Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Someplace just to show that reel collectors do have a life
Post Reply
User avatar
Steve
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3721
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2003 6:11 am
Contact:

Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by Steve »

The judges remarked on the rods of W.W. Messer & Co. exhibited at the second fair of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, held in Boston in 1839. Their comments, readable here, provide a little insight on the state of U.S. rodmaking at the time.

Steve Vernon
ORCA Honorary member

Book: ANTIQUE FISHING REELS, 2nd Ed.
Websites:
Antique Fishing Reels
Kopf reels
Hendrick reels

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."
User avatar
RonG
ORCA President
Posts: 1270
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 8:49 pm
Location: Frostproof, FL
Contact:

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by RonG »

:D
Last edited by RonG on Sat Aug 06, 2022 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Steve
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3721
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2003 6:11 am
Contact:

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by Steve »

I think it would really be cool to be able to say you have a rod made out of sassafras.
What's stopping you from making one? :idea:

Steve Vernon
ORCA Honorary member

Book: ANTIQUE FISHING REELS, 2nd Ed.
Websites:
Antique Fishing Reels
Kopf reels
Hendrick reels

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."
User avatar
RonG
ORCA President
Posts: 1270
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 8:49 pm
Location: Frostproof, FL
Contact:

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by RonG »

:D
Last edited by RonG on Sat Aug 06, 2022 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Midway Tommy D
Star Board Poster
Posts: 2898
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:23 pm
Location: Eastern NE

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by Midway Tommy D »

It appears the "Committee" was an "America First" advocate. :mrgreen: :bow:
Love those Open Face Spinning Reels! (Especially ABU & ABU/Zebco)

Tom DeLong, NE
ORCA Member - 2022
User avatar
Steve
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3721
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2003 6:11 am
Contact:

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by Steve »

Skill set?

Steve Vernon
ORCA Honorary member

Book: ANTIQUE FISHING REELS, 2nd Ed.
Websites:
Antique Fishing Reels
Kopf reels
Hendrick reels

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."
User avatar
Mike N
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3379
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 1:50 pm
Location: WV

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by Mike N »

RonG wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 1:15 pm I think it would really be cool to be able to say you have a rod made out of sassafras.
Ron, according to this 1915 article, at least one of Daniel Webster’s rods was built from sassafras, by his guide “Trout” Dennison.


Mike N.
ORCA Founder, 1990
User avatar
RonG
ORCA President
Posts: 1270
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 8:49 pm
Location: Frostproof, FL
Contact:

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by RonG »

Hey Mike, that's interesting. Thanks for showing that.
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 517
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by Paul Roberts »

Interesting, and fun, reads.

Lots of sassafras here. But I’m not likely to step much further back than fiberglass. Not much has changed I guess, in that I had to import my S-Glass from New Zealand.
ORCA 2020, 2021
User avatar
Steve
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3721
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2003 6:11 am
Contact:

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by Steve »

"...the seasoned [sassafras] wood combines lightness and toughness in a higher degree, than almost any other wood, and is therefore preferred for the purpose of making the smaller joints of fishing-rods."
A Report on the Trees and Shrubs Growing Naturally in the Forests of Massachusetts. Boston: Dutton & Wentworth, 1846, pg. 321

"The wood of sassafras is light and tough.The long limbs are cut and stripped by country boys going fishing, who know what trees yield the best fishing rods."
Julia E. Rogers, Trees That Every Child Should Know. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1909, pg. 200

For those who want to develop the skill set required for rodmaking, here's some advice from 1869.

Steve Vernon
ORCA Honorary member

Book: ANTIQUE FISHING REELS, 2nd Ed.
Websites:
Antique Fishing Reels
Kopf reels
Hendrick reels

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 517
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by Paul Roberts »

Interesting. Hmmmm... Another facet to my hobby?
ORCA 2020, 2021
User avatar
Steve
Star Board Poster
Posts: 3721
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2003 6:11 am
Contact:

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by Steve »

I think it would really be cool to be able to say you have a rod made out of sassafras.
What's stopping you from making one?
At least one person took the hint:

Steve Vernon
ORCA Honorary member

Book: ANTIQUE FISHING REELS, 2nd Ed.
Websites:
Antique Fishing Reels
Kopf reels
Hendrick reels

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."
User avatar
john elder
Star Board Poster
Posts: 8296
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 2:44 pm

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by john elder »

We used to chew on a sassafras stick while fishing and i tried once to make sassafras tea… can’t say it was worth a second try :D
ORCA member since 1999
Honorary Life Member

Specializing in saltwater reels...and fly reels...and oh, yeah, kentucky style reels.....and those tiny little RP reels.....oh, heck...i collect fishing reels!...and fly rods....and lures
Paul Roberts
Super Board Poster
Posts: 517
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:35 pm

Re: Some views from 1839 on U.S. rodmaking

Post by Paul Roberts »

Sassafras, for soda or tea, was banned due to a carcinogenic component. I recently looked this up thinking I might try some sassafras tea. Maybe not.

But a sassafras fishing rod, just for fun? Perhaps. I did make some fly rods from goldenrod. They were quite nice to cast with, but of course lacked hoop strength. I have made a number of selfbows from hickory, ash, and juniper. Enjoyed that quite a bit.
ORCA 2020, 2021
Post Reply