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Odd labeling on FF70-4
Post 03 Sep 2022, 12:50 • #1 
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Joined: 07/12/22
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I recently received an IMO an exceptionally good condition Fenwick FF70-4. It is a A series. Number A7779. With original sock and painted alum tube with Fenwick’s logo and rubber Pak-it end caps. Very happy with the way it lawn cast this morning. It is great up close and accurately casts out to about 50’ before it starts getting a little more like launching line versus casting. Using an SA Frequency DT6F. The rod is marked DT6F under the model number. Under the weight which is 3-1/8 oz it has additional markings. Either 7UF6F or 7JF6F. No hyphen and done in the early hand written script. Does anyone have an idea what this might mean? Does not seem to correlate with early Letter designations. I have two B Series rod where they use both methods. 6DTF-HCH. And a same era non serial no FF75 rod with the rare Feralite Pat.Pend. Label that also uses the newer AFFTA method. It is marked DT5F. I have read on the forum that the AFFTA standards were developed in the early 1960’s but I have found other references to mid 1959 as the date. If correct, that would account for using both or the newer method on the early rods. But the markings I am discussing do not seem to be either. Maybe a typo?
Thanks for any info you can provide.

After looking closely at my rods, I need to make a correction. I have all thirty in chronological order laid out on a bed. My non serial no rod had the word Pat. Pend. prominently silk screened on the rod. The A through C series has the words Patent Pending fully spelled out but in such tiny letters (less than 1/32”) that it is easy to overlook. Starting with the D Series, the Patent No is shown above the Feralite label.

I have also noticed in discussions that individuals confuse the Registered Trade Mark for the word Feralite” with the Patent Registration for the actual ferrule design. This can cause confusion when discussing manufacturing dates. The label patent pending was used to protect Fenwick from being copied while the patent application was being processed.




I think I did it correctly this time. I uploaded 4 thumbnails. One is the FF70-4 broken down. The other is the no serial number FF75 next to the FF70-4 with the A Serial number. Note the no serial number FF75 has Pat. Pend. and while not completely clear in the photo, it has a wrap before the ferrule. Not seen in later rods.
The FF70-4 has Patent Pending. Technically, if Tom is correct, than these rods were made after Mar 1962 when the Patent was applied for. Or made earlier but not sent to retailers until the patent application was submitted. Which would make the book incorrect. I did note that the numbering sequence was provided by Pure fishing many years later. Quite possible a mistake was made then. The word "Feralite" was in use and trademarked by Fenwick earlier.

as an additional note. When i received the rod, it had the usual grime on the cork. I wash my entire rod with Murphys Oil Soap when I get them. Very gently and I have not experienced any downsides. The 1st ferrule has a minor chip on the leading edge which was noted by the seller and also some scuffing on the butt cap from being stood up. When I said this rod was in exceptionally good condition, I did not mean to imply it was pristine NOS or anything never been fished. For its age, it is really nice and totally fishable which I will be doing with it.


Last edited by Fredderf on 04 Sep 2022, 10:30, edited 3 times in total.

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Post 03 Sep 2022, 14:14 • #2 
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Location: Eugene, OR
Interesting! Any possible way you could post photos?


Last edited by Lunker75 on 03 Sep 2022, 15:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 03 Sep 2022, 14:59 • #3 
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Location: Eastern Wa
Nice! Send pics.

Tell us what else you are looking for next. What holes are your looking to fill in your collection.


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Post 03 Sep 2022, 20:10 • #4 
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Location: Holly Springs, NC
Fenwick applied for the Feralite ferrule patent on March 23, 1962. Fenwick began making Feralite ferruled rods in late 1962* for the 1963 model year, which corresponds to serial numbers beginning with a "C" according to the well known list. Yet there are many reports of Feralite ferrule rods with A and B serial numbers.

What does that mean? It means not all "A" serial number rods were built in 1960/1961. Fenwick had ownership changes in 1960 and 1961. Plans changed, things happened, take the serial number list with a big grain of salt.

I recently bought an old machine tool. The best Internet wisdom states 4565 of them were made, with the last produced in 1967. The serial number on mine is 4679. What's that mean? It really doesn't matter. The company was selling machine tools, not preserving details for the ages. They have been through many mergers and business changes since. The old information is gone. Spare parts are unobtainium. I'm on my own.


The AFTMA line weight standard was adopted in 1960, but implementing it took time. Old habits die hard. In the meantime, some companies attempted to put their own spin on line weights (for instance, see the listing on our Shakespeare Wiki page). Perhaps the line markings meant DT6 or WF7. But that's just a guess. If you like the rod with a Frequency DT6, then that is the right line to use.

