Known as America’s largest production rod companies for many years, Horrocks-Ibbotson was one of the companies that was competing head to head with Montague and South Bend. Horrocks and Ibbotson became known as the World’s Largest Manufacturer of Fishing Tackle. It traces its history from its beginnings as the George A. Clark & Co. in 1880, to the renaming of Clark-Horrocks Co. in 1891, to Horrocks & Ibbotson in 1909.

The companies history traces back to 1812 but did not become involved with fishing tackle until 1863 when an English immigrant named James Horrocks was hired as a clerk. In 1894, Edward Ibbotson was hired as an errand boy. Gradually the company acquired existing tackle companies. In 1905 the company built a new factory in Utica, New York and continued to grow until it was known throughout the world. The firm was incorporated in 1909 as the Horrocks-Ibbotson Co.

The rods made by Horrocks-Ibbotson up to 1935 filled every need for the consumer. The higher grade rods such as the President and the Chancellor featured nickel silver fittings and were as good as any of the rods being produced by their competition. At the other end of the spectrum were the cheapest production rods. Horrocks-Ibbotson made hundreds of different models throughout the years, and many had such minor differences in fittings and wraps that they were indistinguishable without direct comparison.

Decals are useful for dating Horrocks-Ibbotson rods. The diamond with the UTK logo dates from 1905 until World War I. This logo is usually stamped into the reel seat, but also appears as a decal. The Trout logo decal was then used until 1929. It is rarely seen and is the most beautiful of the H-I decals. Next to appear was an elongated Double Diamond with Utica, NY inside and was used until 1933. In 1934, a double-diamond logo including the banner reading Best by Test was introduced and was used until 1939. Next came the fanciest of all Horrocks-Ibbotson decals featuring a bright red H-I on a white diamond and accompanied by two banners reading Fish Rod and Genuine Tonkin Cane. The decal of the early 1950′s was rectangular with a small gold foil diamond logo. The final decal was a simple red diamond with a large white H-I.

When trying to identify a rod that has no decal, the writing of the model name is helpful. H-I used white ink, and usually wrote with the words running toward the grip. The only other maker that used white ink was Edwards, who usually wrote with the words reading away from the grip. The reel seats did not change much; the spacers were usually solid color plastic before World War II, and marbleized plastic after the war.

As with all rods, the most recent Horrocks-Ibbotson products are the most commonly seen. However there are still some rods out there that are worth looking for.

Gilligan’s Island Pinball Machine

If you’ve ever played the Gilligan’s Island pinball machine, then, no doubt, you are probably well familiar with the phrase, “Nice coconuts!”

The Gilligan’s Island pinball machine was manufactured by Midway (under the name of Bally) in 1991. This is fun machine to play. Approx. 4,100 of these were ever made.

This game was the first to feature a dot matrix display (DMD). It was inset and featured on the backboard glass.

The object of the game was to appease the island god Kona by creating the Professor’s secret formula to make lava seltzer then pouring it in the island’s volcano. The recipe called for varying amounts of ingredients like pineapples, shells, rope, turtle eggs, shrunken head, bananas and coconuts. The ingredients are collected by shooting at various targets within the game. Once the recipe is made, aim for the ramp to shoot the spinning volcano island (which also changes the path of the ball).

Members of The Internet Pinball Machine Database (IPDB) gives the Gilligan’s Island pinball machine a “fun factor” rating of 6.8 out of 10 stars.

The game has cool artwork that tells the story of the castaways that offers nice nostalgia for the Gilligan’s Island television series. That makes the Gilligan’s Island pinball machine an eye-catching piece to add excitement to most any game room.

South Bend

You will notice Wesley D. Jordan’s name associated with a few companies that produced Bamboo fishing rods. He deserves a place in history as one of the truly inventive bamboo rod makers who had a major influence on the bamboo fly rods that we know of today. Jordan was involved with producing bamboo rods for more than 50 years, first with the Cross Rod Co. of Lynn, Massachusetts, then with South Bend in Indiana and finally with Orvis in Manchester, Vermont.

