A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery rod

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jeffkn1
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Re: A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery

#21

Post by jeffkn1 »

Here are the aforementioned crow's feet on the pocket of the Goodhue, and crow's feet on the pocket of an unmarked, but highly embellished Wheeler. I have no idea who dressed the Wheeler up but I got the feeling it might have been a gunsmith.
ImageImage

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Seabowisha Salmo T
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Re: A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery

#22

Post by Seabowisha Salmo T »

the "crow feet" are reminiscent of those found on some ivory handled colt paterson holster pistols, among others. i surmise that "crow feet" were/are fairly common among engravers, especially firearms embellishers.

regards, jim w

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cwfly
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Re: A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery

#23

Post by cwfly »

Correction.
Up above I erroneously wrote that my Leonard "Sole Agents" rod with rattan grip and hanging rings did not have a soldered hood.
I just looked at it again.
It does have a soldered hood albeit in a somewhat different shape - wider and sculpted toward the sides - and it has no crows' feet - unlike my eyes.

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Flyman615
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Re: A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery

#24

Post by Flyman615 »

jeffkn1 wrote:Dave's family was from Mass, but his father moved the family to South Dakota. His grandfather "never forgave my dad for dragging her away from them to such a "barren Indian infested despicable place" such as South Dakota. But after his first trip out here and all the huge fish they caught he then thought this place was okay.
Actually, PC aside, it indeed is an "Okay" place. Just ask our own BlackHillsBill. And I can vouch for it too.

Nice thread otherwise.

Scott

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cwfly
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Re: A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery

#25

Post by cwfly »

But Scott,
What was it like when they moved there?
I've read the tales of Uncle BlackhillsPaul.

jeffkn1
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Re: A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery

#26

Post by jeffkn1 »

Dave, the owner of the Goodhue rod has offered to let it come East for a visit and to get something done about the taped-on guides. Another angle we'll look at will be the proximity of Dave's grandfather and the family of Frank Philbrook in Massachusetts. They had some things in common.

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Re: A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery rod

#27

Post by jeffkn1 »

Two nights ago I received an email from Dave, asking whether I'd come up with anything new on Philbrook & Paine. This was my response which included part of my theory of activities on Bangor's Broad Street in the 1870's.

Hi Dave

Nice to hear from you. Hope you've all made it through the recent inconveniences unscathed.
I have gathered up all the Goodhue documentation with the intention of mailing it to you on a disc, but have decided it needs to go on a thumb drive instead. That hadn't occurred to me until I bought a new laptop and found that disc drives aren't standard anymore.
Some time back I came across an item in the Bangor Board of Trade Journal about "Philbrook & Paine". The late AJ Campbell was working on the manuscript for his next book, one that explored the relationships between Thomas, Edwards, and Payne, so I forwarded the article to him. The basic thrust of the 1878 article was that P&P had worked for Leonard since 1873, but the manner in which they worked for Leonard was unclear. When we consider that the Maine Register stated that one (both?) of them made fishing rods we get the impression that they were rod makers in the usual sense, i.e. they produced a finished product for use by consumers. Your Philbrook & Paine rod would seem to indicate that they were rod makers but the absence of any other examples leaves us with a debate regarding whether they assembled rods or not, in effect saying one rod does not make someone a rod maker in the usual sense. We go back & forth on the definition of a rod maker all the time at the rod forum. What I believe, as do many others, is that if you can't verify all the normal related activities necessary to run a business then you are essentially a contractor in support of a business, or you're a hobbyist, a guy who likes to make a fishing rod now and then. Yes, they had at least one customer, Leonard, and what they provided that customer was at the least metal components. Did they fit those components to Leonard's blanks as part of the deal? Possibly, they did. In that case, they might refer to themselves as rod makers when the guys from the local directory came around and asked.
Several considerations raise questions about that. I don't question that P&P made your rod. What consultation with other collectors raises is the problem of verifying that P&P could be called rod makers based on the existence of one example. We would normally expect to find others yet no one has ever seen any rods marked like yours. We can't disregard that they went to the time and the expense of having roll stamps made and, if the "Patent App'd For" was true, the expense of applying for patent protection. To the average person, it appears that P&P were more than machinists. That they were about to start up a rod business if they weren't already in it.

Similar example

A NY tackle salesman named Osgood had a rod made up with his name engraved on it as "Osgood & Osgood". The rod is in the possession of a good friend of mine. It's a lone example. There was never a company by that name. Friend Charlie Fleischmann put it best when he said, "Osgood “supervised” the production of the Kosmic rod. After USN&T he worked at A&F. The other Osgood was likely his brother in Pittsfield, NH. I opined in the article that the rod was made by Ed Payne. As you know, others hold the view it was Fred Thomas." The link to the article he wrote is here:

http://www.amff.org/wp-content/uploads/ ... No1web.pdf

Osgood was not known to be a machinist or a rod maker to any degree. We have fishing reports about Osgood as published in the weekly Forest & Stream but no claims that he was ever a manufacturer of fishing rods. He had worked for US Net & Twine, who owned the rights to the Kosmic line of rods and tackle, but only in a sales capacity. Did the Kosmic boys, Thomas, Edwards, & Payne, make that rod for Osgood. Charlie thinks Payne, and I lean in that direction also. But there has been no documentation of anything beyond that in any way.
In that regard, it's similar to your P&P rod. We can't find the pieces that confirm the existence of a rod company in the normal sense.

