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Post 15 Jul 2020, 13:36 • #1 
Sport
Joined: 12/29/10
Posts: 92
Location: US-CA


Hi all,

I was very fortunate to stop at a garage sale and discuss and purchase this old tobacco glass Phillipson "Special" from the original owner. He was an older gentleman that used the rod sparingly throughout his life after purchasing it as a kid when he lived in San Marino CA. He is now in his late 70's. I told him a little bit about this rod and told him I was interested in it. He had a couple others that I was not interested in. After discussing a purchase he wanted me to have it for $20! I told him it was going to be used.

Well, as luck would have it, I had a trip planned to the Sierras the next week and got to try it out. I used it on a small Sierra water and it performed beautifully and I caught many 8"-13" browns with it. I texted him some pictures of it back in use on the water and he was excited to see it being used again. It is a sweetheart of a rod and throws a WF 5 beautifully! I can't wait to try some other lines with it. What a cool rod.

Now, I really like all of the Phillipsons that I have tried, as limited as it has been. However, I don't know much and can't find much about the early fiberglass "Special". Can any of you shed light on this early Phillipson? I would love to learn more about this gem.


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Post 15 Jul 2020, 16:19 • #2 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 17338
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Can you verify the rod length?
Maybe 766 equates to 7'6" and 6-wt line?
The only Special used in known Phillipson names is DFS for dry fly special.
The catalog references we have, 1952, all models begin with P, and 1955, all models begin with X.
You rod dates to the '50s, but don't know if we can pin it down any further.


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Post 15 Jul 2020, 16:42 • #3 
Global Moderator
Joined: 04/20/07
Posts: 8172
Location: US-ME
As my first boss used to say, some 50 years ago, "You done good young man. You done good." The rod, depending on length, is probably for a D or C line, roughly a 6 or 7 weight. Just a guess, but perhaps at that time, Phillipson had a wholesale only offering, prelabled "Special" and then upon order, decal-labeled for the purchasing retailer, Tom & Ted Sports in this case. It would probably be the same blank as an off-the-shelf model for routine dealer to customer purchase, but besides the decal, something else distinctive, such as slightly different hardware or better quantity pricing.

With more detail--those are great pics--somebody here may be able to identify it more exactly. About that time, many outdoor products were "special," "custom," "deluxe," and so on. It was the advertising talk of the day, even though "palooza" never took hold on fishing tackle. Often it doesn't mean much. But that one, especially in its condition and the owner history you have, really is special. Thanks for showing.


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Post 15 Jul 2020, 23:40 • #4 
Administrator
Joined: 01/10/06
Posts: 7147
Location: Holly Springs, NC
Phillipson sold many rods, and rod blanks, to sporting goods stores and franchises for sale under their names. A&F, Herter's, Orvis, LL Bean, Leonard, Dave Cook, and others. When Bill Phillipson sold the company to Johnson in the early 60s, they stopped all third party OEM agreements. Once Bill bought the company back, he made some of the best ever Orvis glass rods. In this case I think Special just means a run of OEM rods that could be decaled as needed when orders came in.

From the looks of it, you have a very early Phillipson glass rod, maybe 1952-53. The fiberglass cloth weave is very distinct. The reelseat is the Phillipson 'no-rock' seat patented in 1950. I don't recall seeing a plain silver version before. Is the rod grip oval? I can't tell from the photos. The rod case is an inexpensive fiberboard material. The guide wraps are rather plain and not tipped. Everything is standard Phillipson, but with an extra decal for Tom & Ted Sports. I would guess this rod was roughly equivalent to the Phillipson S76.

Check out this post for recommendations on caring for the metal ferrules.


Tom


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Post 16 Jul 2020, 19:49 • #5 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/09/06
Posts: 2483
Location: US
Very nice find. It is rare to come across that old and buy it from the original owner and it appears to be in excellent condition. Love the tobacco weave glass.


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Post 17 Jul 2020, 12:54 • #6 
Guide
Joined: 08/23/19
Posts: 206
Location: North Central Oregon
Nice find! I would have snapped that up too! Love Phillipsons both in cane and glass.

Bruce


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Post 19 Jul 2020, 01:30 • #7 
Sport
Joined: 12/29/10
Posts: 92
Location: US-CA

Thanks for the information guys. I have been busy since I first posted this but wanted to give a few more details that were requested.

I measured the rod - 7'6". I have posted more pics of the rod model and details. I still can't tell if it says 76 S or 765. Looks like it may be an S but I am posting more pictures to help ID it.

The grip is not elliptical, it is round.

Whirlpool and Jgestar, your definition of "Special" is what I suspected all along but it is good to know that is probably the reason for the designation. JGestar, what would the S designate on a S76 model, Special? Or does it represent something else? This looks more like a 76S, with the S at the end, which would make sense if it is labeled a Phillipson "Special". Why would Phillipson sometimes label the S at the end of the model instead of the beginning? Would it mean something different in these different locations? I'm just curious and wanting to learn more.

Here are some additional pictures. I hope they help clear up some of the questions.


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Post 19 Jul 2020, 11:12 • #8 
Sport
Joined: 01/13/12
Posts: 54
Location: US-NC
i would love to see more views of that case!