If you like a rod, if you like the way it casts, if you like the way it fishes, those things matter. Don't get too swoopy on the dates. Especially don't get hung up on early rods being collectible.


Tom

* From Fenwick, by Victor Johnson, Jr.


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Post 03 Sep 2022, 22:18 • #5 
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Your last comment about early rods not being collectible is interesting. Please elaborate. I do not collect early rods with the intention of profiting on them. I collect for the experience of casting them and also for the historical data. Everything is collectible. For a variety of reasons. Desirably and value are not the only reason people collect things. Rarity, esthetics, and functionality are also considerations for individuals. My reason has been to experience for myself the obviously desirable practice of fishing with vintage fiberglass fly rods. But also to continue improving the data on what seems to be a very unique database. But for whatever reason, seems to me to have lost its initial momentum and enthusiasm. One person writes a book deemed to be the definitive story. And then I read a lot of conjecture based on anecdotes but not much data. Like history and science, when new documentary information becomes available, the current information should be updated to incorporate the newly discovered.
I am working on figuring out how to successfully upload photos to the forum. I admit that is my current deficiency. But I am without bragging, very gifted in observation and forensic data gathering. One of my pastimes besides fishing.
I also have stated that I do not plan to sell any of my extensive collection of fishing gear. My collection goes beyond vintage fiberglass rods.
I also believe all fiberglass rods are collectible, I just currently am more focused on the details of the early development of Fenwicks. And also the less documented history of the later rods that might eventually become more desirable in the collectors market than the earlier ones.
I also noted that the adoption date and the development date of AFFTA standards are not the same thing. Manufacturers developed these standards and nothing precluded them from using them prior to their official adoption.
Not trying to be argumentative but their is no data to indicate that the published serial numbers and their relative dates are incorrect.
My observation is that there is a definitive progression and even a way of correlating the manufacturing details with the ownership changes. Even a mid K series change as Fenwick was transitioning to the newer 3 digit numbering system.
I have also found various references to companies applying the patent pending label prior to the actual date shown on the scanned records of the patent office database.
The application and documentation process prior to the official application date and vary from 1-2 years. Patent lawyers typically and traditionally recommended manufacturers apply this label as soon as the go into production with what they believe is a patentable idea.


I will need to make a correction and apology.
If the Patent for the Feralite Ferrule was granted in 1965, there is definitive proof that the Serial Number/ year list is incorrect. My D serial numbered FF60 D18671 has a Patent number on it. It is unlikely to have been produced prior to the issue of the patent number. There is a slight but highly unlikely possibility that the rod was fitted with a later year tip. But that makes this all the more interesting. All of my E series rods have the patent numbers on them. That to me means they were all produced after the patent was issued. Not in 1964. Until someone can provide and E series rod with a Patent Pending label.


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Post 03 Sep 2022, 23:16 • #6 
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"I just currently am more focused on the details of the early development of Fenwicks"

A couple of "A's" in action. Love em for the pimped pumpkin color. Otherwise pretty similar to their later brown colored counterparts in feel.

FF84


FF79


What other stuff do you collect?

Hoping you can sort uploading complications. Im sure your forensic interest will lead you to a solution soon.

Thanks for sharing your "odd" manufacturing discrepancies.


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Post 04 Sep 2022, 02:56 • #7 
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Location: Holly Springs, NC
I revised the photo posting instructions. Once you have run through the process a couple of times it should be no problem. However, the process is easiest to do from a computer. Posting photos from a cell phone is doable, but difficult due to the screen size.

"Especially don't get hung up on early rods being collectible." was how I put it. Vintage fiberglass rods have two values on the market, first as a fishing tool taken to the water for enjoyment. While some particular rod models may be more enjoyable than others, early vs late models rarely makes a difference. The second market value is as a collectible. Often collectors wish to acquire early examples of collectible rods or reels, which drives up prices. Excellent cosmetic condition drives up prices. 'Completeness' drives up prices, such as original tube, rod sock, hang tags, warranty/guarantee booklet, etc. Rarity drives up prices (good luck finding the unicorns labeled Glastech). Because A, B, C, etc. serial number Fenwicks are earlier rods, and there are likely to be fewer of them, the prices are higher. Sellers know this. I see far more 'enhanced' cork on eBay than ever. For that matter, there have been eBay sellers specializing in purchasing, chopping, and cosmetically reconstructing fiberglass and cane rods. As a result, be very cautious paying top dollar for an early rod in really, really nice looking cosmetic condition. If I'm interested in a rod for the fishing aspect, I go after 'users' - rods with dirty cork, chipped labels, and maybe frayed wraps. I can get the same bang, for much less buck.

