 120-year-old Calcutta cane rod on the water with confidence. I would not know where or how Wheeler put his name on as this is the only one I've ever seen.
I don't get to read a great deal but I understood that a great many rod makers did buy components from Chubb. And most of the famous makers worked for Chubb, Monty, or Bartlett at one time, so nothing would surprise me.

Big-name makers from the 1940s to present date buy components from other makers. China seems to be the focus of recent but no maker of today would admit that. The famous Paul Young did use Heddon blanks, I don't recall any publications during his tenure making that info public. We sure have a lot of knock-off hardware in today's market place copying the old masters of yesteryear. It's easy to buy a mortised rod made in the last 10 or twenty years, kindof reinventing the wheel, ie, Orvis reel seats, Leonard hardware, etc.

Always use a tippet that will break before your rod does.

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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#12

Post by jeffkn1 »

2dabacking wrote:Something more along the lines of this rod, right?

http://www.customrodsmith.com/0205_C_E_ ... ly_rod.htm

While on topic, what are the known Wheeler rods made for DS&K? Were these trade rods like the HUB and High Grade?
The Hub was a Wheeler product but the date range is uncertain at this time, definitely not beyond 1893, his last year for trade rods. The High Grades I've seen have been Nichols products. Wheeler began making rods for Bradford & Anthony in 1868 but we have no known marked examples. The Maine State Museum has a 14'+ rod that could conceivably be one of the first batch Wheeler made for B&A and I've been trying to document that for 10 years.

The link shows one of the styles Wheeler produced in the later years, if the NS snakes are any indication. The seat is Chubb with the later style of butt cap. He also did a variant of that one with a grip check, resulting in a fuller grip at the back, as seen in my photo below. I have two of those and that little extra bit of cork increases the comfort for my wider-than-average hand span. I'm now thinking the winding check is Chubb and that grip check may also be. I'll need Rex's input there.

Wheeler's use of Chubb parts began on a limited basis in the early 1880's, right after Chubb patented the reelseat design employing drawn brass and drawn nickel silver. Reel seats accounted for a significant portion of the cost in the earlier rods. Those beautiful hand soldered NS seats could account for nearly a third of the rod's cost, so any chance to bring that cost down was worth a shot and Chubb gave everyone an alternative. One of Wheeler's trade rods, an entry level model, was entirely fitted with plated brass components from Chubb while still managing to look like a Wheeler.

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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#13

Post by Bethabara »

I'm easy, I think everyone is right.
The thing is some guys start out hardware makers getting into rod making later and buy blanks from?
Some guys get into rod making then find out its too much work and can't keep up with demand, so they buy blanks.
Some guys take on partners who want to buy and sell what they choose and still use the registered P-name.
Some guys just want to play the popular demand game so they look for their own niche market.
Ie, if everyone is offering green rods, so do you. If everyone is selling mortised rods, so do you!

Nothing happens today that didn't happen 140 years ago.
Only one rod that I wish I had back was clearly stamped Spaulding Co. Chicago, Illinois.
Spaulding did not make it, it was morticed, all nickel silver, I mapped out and replaced 386 rotten wraps, I called it the "Christmas Tree". The rod had four colors, all hardware had to be removed, cleaned, and reinstalled.
I'm glad I did it, but the biggest pain in the patoot I ever did.

And why are there 4000 more L. Dickerson rods on the market than he actually made?

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2dabacking
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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#14

Post by 2dabacking »

Thanks, Jeff and Jeff. I thought that I had at least one Wheeler rod with Chubb hardware, so Beth's rod was puzzling. Both this and the DS&K rod have Chubb hardware (I'm fairly certain those reel seats, rails and sliding bands came out of the Chubb shop - if Chubb rods were made wholly in the Chubb factory), but like you guys mentioned, the inlays and stamp are not characteristic of Wheeler.

Beth, thanks for the civic-mindedness.

