Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

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Mike N
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Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by Mike N »

I thought I would share these with our ORCA fly reel collectors. I've had these two letters for about 25 years and just got them framed in two-sided museum glass today. They were both written by Charles Orvis in 1908.

The historical significance of the first letter is where Mr. Orvis describes the obscure rodmaker Charles F. Murphy as a "good-hearted fellow that 'crooked his elbow' [i.e., drank] quite too much- he was a good mechanic," and made split bamboo rods "for the trade." A.J. Campbell used the letter as a primary source is his seminal book.

In the second letter, Mr. Orvis writes: "I am getting old (76) yet I have not lost my love for fly fishing in the least."





Last edited by Mike N on Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by wrong99 »

Incredible treasures! Thank you, Mike.
Mark
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Re: Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by scottorock »

Wow! I don't collect fly reels but that doesn't matter....super cool! Awesome framing to boot!
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Midway Tommy D
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Re: Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by Midway Tommy D »

Oh my, Mike, those are absolutely awesome Orvis mementos! :cool
Love those Open Face Spinning Reels! (Especially ABU & ABU/Zebco)

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Re: Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by Richard Lodge »

Very nice, Mike. Thanks for sharing these. Wonderful pieces of history!
Richard
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Re: Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by reeltackle »

Great stuff Mike! Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by john elder »

Some real serious history there, Mike! It is rare that we get such a personal look into the early rodmakers...thanks for posting!
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Re: Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by Paul M »

Mike:
Thanks for sharing and preserving this special artifact.
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Re: Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by reelsmith. »

Fantastic !

Thanks for sharing.

Dean.
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Mike N
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Re: Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by Mike N »

Update—with the help of Royce and Jay on the Classic Fly Rod Forum, these two letters have been clearly pictured and deciphered and A.J. Campbell’s reference has been memorialized.

Link:

http://classicflyrodforum.com/forum/vie ... 0&t=126241

Mike N.
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Re: Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by roycestearns »

Here are Mike's images and deciphered text

Jan 16, 1908
Mr Harry C Buckley
My Dear Sir
I have yours
of the 15th and have the 2 rods
for repairs which we will make.
I send under separate
cover my #25 catalogue
in which you will find prices
for all things and on page
5 those for repairing such
&c.
I am very glad the rod pleased
you for aside from -

business wisdom of it I like
to please those who favor
me with their commands
for I know the pleasure
of handling tackle that is
right and although I am
getting old (76) yet
I have not lost my love
for fly fishing in the least
awaiting your pleasure
I am yours truly
Charles F Orvis

Mr Harry C Buckley
Dear Sir
I have
your letter and the rods - have
examined them.
It will cost you
$5.50 to repair and put in order
the whole lot. in this will
be one new Second joint
for the rod that has but one
second joint this second
joint can be repaired - so it
will be fairly good if this

is done the bill will be
2.50 less-
Awaiting your instructions
I am yours truly
C.F. Orvis
P.S.
This price includes .85c
I paid the Express Co on the
box-
These rod bring to my
mind many men long dead
that I knew and many
pleasant memories - and
so(me) that perhaps are not so
awful pleasant.
I knew Murphy the maker
of these rods. He was a good
hearted fellow but "crooked
his elbow." quite too much.
he was a good mechanic
he was the first man that made
split bamboos for the trade but
made only a few he only made what
(up the side)
he could make - himself would not have help.

AJ Cambell's book and text with AJ's original photo used on the page:

Last edited by roycestearns on Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reeltyme

Re: Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by Reeltyme »

Mike, Truly amazing letters. I am not into fly fishing, but I really appreciate the time and effort you put into preserving these important letters. Thank you so much for doing this. Maybe our fishing heritage will be remembered after all!
Randy McConnell
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Mike N
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Re: Two 1908 letters written by Charles Orvis

Post by Mike N »

Antique tackle collecting needs to continue to its take its cue from open source software developers, i.e.,software products where the source code is under an open-source license to freely study, change, and improve its design.

None of us really “own” these letters and catalogs; we are just temporary custodians. If we share these old letters and catalogs and documents it’s amazing what others can add in the way of interpretation and research. The above discussion is a good example.

Our ORCA library is a great start, but i was surprised that we had only one really early Orvis catalog (No. 26, 1909). I was researching the exact year the original Orvis walnut box was replaced with cardboard in the catalog but did not have the resources available to pinpoint it. I hope those of us lucky enough to own early original catalogs (of any reel maker or retailer) that are out of copyright will donate a copy to ORCA. If anything, that only increases interest in your original by encouraging scholarship.

Royce told me that one of the reasons he felt it necessary to repost the photos and interpretation above on our site is that ORCA permanently hosts its own photos that won’t “disappear” at the whim of a third-party. That makes our website unique and worthy of everyone’s support as tackle historians and collectors.

Mike N.
Mike N.
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