The push for the American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association (AFTMA) standards (note: AFFTA is a subsequent organization) came from tournament casters, in particular Myron Gregory. He persuaded the National Association of Angling and Casting Clubs to adopt a weight based standard. This proposal was taken to AFTMA and eventually adopted in 1960. Until the line standard was adopted, line and rod manufacturers didn't want to change. Even then, it was probably a good 5 years before rods and lines were commonly marked for line weights, not diameters. Also note, while there is a clear, well defined line standard, there is no such thing for rods. The markings on a fly rod are simply the opinion of the company making the rod.

Fredderf wrote:
Not trying to be argumentative but their is no data to indicate that the published serial numbers and their relative dates are incorrect.
Your example of an FF70-4 with an "A" serial number is a prime example. That serial number correlates to 1960/1961 according to the list. Yet Feralite ferrules weren't made and sold until mid-1962 at the earliest. The FF70-4 model wasn't on the market until a couple years after that. Without good corporate paperwork correlating serial numbers to model numbers and production records it is impossible to tell why your rod is marked "A".

Fredderf wrote:
Patent lawyers typically and traditionally recommended manufacturers apply this label as soon as the go into production with what they believe is a patentable idea.
A patent pending label is nothing more than warm fuzzies. Patent lawyers insist a patent is filed before an idea is ever discussed outside the company. Production and sales before a patent filing? Selling a product before filing for a patent is a good way to lose the patent rights.


Tom


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Post 04 Sep 2022, 08:49 • #8 
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Hi Tom,
Thanks for your reply.
I have been pondering this for awhile and this morning, after reading the book again, I came up with an interesting hypothesis.
Per the book:
Don Jim Green invented the Feralite Ferrules in 1960. The patent was applied for in March 1962 and issued in June 1965.

Per the book: In 1966 Fenwick had 8 new rods including the FF60.

Fact: My FF60 had a D serial number. It also has a Patent Number on it.

Unless someone provides a D series rod with a Patent Pending label proving an in year label change, would imply that Fenwick started putting the Patent numbers on during the 1965-1966 production run.

My hypothesis is that the early Serial Numberings is actually a full year off.

I believe:
Don Jim Green invented the taper lock in 1960.
He started making rods and started labeling them Feralite around Dec 6 1961 per the government Trademark database. During that period they were not issued serial numbers but were labeled Pat Pend.
A Series 1962-1963. Official start of serial numbers with Patent Pending under the Feralite label near the ferrule with no instructions.
B Series 1963-1964
C Series 1964-1965

D Series. 1965-1966 revised label with instructions to apply paraffin and also Fenwick’s Patent Number applied.

E Series 1965-1966 same as above

F Series - I have no F series currently.

G Series-1967-1968.

H Series- I have no H series currently.

I will stop here noting that with the exception of the cross wrap thread difference in the G series, G through mid K have identical hardware, cork and distinctive thick rubber washer between cork and hook keepers.
The K period is when they transition from 2 to 3 digit model numbers occurs. This coincides with a new cork shape with a rounded nose and the change from the light gold anodizing reel seat with contrasting nuts and hoods to the all rich “lavender” hardware.

[Note: I've made two edits above with regards to the inventor of the Feralite ferrule. The Feralite trademark was first used to describe the lighter rod blank brought out first as the Supreme Quality Glass rod in 1960. Fenwick applied for the Feralite trademark before they applied for the ferrule patent. Much of this chronology is simply speculation. Tom]


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Post 04 Sep 2022, 09:20 • #9 
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Not sure why "A" but nothing says later day imposters can not be fabricated. Glo still anyone?


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Post 04 Sep 2022, 09:41 • #10 
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I think I accidentally deleted my response.
I am also puzzled by the A Serial number. The FF 70-4 should have come out around 1966.
As a custom fabricator fabricator, I believe it could done. But at what cost and what is the expected return on your labor.
But to forge this rod, one would need to start with 2 A series FF70s. Cut the tip and butt from one and use the middle section of the other. Fabricate two additional custom ferrules.
Re wrap and relabel to factory specs. This rod has the deep gold hardware with deep lavender reel seat.
Patina the rod, assemble and leave in The sun or under UV lightning to mimic the rod being lighter under the ferrules as if it was left outside assembled for a period of time.
This is not simply slapping an A serial number on a 1966 rod. Plus procure a vintage 4 pocket sock.
It would make more sense to sell the two FF 70s in their original state.
I doubt the gold/ anodized rode tube with the rubber end caps is original but it works perfectly for this purpose.
But I have seen photos of similar tubes for Fenwick pack rods. Probably later era product.


