Please Help Identify Maker and Vintage of this Wire Wrapped Road

This is the board to ask about the identity, or for an appraisal, of a rod. Please use the outline as explained on the board. If there is a makers name, list that in the subject line. Make sure you include the length, number of sections, any identifying markings and the general condition. Adding photographs is always helpful!

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Mahseer
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Please Help Identify Maker and Vintage of this Wire Wrapped Road

#1

Post by Mahseer »

One of the pleasures of my current base in Wales was finding a neighbour who is a collector of classic tackle. These days he concentrates on reels and lures but still has a few interesting rods. One is this wire wrapped specimen.

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I have never seen one before, and my search of the Forum revealed only one reference to the wire wrapped rods that were produced by Foster Brothers of Ashbourne for a number of years in the late 19th and early 20th century, see viewtopic.php?f=69&t=68644

I found a picture of one of these on https://www.traditionalfisherman.com/vi ... hp?t=29669 but while the wrapping design is the same, the wire is different and, to me, it doesn’t look like my neighbour’s rod came from the same maker - but maybe it did.

Total length is 9’ 7.5”. The butt and middle are of equal length and the tip is exactly 1” shorter – not unusual on British rods, and it does not appear to be repaired or rewrapped. It weighs 9.25 oz, suggesting it has a steel core. There is nothing written on the rod or the bag, which appears to be original.

It has intermediate wraps the whole length of the rod, and over that is the intricate flat white metal wire wrap. Something to behold!
It has agate lined bridge rings (= guides) throughout. Overall the condition is pretty good. The stripping guide is off but present and needs rewhipping, and the ring of the guide has come off the bridge of the top guide on the middle section and needs soldering back.

The reel seat looks like it might be a replacement, as does the butt cap. The butt cap has a makers or vendors name: G. Shakespeare, Wolverhampton (which I couldn’t capture in the photographs). I can’t find any reference to a maker or dealer of that name, though there are people with the family name Shakespeare in that area.

Thanks and look forward to your diagnosis!

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Gnome
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Re: Please Help Identify Maker and Vintage of this Wire Wrapped Road

#2

Post by Gnome »

Foster Brothers, Ashbourne circa 1890-1930' approximately date wise, rod probably is steel cored as well and is a later example of the worlds clubbiest fly rod 1910's through the twenties most likely. And this is an example of the rod that A.J.Campbell sent us collectors on a quest to find in his book "Classic & Antique Fly fishing Tackle"

cheers from da cave

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Mahseer
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Re: Please Help Identify Maker and Vintage of this Wire Wrapped Road

#3

Post by Mahseer »

Many thanks Jeff. I'll take that as definitive.

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Mahseer
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Re: Please Help Identify Maker and Vintage of this Wire Wrapped Road

#4

Post by Mahseer »

Well maybe not... Further research in his catalogue collection by one of my classic tackle enthusiast neighbours reveals that Fosters were prepared to consider Diamond Ribbing (sounds much classier than wire wrapping) any rod, for only 15 shillings for a single tip rod under 12' back in the day. There's no date on this catalogue but the mention of scarcity of tackle, shortages of labour and materials, and the restrictions of government controls, indicates that is from the years just after World War 2.

Assuming 1948 as a reasonable date, that 15 shillings is the equivalent of just £27.45 ($35.68) today.

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I imagine we would all be delighted to see the return of a 24 hour rod repair turnaround!

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Gnome
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Re: Please Help Identify Maker and Vintage of this Wire Wrapped Road

#5

Post by Gnome »

still say it was Fosters who wrapped the wire for sure!!!

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Mahseer
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Re: Please Help Identify Maker and Vintage of this Wire Wrapped Road

#6

Post by Mahseer »

Agreed! But I doubt if we’ll ever know for sure who actually made the rod. I’ll post a couple more pages of that catalogue over the weekend, including their listing for Diamond Ribbed whole cane fly rods. The mind boggles.

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Mahseer
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Re: Please Help Identify Maker and Vintage of this Wire Wrapped Road

#7

Post by Mahseer »

Here's the cover of that undated catalogue, and the pages offering a selection of "Diamond Ribbed" rods. Anyone ever cast a whole cane fly rod?
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