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PostPosted: 04/10/20 16:28 • # 1 
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Guide

Joined: 11/18/19
Posts: 148
Location: West By God Virginia
Here is a ca.1900 Orvis fly rod (serial #396x) with bag and wooden tube I was lucky to acquire through this site. It is 10’ with hanging ring guides and early red thread.

I am not sure what the “x” in the serial number means, but the rod has two odd features. First, not only was the serial number on all 4 wood sections (butt, mid and two tips) but was also written under the reel seat which I removed, as shown below. The serial number is not stamped on the German silver adjustable butt ring like the other two c.1895 rods we recently discussed (#147 and #210).

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The second odd thing about #396x is that mid section came with a German silver “trumpet” guide to insert in to the end of the mid section ferrule, which in turn lets you make it into a fishable 7’ rod. See photos below.



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Finally, the Orvis painted wooden tube has the screw on top.



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Mike N.
Honorary Life Member, ORCA
Member, NFLCC & FATC
Vintage Orvis collector


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PostPosted: 04/10/20 18:54 • # 2 
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Master Guide

Joined: 01/22/17
Posts: 992
Location: Utah
Mike, I enjoy your postings about these old Orvis rods. The trumpet guide is interesting. I wonder if that was to be used when trolling?

Cheers,
Joe


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PostPosted: 04/10/20 19:03 • # 3 
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Bamboo Fanatic

Joined: 06/10/08
Posts: 1555
"X" designates a "2nd Quality" rod. "2nd Quality" is not fully defined yet, it appears to be the quality of the rod sections rather than hardware or finish. There is a record of a repair to a 2nd quality rod that CFO broke in 1898.

Mike, a picture of the handle and signature wrap would be helpful. Typically the 2nd quality rods did not have the 4 3 2 1 signature wraps.

The red thread is actually an orange silk with a shellac and varnish finish. The first rods from Manchester (1870) had black silk thread wraps, I've not determined the actual start date of the Orange thread, but it was used at least until CFO died in 1915.

Was this the rod on ebay Feb 2020?

This is my opinion: The trumpet guide would have been a user add on to be used for a boat/trolling rod, as a trolling rod it would have worked until a fish was hooked, and then the lack of tip action would have been a disaster. No where in the CFO documents have I seen that configuration. CFO made two different combination rods to address the multiple configuration requirements.

Rod tube with the screw cap lid would be appropriate for this rod as it was made after 1898. Take the screws out of the screw cap lid, pull the cap and see if you can read the patent. This appears to be a later screw cap, the early ones have three captured screws around the edge. Do you have a picture of the bag?


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PostPosted: 04/10/20 20:38 • # 4 
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Guide

Joined: 11/18/19
Posts: 148
Location: West By God Virginia
Royce,

Thanks as always for the input and questions.

I did take apart the cap to the tube as you suggested. The patent date is July 24, 1883:



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Here are a few photos of the bag you requested:


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And here are several photos of the thread wraps on all 4 pieces:


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Finally, regarding its origin, this rod, bag and tube were purchased by me last week from a gentleman collector in New Jersey. It arrived at my home today. It is my understanding it had been a part of the seller’s collection for quite some time.

A few people have asked me (including one of my sons) why I share all this information and photos about my antique Orvis rods on a public forum, given the normally secretive nature of collectors. Although I am relatively new to classic bamboo fly rod collecting, I have been collecting the best vintage reels for over 30 years. I founded the largest antique reel collectors club in the world based on one premise: let’s all share our knowledge of antique tackle to preserve these wonderful sporting heirlooms for future generations and grow our hobby.

I greatly appreciate all the info and comments that collectors, especially Royce, have added to my several threads on vintage Orvis reels, rods, flies and old letterhead and ephemera. There will be more to come.

Mike N.

Mike N.
Honorary Life Member, ORCA
Member, NFLCC & FATC
Vintage Orvis collector


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Last edited by Mike N on 04/11/20 00:18, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: 04/10/20 23:58 • # 5 
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Guide

Joined: 11/18/19
Posts: 148
Location: West By God Virginia
With a little help from a friend on ORCA’s Reel Talk, it appears the July 24, 1883 patent on the Orvis rod tube cap refers to this patent by one J. Davis for a “bottle case.” (Patent No. 281,845).

(Click on image to enlarge)
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Mike N.
Honorary Life Member, ORCA
Member, NFLCC & FATC
Vintage Orvis collector


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PostPosted: 04/11/20 06:39 • # 6 
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Sport

Joined: 09/28/12
Posts: 72
Location: Frostproof, FL
Thanks for posting the photos Mike. They are very interesting.

Ron Gast
https://luresnreels.com


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PostPosted: 04/11/20 10:28 • # 7 
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Bamboo Fanatic

Joined: 06/10/08
Posts: 1555
Thanks for the extra images

X396 - Model 9 11' Cork grip, "2nd quality" Date of build is sometime after 1898
Based on Mike's images, it appears the sticks have a number of glue lines, perhaps part of the determination of the "2nd quality". Now I want to go back through the data and try to sort out by handwriting if it's determinable who made more or less of the "2nd quality" rods.