Wes Jordan was on a fishing trip in Maine with his friend William Forsyth. Mr. Forsyth broke his fly rod and talked Wes into making him a new one. From all accounts Jordan was a skillful fisherman and was familiar with good bamboo rods. He spent almost a year studying the construction of bamboo rods and reading all the literature he could find. He finally succeeded in making several hand-planed rods of Calcutta cane. Mr. Forsyth was so enthralled with the results of Jordan’s efforts that he proposed a rod making venture. In 1920 they formed the Cross Rod Co., named for Bill Cross, a friend of Forsyth’s who bought stock in the new company and also joined in learning the rod making trade.

With the help of his brother Bill, Jordan had designed and built a milling machine so rods could be produced faster and efficiently in order to compete with companies such as F. E. Thomas and H. L. Leonard.

Unfortunately Mr. Forsyth died suddenly in 1925 and his heirs sold the Cross Rod Co. to the South Bend Tackle Co. in South Bend, Indiana. Jordan moved to South Bend to set up the machinery, organize a rod production facility and train the employees. This arrangement lasted almost 15 years. During this period Wes Jordan designed methods and equipment to aid in making rods with low production costs in order to compete with
other bamboo rod makers such as Montague, Union Hardware, Horrocks-Ibbotson and Wright & McGill. One device was a power-driven ram for splitting bamboo culms to be used for mass-market rods.

South Bend also made rods for other companies, such as Sears Roebuck for as little as 83 cents wholesale. Cane for the higher quality rods built by South Bend and all the South Bend-Cross rods were split by hand or sawed. Rods and blanks of higher quality were also marketed to other companies, most notably to the Paul Young Co., for several years prior to 1930.

H. L. Leonard Bamboo Fly Rods

Many say Hiram Leonard’s knowledge and craftsmanship toward bamboo rod making and fly fishing are tremendous.

In 1869 his first rod, which he made for himself was made of ash and lancewood. After much ado about his craftsmanship from his friends he sent it to Bradford & Anthony (in Boston, MA). The manager of Bradford & Anthony asked him if he knew how to make split bamboo rods and his legacy began.

Leonard opened up a business in 1871, (Leonard and Co.) in Bangor, MA and manufactured rods for Bradford & Anthony. He was completely on his own during his first year of making bamboo rods.

In 1881 the Leonard factory was moved to Central Valley, N.Y. Many famous rod makers learned their trade and honed their skills under the apprenticeship of Hiram Leonard: Ed Payne, Fred Thomas, Billy Edwards, and the Hawes brothers were among a few.

From the heavier Calcutta cane from which Mr. Leonard’s first rods were made, and with the introduction of Tonkin cane and dry-fly fishing, which unfortunately he did not live to see, the present-day light bamboo rods of the H.L Leonard Rod Company have been made on the same six-strip design, and on the same machinery he designed.
Hiram Lewis Leonard, with his craftsmanship and business acumen undeniably earned the title of father of the modern fly rod.

Granger Bamboo Fly Rods

Granger Bamboo Fly Rods
Imagine back in the day when you bought your first Granger Bamboo rod. It was probably the same feeling we would get if we purchased a top of the line Sage or Winston Fly Rod.
Most of the Granger rods are enthusiastically sought after by Bamboo rod aficionados.

The Granger rods got started by Goodwin Granger around 1919 in Denver, Colorado. Granger had many models of rods, from the Goodwin Rod, the Granger Rod, the Colorado Special and Denver Special.
Most of these were renamed in 1930. New models such as the Champion and Victory were added later.

All of the Granger rods were of consistent high quality with the same nickel silver ferrules and reel seat and the same precise construction. Only the grading of the cane, the style of the windings and the number of guides per section varied between the higher and lower priced models. All Granger rods featured a unique tempering process with ammonia steam which gave the bamboo a distinct resiliency of action and a characteristic rich caramel color for which these rods are famous with the exception of the Colorado Special and Denver Special, which were light colored cane.