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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#15

Post by 2dabacking »

jeffkn1 wrote:The Maine State Museum has a 14'+ rod that could conceivably be one of the first batch Wheeler made for B&A and I've been trying to document that for 10 years.
What's the hurdle on this? Shall I give the museum a call? I somehow managed to convince the PA State Museum to give Tom access to the Phillippe. :lol

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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#16

Post by quashnet »

Bethabara wrote:I guess I'm a bit more like a reporter; I don't make the news, I just report it...The famous Paul Young did use Heddon blanks, I don't recall any publications during his tenure making that info public.
Although Young did not explicitly state the origin of the blanks in every single pre-war rod catalog listing, he did not hide the fact that he assembled rods from others' blanks prior to the end of World War II, when he became a maker. For example, here is an excerpt from a letter Young sent on January 8, 1942 to a customer, John E. Davis, who had inquired about having a Young rod built for him: "These sticks are Edwards, and intended to go into their Edwards DeLuxe rods... They are as good as are in existence, and I am sure that I do a better job of ferrule fitting than a wage earner in a rod shop, as I have a personal interest in the rod's future." Davis ordered the rod, knowing that the blanks were made by Edwards.
Please visit and bookmark the Paul H. Young Rod Database at phydatabase.com/
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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#17

Post by Bethabara »

I don't have answers, only questions, I'm not smart.

But it seems to me that people are always trying to reinvent the wheel.
Today we have lots of kits for do-it-yourselfers to buy.

I read once that an unemployed guy went from Chicago to Texas and back again, his only claim to fame was selling ready to build rod kits for do-it-yourselfers.

I would be willing to bet many rod makers began in the same manner and Chubb's drop hammer pop-corn manufacturing made that all possible. Just imagine the market when the Germans got into the act with catalogs of rod making components. Would anyone here in 1865 to 1900 admit that he bought rod blanks from England? I think not. Nor would there be any records kept, just to make a point of this issue. Just remember; all those guys were fishermen! I'm too polite to explain that.

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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#18

Post by Bethabara »

Yes, but we are talking about "fisherman", who's going to read all that stuff form 1870 to date?
They see a name, buy a rod, go fishing, eat the fish!
Is there anyone that does not know that new-fangled, fancy lures are built to catch fishermen?
Yes, it's true that fish get caught but so do we! "Mans Favorite Sport", Roger Willoby.

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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#19

Post by jeffkn1 »

2dabacking wrote:
jeffkn1 wrote:The Maine State Museum has a 14'+ rod that could conceivably be one of the first batch Wheeler made for B&A and I've been trying to document that for 10 years.
What's the hurdle on this? Shall I give the museum a call?
I have found the curators up there to be generous with their time and have displayed a willingness to do everything in their power to get me access to their archives. They have a Thomas rod shop display that includes almost all the Thomas items that they purchased from Sam Carlson, and they unlocked it and let AJ and I poke around through bench drawers that had roll stamps for trade rod customers and other drawers with raw Montague parts. That was to be discussed by AJ in print but it's in limbo as his estate mulls over what they'll do with the unfinished manuscript for what was to be his last book.
The rod in question has a provenance dating it to no later than 1872, the year its original owner left it with his innkeeper host in Rangeley. It's a 4-piece split bamboo: 6-strip butt, 6-strip mid, 4-strip mid, and 2-strip tip(!!!), all turned round on a lathe. It exhibits characteristics of a maker who was capable with his tools, but not familiar with existing designs of the time. It looks not at all like a Murphy or Leonard(which was the museum's guess when they booked it into the archives). That leaves who else as a potential maker? It's not a lengthy list and the one name I keep going back to is CE Wheeler, who had been making rods for 4 years as of 1872, or 3 if the rod was purchased the year before. Could it have been from the original lot Wheeler made for Bradford & Anthony in 1868? It could have. That's my best guess so far, though still only a guess.
The full metal reel seat is faintly stamped with a name and I have established that a listed American artist of that last name did a trip or two into New England but that's as far as I've gotten with it. The curator pulled the rod out of a sealed exhibit for me and I was allowed hands-on access while they took 72 detail photos and gave them to me on a DVD. It goes without saying that I have nothing but raves about the cooperation I've received from the staff at that museum.
The search for definitive provenance continues......

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2dabacking
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Re: A CE Wheeler found in the Adirondacks long ago.

#20

Post by 2dabacking »

jeffkn1 wrote:The search for definitive provenance continues......
Oh, that hurdle. It is good to know the Museum has such accommodating and generous staff. Good luck with the continued research.

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