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Post 16 Aug 2020, 13:09 • #26 
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Joined: 06/19/14
Posts: 122
Location: Columbia, MO
Thanks, bulldog.

steve


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Post 16 Aug 2020, 13:39 • #27 
Guide
Joined: 06/08/16
Posts: 322
Location: US-MI
Fiberglass was too fragile for something as important as communications on the battlefield.
Speaking of fragile, I’m sorry if anyone’s nose got out of joint over my resurrection of a 12 year old post. I was just trying to add new information that I found on the topic. I won’t ever do it again. Never.


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Post 16 Aug 2020, 17:02 • #28 
Sport
Joined: 12/04/11
Posts: 59
Location: US-MI
I wish Warren Platt was in this group. He has collected and researched Fairfax rods of Kansas City more than anyone know and is convinced that they produced the first commercial fiberglass rods beginning in 1945. Fairfax eventually was bought out and the name was changed to Phantom. Fairfax did not make flyrods but rather glass baitcasting rods many of which had unique looking fiberglass handles. Warren tells me they would take each new experimental rod out to the Kansas City casting ponds and ask the tournament casters for reviews as well as advice on needed improvments. He has a nice representative collection of these very unique rods.


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Post 16 Aug 2020, 17:06 • #29 
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Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18128
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Probably also making parts for Boeing Aircraft in Witchita?
Bill, borrow some of his photos and post them on Another Spin page for us.


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Post 16 Aug 2020, 20:53 • #30 
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Joined: 01/10/06
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Location: Holly Springs, NC
The Purist wrote:
Speaking of fragile, I’m sorry if anyone’s nose got out of joint over my resurrection of a 12 year old post. I was just trying to add new information that I found on the topic. I won’t ever do it again. Never.

I'm really not sure what you expected. These sorts of unsupported speculations aren't your usual practice. You emphatically stated that Vic Johnson & Vic Johnson misquoted the Phantom 1955 catalog in their book Fiberglass Fly Rods. A couple of posts later you note you were looking at a 1954 catalog on eBay (image below). This meant the book was all wrong with the claim Phantom made the first solid glass fishing rods. Thus, Dr. Howald must have been the inventor of all fiberglass rods because the Howald family still had his lab notes*. And Havens was a tennis player so he couldn't have been involved with fishing rod invention.

None of this was backed up with documents, images, or references.

I assume Johnson & Johnson correctly assessed that Phantom was the first with solid glass fishing rods and that Havens and Howald have equal claim to being first with hollow glass fishing rods. Obviously, Libbey Owens Ford received the patent (thank you Motosacto for finding that US patent for me) and Howald and Meyer were assigned as inventors. Johnson & Johnson also note that John Harrington made a glass fishing rod for his own use in 1943. Two things are important for establishing patent rights, the idea and putting that idea into practice. Harrington's 1943 rod and Hewitt's earlier nylon experiments could be considered prior art in a patent dispute.

Johnson & Johnson make a very interesting statement about the Libbey Owens Ford patent on page 148 of their book in the chapter about Shakespeare.
    "Numerous other manufacturers had entered into fiberglass rod production between 1945 and 1952. When the patent was issued, there was some confusion over who had the right to make fiberglass rods and whether these other firm's processes were patent infringements. In June 1952, Shakespeare and Libby-Owens offered rights under the patent to Horrocks-Ibbotson and 34 other manufacturers for $1 per year. This apparently allowed Libby-Owens to maintain their other purchasers of fiberglass products. It also maintained Shakespeare's ability to continue to be the only firm in the U.S. building rods under the unique Howald process."


Tom

* Are Howald's notes published or available for public viewing? I would think those notes should have gone to his employer.



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Post 16 Aug 2020, 22:51 • #31 
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Joined: 10/30/18
Posts: 194
Location: SF Bay Area
That so many people/companies could be considered “the first” makes me believe the idea of fiberglass in fishing rods had to be knocking around that industry throughout the war. Fascinating history of US war production/technology and it’s switch to peacetime use. Libby Owens exhibits the best US business pivot granting use rights under their patent to create demand for their product. Often wondered why some companies labeled their fly rods as “Fiberglas”. Easy to imagine their “continental spelling” was getting them around patents.


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Post 17 Aug 2020, 09:09 • #32 
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Joined: 04/20/07
Posts: 8538
Location: US-ME
They didn't agree at the time and some agreements are a matter of financial practicality or who gets tired of the dispute first. Quite likely there are some who could make a claim but didn't or were discouraged from doing so, and in a very nice way, thank you--or in a more controlling way such as reassignment to a different job. Yes, this is speculation in any one moment or situation, but no more so than looking at a busy intersection and KNOWING that there has been or will be an auto accident there. Several.

Normal with new technology. I think we have a remarkably good record, but that doesn't rule out a new/old "claim," since history is written by those who took charge. That doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be rewritten, either; it just adds to the vitality of the time period and is, at the very least, accurate in that regard.


