It had long been my belief that the local Kilwell factory here in NZ was set up by Garcia Conolon in the late 1960's. Some of you may have visited here and seen or tried a Kilwell rod yourselves or even taken one home, they were a long time guide favourite here in graphite ... but out of the price range of us mere mortals!
But it wasnt until I stumbled across an old catalogue from Kilwell (1977-78) that I saw Conolon rods being advertised as being made here in NZ. Up till now all the rods I have seen were Kilwell branded only.
So I thought perhaps the rods were assembled here from imported blanks, but the blanks are advertised in the catalogue as NZ made ... everything from boat masts to squash rackets.
My quest to find one of these Kiwi Conolon rods led me to this ...
The Kiwi in the circle was a well known symbol of "New Zealand Made" and would not be seen on an assembled from imported blank rod.
Kilwell- Abu places it early in the local glass rod manufacture here, (the factory was set up in 1968).
The Custom Line name went on through a few generations of Kilwell rods and was the name of a grade or line of rods which could include bait casting to big game as well as fly rods, the numbering changed from model to model of each line ... the next Custom Line fly rods would have been 53-*** and so on.
The word above Power Glass is "Spiraflex"
So how does it compare with an American built rod of the late 60's to early 70's? I have never seen one of those.