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Post 19 Jul 2020, 11:47 • #9 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 11/06/17
Posts: 1943
Location: South of Joplin
I thought the other day that it was 76S and it looks more like that in this pic set. so; "7'6'' Special" just guessing. Another guess is that early on in his own business the man had not yet established names nor a standard of labeling for job lot rods. I haven't seen a lot of discussion of his earliest 'glass productions nor many examples of them. I think all I've seen pictures of were Powr Kast and labeled "T" xx.
I like the clean simple looks of this rod a lot, thanks for posting.


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Post 19 Jul 2020, 11:51 • #10 
Sport
Joined: 12/29/10
Posts: 92
Location: US-CA
I’ll take more pics of the case when I get time. It’s pretty basic but pretty cool.


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Post 19 Jul 2020, 12:30 • #11 
Administrator
Joined: 01/10/06
Posts: 7147
Location: Holly Springs, NC
specialk wrote:
This looks more like a 76S, with the S at the end, which would make sense if it is labeled a Phillipson "Special". Why would Phillipson sometimes label the S at the end of the model instead of the beginning? Would it mean something different in these different locations? I'm just curious and wanting to learn more.

The early 50s were the beginning of commercial fiberglass. The Tonkin cane supply was embargoed so Phillipson was changing from bamboo to glass. I'm sure they were figuring out how to produce and promote glass in a cost effective manner. The 1952 Phillipson glass rod listing only had two fly rods (P76 and P86), three spinning rods, and one salmon rod. Soon fiberglass was the majority of Phillipson's production. Eventually OEM rods became a large part of Phillipson's sales.

Not to be abrasive, but your Special is an inexpensive rod build. The reelseat was not dyed, the guide wraps were not tipped, the grip was round when the better models had oval shaped cork, and the rod case was cardboard. If it was so 'cheap', why was it called 'Special'? For the same reason most banks are called 'First'. Marketing. Through the 60s, the lowest grade Phillipson rods were labeled 'Master' or 'Classic'. Despite being built in Denver, your rod was sold in Southern California - the home of Conolon, SilaFlex, and Harnell. Your rod has a no-rock seat, quality Phillipson nickel silver ferrules, and a state-of-the-art fiberglass blank. Even Phillipson's bargain rods were well made.

Finally, your rod is special in a different sense. Often bargain tackle is not well maintained. The rods are left joined up in the garage or given to the kids. Your lucky rod was owned by someone who cared for it. Not many Specials are around anymore, especially in such good condition.


Tom


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Post 20 Jul 2020, 02:06 • #12 
Sport
Joined: 12/29/10
Posts: 92
Location: US-CA
Tom, thanks for your honest and detailed reply. Exactly what I was looking for, to learn more about the early Phillipson’s. Plus, I happen to love this stripped down version. What I mostly care about is how it fishes and it is fantastic on the water. I do love it’s vintage look and feel. I was trying to figure out if it was an S that followed 76 or a 5. It’s a little hard to tell from the script, but I’m pretty convinced now that it is an S. Either way it throws a #5 line great!

As requested, here are more pics of the fiber tube that has survived since the early 50's. Pretty simple fiber board that is stapled together. Looks like it had a cap at some point. The rod fits in it nice and snug without being too tight. Simple and functional. JGestar, I think this rod is such a good survivor as you mention partly due to the rod tube and the care from it's owner. All of this guys stuff was well cared for.


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Post 09 Nov 2020, 00:23 • #13 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 01/26/07
Posts: 1277
Location: Ada, Oklahoma
Today while helping my friend Charlie go through his extensive rod collection we pulled out a Phillipson S76 rod. This rod was obviously made in the 50's but was still in pretty good shape. Charlie has a couple of Phillipson Masters he picked up a couple of years ago but he didn't really know much about Phillipson. We put a reel with WF6 line on this rod and took it outside to cast it. Three of us cast the rod and we all felt this was one of the smoothest casting Phillipson rods we had ever held. Charlie has about 200 rods in his arsenal, but he wanted this one set aside so he can be sure to fish it sometime soon.

He wanted me to see what I could find out about this rod, and I found this thread from about 4 months ago that seemed to give me the information he wanted.

Larry


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Post 09 Nov 2020, 01:02 • #14 
Guide
Joined: 09/23/18
Posts: 204
Location: Eastern Wa
Thanks for sharing this info!
I picked up a Phillipson SK76 last winter and it was a olive/greenish rod that is called the Stream Knight and 7’6” long. I wonder if it is the same blank as the S76? I have to agree it is one of the smoothest rods I have. I was very lucky because my first fish i caught on it last winter was a dandy rainbow.



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Post 09 Nov 2020, 12:07 • #15 
Master Guide
Joined: 04/27/07
Posts: 618
Location: Missouri
Tobacco glass, Phillipson. A basic 1950's fly rod, some of these rods had the painted blanks. As Tom has said, these rods were named and marked differently to be sold through various dealers.


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Post 10 Nov 2020, 08:59 • #16 
Sport
Joined: 03/11/14
Posts: 53
Location: US-East Texas
Ah yes.., the infamous hump-backed rainbow trout...


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Post 06 Jan 2021, 07:29 • #17 
Guide
Joined: 12/11/20
Posts: 259
Location: Dallas, TX
I dig that Tom & Ted Sports decal on it, too. Crenshaw also a famous LA boulevard. Looks brand new


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