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Post 18 Aug 2020, 17:06 • #33 
Guide
Joined: 04/17/12
Posts: 165
Location: Blacksburg, VA
CroixBoy wrote:
Often wondered why some companies labeled their fly rods as “Fiberglas”.

Since the spelling "Fiberglas" is/was a trademark for Owens-Corning weave material I'd speculate that the reason so many manufacturers used that spelling was because they were using the trademarked material to roll their rods.


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Post 18 Aug 2020, 20:31 • #34 
Guide
Joined: 10/30/18
Posts: 194
Location: SF Bay Area
Ah!! That explains that spelling. Thanks for the clarification!


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Post 27 Mar 2021, 18:08 • #35 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 02/19/08
Posts: 1103
Location: Branson, Missouri


Here is an interesting example : Owens Corning Fiberglas - the sock also has Gliebe on it







Its a 8ft fly rod for certain - perhaps a little heavy in the hand.. has butt strength and a decent softer tip.
Interesting too - the blank is dense, also it is sorta cold to the touch.. like porcelain.


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Post 13 Jan 2022, 13:16 • #36 
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Joined: 01/12/22
Posts: 1
The Purist wrote:
I seriously doubt that Dr. Glenn Havens had much to do with the invention of hollow glass fishing rods other than to approve the research. He wasn’t a fisherman, he was a tennis player. His only patents up until then were for tires and artificial limbs. His only patent for fishing rods came later for his “sandwich” method of compressing the impregnated cloth to the mandrel. This was quickly abandoned because it resulted in two spines that had to be carefully ground off and the guides had to be carefully oriented on the shaft. The Howald Process left no spine.
The earliest documentation (that I’ve yet found) for a Conolon fishing rod is a single ad in a sporting magazine in 1946 for a San Diego company called Sun Aire Ltd. who advertised Conolon tips on their deep sea trolling rods. The ad never appears after that. My working theory is that the owner of Sun Aire commissioned these tips from Narmco. They would have had tips the size of soda straws. Dr. Havens likely saw this product as a good post-war production item for his company and either bought the idea from Sun-Aire or hired its owner. That may have been Herb Jenks. For reasons unknown to me, Jenks and four other Narmco employees left in 1947 to start up Pacific Laminates and Sila-Flex. I know it is all speculation, but it is based on known facts from the research I’ve done. I think it is a stretch to give Dr. Havens credit for inventing the tubular fishing rod, although he was instrumental in the development as Director of Narmco.


Hello everyone,
I'm researching the development of Conolon fiberglass in archery applications and joined this forum because my research shows an intersect between hollow tube fishing rods, hollow tube arrow shafts, and laminates for building bows. I'm reviving this older thread, after it came up in my initial search on the topic, because the information sought-after here fits my needs.

The quoted poster above makes mention of Dr. Glen Havens who befriended a future Hall of Fame Archer name Frank Eicholtz.
Frank is credited with being the first person to laminate a bow with fiberglass (Conolon) after receiving amounts of it from Dr. Havens. Letters written by Eicholtz say that Dr. Havens was working on fishing rods when they met. The letters do not mention the year but Eicholtz has been working with Conolon Fiberglass for some time and finally brings it to the public with his first ad in American Bowman Review magazine in May 1946 for the Conolon Arrow. In June he showcases Conolon for bow backing.
Frank's letters go on to describe that his process of making arrow shafts was less than desirable so he went to Mort Barrus of Pacific Laminates. They soon began production of arrow shafts but Mort dies in an auto accident leaving Frank without legal rights. Mort's business interests were split up and sold to Frank's competitors.

That's my nutshell, if it helps anyone here. I'm hoping further discussions about rods will reveal something of interest for me as well.


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Post 23 Jan 2022, 14:50 • #37 
Guide
Joined: 01/03/14
Posts: 221
Location: boston area
When did Sila-flex start. They were pretty early
In the forty’s in California I thought.
Just wondering.
Nice thread guys


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Post 23 Jan 2022, 15:36 • #38 
Administrator
Joined: 01/10/06
Posts: 7501
Location: Holly Springs, NC
jgestar wrote:
Herb Jenks started with Conair and left NARMCO in 1947 to help start Pacific Laminates (Silaflex).



Tom


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Post 24 Jan 2022, 13:15 • #39 
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Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 2430
Location: US-CO
As I remember my communication with Dr Howald's grandson during the time window that I sent him the early PAT PEND Shakespeare rods I mentioned in an earlier post in this string, I recall that his grandfather indicated that there was a "secret ingredient" he included in the fiberglass batch he used. When the young man asked what that was...his grandpa, who chewed tobacco, indicated it was tobacco juice from his chew. Probably just grandpa mystique but I enjoyed hearing it.

As to who was first...I recall the Wright Brothers who are credited with the first manned flight. It is pretty clear that many other early aviation experimenters were pursuing parallel but separate efforts, and there are international claims that there may have been others who predated the Kitty Hawk "first" flight. This does not seem an unreasonable parallel of concurrent development.