Models referred to specific lengths and weights within each grade. Only the grade name, such as Granger Deluxe or Granger Premier appeared on the rod shaft. The model designation appeared only on rod tubes. All rods during the early era were identified with the grade name inscribed on the reel seat between the decorative knurled bands. Around 1936, the grade name was moved to the shaft of the rod and the company name was stamped in the reel seat.

Goodwin Granger passed away in 1931 but the company continued to produce high quality rods until just before World War II.


Orvis Impregnated Battenkill Bamboo Fly Rod

Orvis Impregnated Battenkill Bamboo Fly Rod

The Orvis Impregnated Battenkill Bamboo Fly Rod is one of the finest models of bamboo rods put out by the Orvis Company. Most were a two piece rod that had a serial number stamped on both rod blanks, was inscribed with Orvis, Impregnated, Battenkill as well as size, and weight of line. It included two tips, a cloth rod tube bag and an aluminum tube. They could also personalize it with the owners name. The Orvis Battenkill rod also came in different lengths.

Thanks to Orvis for continuing the tradition of making some of the finest bamboo fly rods known to fly fishers throughout the global community.

In 1856 Charles F. Orvis, founds The Orvis Company in Manchester, Vermont.
Born in Manchester, VT in 1831, Charles F. Orvis was the fourth of seven children of Electa and Levi Orvis. The Battenkill Valley was still haunted by tale-telling soldiers of the Revolutionary War then, and surrounded by deep and wild woods. Charles, like many rural boys, developed a sense of self-reliance and a passion for trout fishing.
Because Charles Orvis was an avid fly fisher he and his company had the foresight to hire many of the highly innovative bamboo rod makers of its time.

In 1939 Wes Jordan went to work for Charles F. Orvis Co. in Manchester, Vermont. He worked for Orvis until his retirement in 1970, during which time he helped resurrect the company and take it to the forefront in rod production. During his tenure at Orvis he developed the process for making impregnated bamboo rods, and designed and patented the famous Orvis screw lock reel seat.

In 1970 Howard Steere, a modern fly rod pioneer. He was the first to develop and produce an Orvis bamboo rod that was less than a 5 wt. He designed many superior bamboo rods of 3 and 4 wt. His finest rod was perhaps the 7-foot 3wt with ten ferrules.

In 1995, Ron White. He learned to make bamboo rods under Wes Jordan when bamboo was still widely fished. Today, he continues to build Orvis bamboo rods with the same concern for quality craftsmanship that’s gone into every Orvis rod since 1856.

In 2006, Charlie Hisey. Charlie inherited his first Orvis bamboo rods (two Deluxes, a Midge, and a Battenkill) from his grandfather. These rods inspired his own cane rod making.


The Realistic Flavoradio by Radio Shack

Radio Shack's Realistic Flavoradio - Front

Want some nostalgia? How about a handheld AM radio (called a Flavoradio) with a wrist strap that was also small enough to fit in your lunch bag when mom forced you into the fields to pick strawberries during summer vacation? The smell of strawberries still brings back memories of the song “Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney and Wings playing on my Flavoradio while I spent my days kneeling in the dirt.

The Flavoradio is an AM transistor radio sold by Radio Shack (under the brand name Realistic). Model 12-166 of the Flavoradio was originally offered in catalogs for $5.95 between the years 1972 to 1986 and came in six “tasteful” colors like: pistachio, plum, lemon, strawberry, orange and blueberry. It was powered by a 9-volt battery and with dimensions of 3-5/8″ x 2-3/4″ x 1-1/2″ the Flavoradio really was small enough to fit in your lunch bag, or even a pocket or purse.

A second design of the Flavoradio was sold 1987-1993 in three colors and a third and final Flavoradio design was sold 1994-2001.


With a 15-year run, the original Flavoradio was the longest production radio ever built.

Radio Shack's Realistic Flavoradio - Back

Radio Shack's Realistic Flavoradio - Internal