Another example

Henry A. Merrill's family owned a slate quarry in Brownville, Maine, and he worked selling roofing slate out of an office on Broad Street, in Bangor. The existence of rods stamped HA Merrill is well known to collectors, as there are a handful of examples. I have one, the rod seen in Jeff Hattan's book, Rod Crafting. Two collector friends of mine also have Merrill fly rods and we have heard of at least one other example, all of them with the same distinctive ferrules. Those ferrules will also be found on your P&P rod. AJ Campbell wrote of Merrill as being a rod maker with distinctive ferrules. That was only half right since we cannot prove he was a rod maker in the usual sense. The Bangor Whig & Courier covered the news of local businesses closely, and you'll see the names Henry Merrill, Hiram Leonard, and Evan Gerrish pop up in the 1870's. The last two were connected with the manufacture of fishing rods, the first was not. There was reference to Merrill slate on the docks of the Penobscot, ready to ship to one place or another, but never a mention of Merrill with fishing rods. I think the reason is that Henry Merrill was an angler and hobbyist rod maker. He had a stamp made up to mark his rods and he bought the components to assemble them. Where were the parts coming from, you might ask?

Mr. Merrill's neighborhood

The lower end of Broad Street, in Bangor, is essentially today the same as it was in the 1870's, a mix of tall-ish buildings with apartments and businesses at the street level and first floor or two. One of those was E.H. Gerrish, guide/canoe maker/rod maker. All of those are documented in the papers and elsewhere. As a collector of Maine fly rods, I have always salivated at the thought of coming across one of Ev Gerrish's rods, a series called Kineo according to the Whig & Courier. (For those unfamiliar with the name, it's a mountain on the shore of Moosehead Lake. Bangor was a gateway to Moosehead.) No one has ever seen one, at least no one has reported ever seeing a marked Gerrish rod. I think I have seen a Gerrish, though. Actually, several and they all have "Merrill ferrules". Ev Gerrish is believed to have learned how to make split bamboo rods from Hiram Leonard, for whom he had worked at the Sebec hatchery. His rods were mentioned in the Whig & Courier. I've seen three rods, all with the unique ferrules and with winding checks and reel seats from P&P, yet with no stampings or markings of any kind. Where did he get his hardware? Merrill? Nope. Roll your eyes back.

Stairway to answers

Above Gerrish, same building, was the place of two machinists. That's right, P&P. And who was next door to Gerrish? The slate dealer, Henry Merrill. It's still a theory, but here's what I think about the relationship of these three neighboring businesses. In summary:

1) I don't think Frank Philbrook and Ed Payne were makers of fishing rods, per se. They might have done some assembly for Leonard but I don't think that the one example of yours indicates they were in that specific business.
2) I don't believe Merrill was a maker of rods, but a hobbyist. I don't think he sold them. I can't see that the office of a slate dealer was a bustling place to pass the time, so fiddling with a rod blank and hardware would have been feasible.
3) Gerrish assembled rods using blanks he may have made right in his shop, to which he added hardware from P&P. He furnished blanks to Merrill, and to P&P should they have need for them. The assorted machinery required to make split bamboo shafts would have been superfluous in the P&P shop when they specialized in making hardware for Leonard.

They were all neighbors in adjoining buildings, each having different needs and bringing different things to the table.

There's lots more to learn about Philbrook & Paine and I set the information aside when I come across it. At one time I had the phone number for Francis Philbrook's granddaughter(great granddaughter?). Hoagy had given it to me in case I had time to pay her a visit and sift through all the old family correspondence that was boxed up in her attic. She wasn't certain there was any that related to the Bangor years, much of it having been mailed from South America, but she was willing to let someone look. Sorry to say I haven't been able to follow through on that.
I'll keep you posted on new developments.

Regards
Jeff
Last edited by jeffkn1 on 05/17/22 08:39, edited 1 time in total.

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cwfly
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Re: A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery rod

#28

Post by cwfly »

Jeff,
That is a very impressive and comprehensive summary of the early rod making in Bangor, Maine. It's a shame that photo bucket killed the P&P photos, but I remember them and I am grateful for you taking the time to write all this up and post it here. Thanks.
Charlie
"History has a beloved cousin who has the family eyes and nose
but is a rather different creature - myth." Ken Cameron,
The American Fly Fisher, v. 28, n. 1, Winter, 2002, (AMFF, Manchester, Vt., 2002).

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Re: A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery rod

#29

Post by Woodlakejag »

Great post, thanks for sharing
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Re: A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery rod

#30

Post by jeffkn1 »

Thanks for the attaboys.
The new posts are really tangentially related to the original post, largely because the patent-applied-for P&P rod sits on the same rod rack out in South Dakota. It doesn't further the Goodhue story but it's place in my admittedly simplified explanation for those unusual ferrules is pretty important. I have been unable to locate another rod with the P&P rollstamp.
I'm going to round up photos from known rods with the same hardware and start another thread to deal with them.

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Re: A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery rod

#31

Post by 3creeks »

As I said in another post I'm going to head up to Bangor for a night before I go home from my work trip here in Maine. I don't know why except for the fact that I've read Casting a Spell 3 times and I'm fascinated by the history of the Leonard Rod Company and all things bamboo. I suspect that it's not going to do much of anything to further my interests but the thought of being in Bangor where it all began, even for a night, sounds like a good way to spend a few hours. This is a very enjoyable post by the way. Sorry for the hijack. 🙂

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Re: A tale of Bangor umbrellas,Dakota Indians, and a mystery rod

#32

Post by headwaters »

You might to consider checking out the F. E. Thomas website and contact Steve Campbell to see if you can connect with him in Brewer (just across the river from Bangor) while you're there!

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