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Post 24 Jan 2022, 18:21 • #40 
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Joined: 11/06/17
Posts: 2154
Location: South of Joplin
Most all those early fiberglass names were working on the same aircraft, weren't they? Convair aircraft should probably get full credit.


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Post 25 Jan 2022, 10:26 • #41 
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Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 18128
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
No, John Harrington worked for Douglas Aircraft in Chicago.
The technology was widespread - how many WWII airplanes used radar domes (rhetorical).
Boeing was in Wichita, and there's a first glass rod claim there.
A lot of people worked in this material - the desire to make this existing device from the materials at hand it is a no-brainer.

No one has a fair claim to the first glass fishing rod.
I challenge you to show where anyone's patent was novel-enough to dominate the market.

Dr. Howald was absorbed in lab documentation and patent filing - great rods? better marketing.
John Harrington loved the craft and fishing, and was a terrible businessman, absorbed in making rod blanks and loving it.
There's an internet train that documents Harrington and Rennells had partnered and sold a large quantity of Harnell fly rod blanks in 1946.
I don't think John Harrington made the first glass rod, but he made the only rods from the 1950s that I want to fish.
The rods he made the same way in the 1980s still bring top dollar.


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Post 25 Jan 2022, 13:33 • #42 
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Joined: 11/06/17
Posts: 2154
Location: South of Joplin
"No one has a fair claim to the first glass fishing rod." that was my point, I'm sure the technology was shared even between competitors and even when "classified" during the war years. I don't believe radome technology was the key that lead to fiberglass fishing rods, although there was a new resin invention just prior to the war that may have changed things, I think FRP had been around for several years and no fly rods came of it. I think something new came up about '42-'43, whether resin or cloth or process or adaptation, that opened up new possibilities and that all the team members were aware of it, regardless of thought of what, likely more than one "inventor" had some input, one idea triggering another. After the war of course they all took the ideas and went each in his own direction, parallel development. Because this kind of classified stuff isn't always well documented or advertised, and none of the perpetrators are still living to answer questions, much of the story is murky or in some instances best guess. They all had to wait out the war and find funding and facilities before anything came of whatever was new.
And I agree that of the 'glass rods made up to the mid fifties Harrington's were far better than others I have seen or used. His fit and finish are as good as any I've seen and better than most, his rods had flex and power was better blended than his contemporaries.
But I'm not sure that Howald did much at Shakespeare other than sell them his ideas and patents, in the same way I'm skeptical that Havens did more than supervise. They were already in the fishing business, did he do hands on work there?
Since Herb Jenks didn't seem to carry a title, and had some related patents, I had wondered if he wasn't the mechanic (similar to Harrington) with the ideas and work knowledge that started it all, but that was just speculation and none of this really matters when I take the short Phillipson to the creek. I still haven't solved the chicken and egg thing, or "who's on first". Wasn't there a guy in Kansas City too?
I thought "Fiberglas" was Owen's name/trademark for their spun insulation material rather than woven cloth? now I'm confused


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Post 25 Jan 2022, 15:46 • #43 
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Joined: 02/27/16
Posts: 2027
Location: US-IL
I would have to agree with Trev ,really whoever invented "fiberglass" would be the person or persons responsible as without the material there would never have been the "aha" moment.Which could have been realized by several people in the same time frame.My grandfather was a math genius who worked for as an engineer IBM after the war.He NEVER even went to college.Those folks from the depression WW2 era were almost a different species.Slide rules and notebooks,trial and error.My gramps was a pattern maker machinist before the war.He could make anything out of anything.I used to stay with him in the summer,he had his own department at IBM.


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Post 25 Jan 2022, 16:26 • #44 
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Joined: 11/06/17
Posts: 2154
Location: South of Joplin
I think I cleared up my "Fiberglas" confusion, maybe, it was apparently on the 1936 patent application for the glass wool as I thought, already Owens-Corning by that time, but in 1944 they made it a Trade Mark for all their glass fiber products and uses.


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Post 26 Jan 2022, 16:46 • #45 
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Posts: 2027
Location: US-IL
Thanks Trev.My rambling point was after the war there very many very capable people that probably worked in parallel and came up with the same notions.Using the new tech to non wartime applications,Same as someone or several figured how to split cane and use the strips to better an already available natural material.One that i am sure was used for angling for centuries as just a cane pole.You can still buy and fish with a cane pole .


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Post 27 Jan 2022, 00:48 • #46 
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Joined: 01/10/06
Posts: 7501
Location: Holly Springs, NC
Owens-Corning published a corporate milestones document in April 2019. The link leads to an informative, but very Corning oriented, 90 page PDF document. This timeline gives a nice overview of how the field developed before and after WW2.

Of note to our forum is the milestone on page 11, "1946 – The first FRP [Fiber Reinforced Plastic] fishing rods, serving trays, and pleasure boats are marketed." The document does not indicate which companies did the marketing, nor are fishing rods mentioned again. Overall, fishing tackle is a very small part of the composites industry.


Tom


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