A couple of notes about the "2nd quality" rods:
1. All "X" rods are designated as "2nd quality" rods
2. But not all "2nd quality" rods had the "X" designation. For example there is model 9 1/2, with a sumac grip, marked "396" and designate "2nd quality" without the "X"
3. To date I'm not aware of an identified "2nd quality" rod with the "4 3 2 1" signature wrap with or without an "X"

As for the screw cap tubes.
Yes, so whomever at CFO, found a solution to the less than ideal flip top and purchased patented parts to make the screw top lid. Typically Charles, made no marketing effort on behalf of someone else's patent. The patented nason net discussed in another thread is a perfect example.


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PostPosted: 04/11/20 11:33 • # 8 
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Bamboo Fanatic

Joined: 06/10/08
Posts: 1555
Quote:
A few people have asked me (including one of my sons) why I share all this information and photos about my antique Orvis rods on a public forum, given the normally secretive nature of collectors. Although I am relatively new to classic bamboo fly rod collecting, I have been collecting the best vintage reels for over 30 years. I founded the largest antique reel collectors club in the world based on one premise: let’s all share our knowledge of antique tackle to preserve these wonderful sporting heirlooms for future generations and grow our hobby.

Kudos, but ...
Let's respect and not forget:
1. The people who made a living of collecting, selling, and promoting, they had an investment in their knowledge that has been devalued in the digital age. This current generation (me included) has it pretty easy, research today is pretty inexpensive in comparison to 30 plus years ago.

2. Those who spent their money to travel, to find items, to dig up information. They published for a sum, so they could do it all over again.

3. The historians (paid and unpaid) whose shoulders we stand on to create our little collections

An excellent collector, researcher, author and historian (who doesn't post here) said yesterday. "Collecting is a journey". It's not about buying or acquiring everything, its about the search, the research, and more importantly the people alive and not, that you meet in the effort.

Quote:
“Nothing is free. Everything has to be paid for. For every profit in one thing, payment in some other thing. For every life, a death. Even your music, of which we have heard so much, that had to be paid for. Your wife was the payment for your music. Hell is now satisfied.” ― Ted Hughes, The Tiger's Bones


Free is not a "very good price"


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PostPosted: 04/11/20 19:09 • # 9 
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Guide

Joined: 11/18/19
Posts: 148
Location: West By God Virginia
Royce, I totally agree that we need to respect the efforts of our early fly rod historians like the late, great A.J. Campbell.

That’s why I’m particularly pleased A.J. personally thanked me in 1997 in the “Acknowledgements” of his seminal work, Classic and Antique Fly-Fishing Tackle, for my loan to him (for “free”) of “...primary sources on Charles Orvis.”

Thanks,

Mike N.

Mike N.
Honorary Life Member, ORCA
Member, NFLCC & FATC
Vintage Orvis collector


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PostPosted: 05/22/20 00:41 • # 10 
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Guide

Joined: 11/18/19
Posts: 148
Location: West By God Virginia
I just noticed in the Orvis catalog No. 22, circa. 1900, that the wooden tube pictured above is advertised as being painted the “color of russet leather.” Russet is a brown color with orange tones.


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Mike N.
Honorary Life Member, ORCA
Member, NFLCC & FATC
Vintage Orvis collector


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PostPosted: 05/22/20 14:54 • # 11 
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Joined: 06/10/08
Posts: 1555
"color of russet leather" From a leather works site: "Russet, also known as Natural or Blond, is the natural colour of leather as it leaves the tannery and before any dyes are applied. It is vegetable tanned leather in its most natural state of colour." So it's not so much our definition of russet as a color but the color of natural tanned leather.

The hardware store that carried the varnishes and paints in Manchester at the time was right across the street from CFO fish rod manufacturing, I can imagine the paint was mixed there, leather was used in abundance at the time, so I can imagine if you said color of russet leather, everyone would know what it was.

There is quite a variance in the brown/tan color of the tubes, which could be fading or just a change of color mix over time. They would have hand mixed the paint color and would have depended on the mixer's eye to get a close match.


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PostPosted: 05/22/20 18:43 • # 12 
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Master Guide

Joined: 11/30/05
Posts: 751
Royce, sometimes you crack me up, so straight, and then your little jokes.

"Free is a very good price" is from a heavily advertised Portland furniture dealer ads.

When this "event" is over, I'm looking forward to breakfast again. Always a pleasure. Maybe some of you'all would like to come along to Oregon City.


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PostPosted: 05/22/20 23:30 • # 13 
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Guide

Joined: 11/18/19
Posts: 148
Location: West By God Virginia
roycestearns wrote:
***
There is quite a variance in the brown/tan color of the tubes, which could be fading or just a change of color mix over time. They would have hand mixed the paint color and would have depended on the mixer's eye to get a close match.


Yes, there was a great variance in the russet color...here are 4 antique Orvis rod tubes all of the same period, yet each a slightly different color.
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Mike N.
Honorary Life Member, ORCA
Member, NFLCC & FATC
Vintage Orvis collector


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PostPosted: 05/24/20 13:18 • # 14 
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Mike, the first picture you posted, from langs auction?, is either unpainted or stripped, I have one of those and I believe it was stripped as there appears to be some remnants of paint around the hardware. The CFO shop painted everything on the tube, butt, mid tin strip and top strip and sometimes half the cap hinge (if it was the earlier hinge).

Variation of color - hand mix and match over time or faded?

The first case, square tapered with a flip top lid, has anyone seen one that was painted?


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