Delaware River Club
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  1. #1
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    Antique Bamboo? What have I got?

    Hi All -

    My elderly neighbor was cleaning out her basement and came across her late husband's ff gear. Knowing that I fly fish, she gave me all of his gear.

    Basically it looked as if the man fished in the 1950s to early 60s. There is a tackle box the size of a small suitcase with random odds and ends - tippet material, spin fishing equipment, some cool reel oilers, and some of his old fishing licenses from Ontario from 1958-59.

    She also gave me two bamboo rods - both about 9 feet. One a Phillpson Paragon and the other an LL Bean. No markings about line size but look to be around 6 to 8 weight. I am assuming they are from the 1950s.

    Lastly a Bivans-Arnold reel. I did find some info on this. Apparently somewhat rare and made in the 50s. It uses a cork drag system. To 'play' a fish, you turn the handle a quarter turn back. Going to have to try that....

    Anyway - regarding the rods. I don't plan on cashing in (or giving them away, sorry Skim), but anyone know enough about older bamboo rods or can lead me to someone who does? I would love to know if these are rare and expensive. If they are, I won't be taking them out on the stream but will use them as decoration. Maybe ask my neighbor for a picture of her husband with a fish or two if she has one.....

    I'll try to figure out how to post some pictures ....

    Thanks.

    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

  2. #2
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    Re: Antique Bamboo? What have I got?

    The Phillpson and LL bean were considered higher quality fly rods.
    They make excellent fishing rods so get them on the stream and enjoy.
    they are not hardware store rods nor collector pieces so you can feel good fishing them. Most of those rods were 6 weights and worked best with silk lines if they have the smaller guides. Take some pictures and post them on the Classic Fly rod forum.
    Appraisals & Identification of Bamboo Fly Rods - Welcome to the Classic Fly Rod Forum! - The Classic Fly Rod Forum - Message Board - Yuku

    There are some real experts there that can give you all the history on the rods.
    Tightlines
    Ronbo

    Arundinaria amabilis

  3. #3
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    Re: Antique Bamboo? What have I got?

    Thanks Ronbo -

    The Bivans reel was loaded with synthetic flyline (albeit a bit crusty now), so I don't think he was using silk.

    I am going to try these rods out on the farm ponds around my house -- the small streams around here wouldn't take well to a 6wt 9'. I will stick with smaller 3 wt for those. Will also see if I can get some viewable pictures out of my camera. The ones I took last night may as well have been an oak branch wrapped with kite string.

    Regards,
    JD

    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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    Re: Antique Bamboo? What have I got?

    Not to be too much of an old fart, but those 9' 6wt were the standard trout rods not that long ago. They are a little heavy (and maybe long) by today's equipment, but that weight is useful for casting longer distances, fighting the wind, and punching a cast into a tight spot like under a tree limb. Weight can be your friend and heavier lines can be presented delicately.


  5. #5
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    Re: Antique Bamboo? What have I got?

    Are there any marking at all?

    You may already know this....
    In those days line size was not designated with a number, but with a letter.
    If there's a "D" on the rod.... 6 wt (aproximately)
    If there's an "E" ... 5 wt (aproximately)
    etc.

    Conversions are aproximate, because the letter is related to diameter rather than weight.

    See: Fly line conversion to old-style letter


  6. #6
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    Re: Antique Bamboo? What have I got?

    Thanks Pete

    On the Phillipson rod (looks to be handwritten):

    One side - Phillipson Paragon
    Other side - 49 9-5/8" HCH

    So using the chart link - a 7 wt 9.5' rod. Any idea what the '49' is?

    On the Bean rod it just has LL Bean and no other markings (again, looks to be handwritten)

    Another note: the Phillipson is hexagonal in diameter, the LL Bean rod is round. Apologies if the terminology is wrong.....don't have too much experience with bamboo, hence this post!

    Rgs,
    JD

    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

  7. #7
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    Re: Antique Bamboo? What have I got?

    If it's an LL Bean and round I would bet it is an old fiberglass rod - I don't think Bean is as old as round cane rods. Can you get pictures? Some of the old Bean rods were made by Phillipson and the old Phillipson fiberglass rods have a following. Can tell the Phillipsons by the ferrules and the reel seat.

    For meaning of the markings the classic rod forum would be the best place to ask.


  8. #8
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    Re: Antique Bamboo? What have I got?

    Some Pics. Hopefully they are viewable (first time uploading pics)

    The 'round' LL Bean, The Phillipson, and the Bivans reel.

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    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

  9. #9
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    Re: Antique Bamboo? What have I got?

    I don't know what the 49 is, but a WAG would be the year of manufacture. The 9 is 9', the 5 5/8 is the weight of the rod in ounces. The 8' to 8 1/2' Phillipson rods have plenty of fans, but the 9' rods start being a little heavy for modern tastes.

    The LL Bean rod looks like a 1950's era fiberglass rod. I can't really tell you the manufacturer (has elements of different makers to me). The best shot for IDing fiberglass rods are the guys over at fiberglassflyrodders - Message Board - Yuku

    The 1950's era fiberglass rods have some collector value, but the ones collectors really bid up are the premium rods from the late 60's to early 70's which is judged to be the "golden age" of fiberglass (with apologies to the modern makers who can be argued are making the best fiberglass rods ever).


  10. #10
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    Smile Re: Antique Bamboo? What have I got?

    I am new here; hope this is the correct place to post. If not, please forgive me and send me somewhere else more appropriate.

    I recently obtained a vintage bamboo rod from an old-timer. He informed me that this is a "William Mills & Son / Leonard Standard Bamboo Fly Rod". However, on the reel seat, the stamped letters seem to be "Standard, William Mills & Son, New York". The word "Leonard" does not seem to be there, (it is kind of hard to read.)

    My questions:

    (1) Is the model "Standard, William Mills & Son, New York" a Leonard rod?

    (2) From these letters, "Standard, William Mills & Son, New York", can one estimate how old this rod is? There are no other markings on the rod.

    As one could possibly notice in one of the attached pictures, the wraps for the stripping guide and the one above it are not original, re-wrapped by the old-timer with nylon rather than silk. I'd like to find out if this is considered as a Leonard before deciding on how I'd re-do these two wraps.

    I hope others here are able to answer my questions. If not, I'd appreciate your directing me to other links where answers to my questions can be found.

    I am attaching two jpeg-pictures for this rod.

    TIA,

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  11. #11
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    Re: Antique Bamboo? What have I got?

    William Mills and Son was, at one time, the largest dealer of fishing equipment in the US. They were established in 1822, and based out of NYC. The rod is called a Leonard Standard, after HL Leonard.
    H. L. Leonard Rod Company - The Rod Maker Since 1869


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    Smile Re: Antique Bamboo? What have I got?

    Thanks for the info.; you make me feel much better now. Is it then correct that all "Leonard Standard" would not have "Leonard" stamped on the rod? It would still seem strange. Would it be considered a "lesser grade" as compared to other models, e.g., Catskill, Ternament, etc. which I have seen discussed, as far as collectors are concerned?

    The rod has two guides which had been re-wrapped by the previous owner more than 30m years ago with nylon thread and they need to be re-done. If it is not of "collector grade", I will re-do it myself with silk, and will also fish with it. If it is considered something of value, I would possibly have it done professionally and will be more than careful if I fish with it at all.

    TIA.


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