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Post 04 Sep 2022, 12:37 • #11 
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Location: Portland, OR
From my Feralite rods, I figured the Patent Pending marking disappeared around B15000. I don't have any marked this way after the FF70-4 below. I do have a NOS D series FF70 with no Patent Pending.

My favorite aspects of the early Fenwick's are the pumpkin color layup and the Mylar. The FF75 below is my latest Mylar Fenwick.

Fenwick FF80 No SN Patent Pending Mylar
Fenwick FF80 A6135 Patent Pending Mylar
Fenwick FF70-4 B13193 Patent Pending Mylar
Fenwick FF84 B18331 No PP Mylar
Fenwick FF75 B18628 No PP Mylar

Sandman


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Post 04 Sep 2022, 17:05 • #12 
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I also love the various “spiced pumpkin” colors depending on the amount of UV exposure.
My FF75 came with “teal” rod sock. It also has the extra Mylar wrap where the ferrule meets the lower piece. It looks like they attempted to make the rod look like a one piece but quickly figured out it wasn’t that easy to accommodate eventual wear in the ferrule.
Interesting point about the B Series. My highest number is a little over 13000. And I do not believe my C Series rod has any patent pending or even the Feralite label near the ferrule.


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Post 04 Sep 2022, 17:15 • #13 
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Joined: 04/18/20
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Location: Far Western 'burbs of Chicago
Beautiful collection! The FF90 in the last photo in particular catches my eye, however, all of them are lookers though.


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Post 04 Sep 2022, 20:28 • #14 
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I also have a certain affinity for the FF90.
It clearly signals a transition in Fenwick’s manufacturing technology. It also says big water, big trout and bass. It has a large diameter thin walled translucent butt that leans towards transparent. It has oversized cork handle and also heavy duty 7/8” diam oversized reel seat with its own unique colors combination. Not seen in any of my other rods but probably in later model saltwater and steelhead rods. At the same time it has a relatively small diameter tip to protect tippet.
I was mistaken when I earlier said it did not have Patent Pending markings. For whatever reason, they are a good 8” from the ferrule and close to the 2nd stripping guide.
.


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Post 04 Sep 2022, 22:43 • #15 
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Congratulations on the posted photos!

Don Green supplied Fenwick's rod blanks from the beginning (1955). Don owned Grizzly and built blanks for a large number of clients, but Fenwick became the bulk of his business. In 1959 Don developed a high pressure curing method that allowed the production of thinner walled blanks. This was eventually called the Feralite blank. Grizzly and Fenwick merged in the late 60s. When Woodstream bought Fenwick in 1978, Don Green left Fenwick to form his own rod company called Winslow. However, when the company name was confused with Winston, Don changed it to Sage.

Jim Green came to Fenwick when Cliff Brignall purchased the company in 1960. Fenwick employed Jim as a rod designer and production manager. Jim Green invented the Feralite Ferrule in 1960. The ferrule patent application was submitted on March 23, 1962 and issued on June 1, 1965. When the patent expired in 1982, many rod companies switched to tip-over-butt ferrules as soon as possible. Jim Green retired from Fenwick in the late 80s and became a consultant with Sage.

In summary, Fenwick had two innovations called Feralite. First, the thin walled rod blank that made Fenwicks stand out from other brands. The Feralite blanks were initially sold with metal ferrules. Second, the tip-over-butt Feralite ferrule that eliminated the metal ferrules and made rod production less expensive. Fenwick was off and running to be a top dog rod company for the next 12-15 years.


With further regard to serial numbers. The serial numbers didn't start with the FF series rods. According to Vic Johnson Jr's book Fenwick, the serial numbers were used to track when and where rods were made, guarantees, and manufacturing issues. The Fenwick factories were given large blocks of unique serial numbers. On all of my Fenwicks, the serial number is printed on a tape label that carries the Fenwick Eagle label and the serial number. I expect the tape labels were pre-printed and applied as rods were manufactured. I'm sure it was common for the assigned blocks to be used until they were consumed. Perhaps old batches of labels were found and used after a couple years on the shelf. Custom printing like that wasn't cheap. I seriously doubt old labels were thrown out at the end of a model year.

All indications are that the earliest Feralite ferrule rods were sold in the later part of 1962 (which should be B & C serial numbers). However, we see Feralite ferrule rods with A serial numbers. So rather than reinvent the entire serial number list, it is safest to simply note a Fenwick's serial number is a good guide to when a given Fenwick rod was built, but not an infallible guide. Take the serial number list with a big grain of salt.


Tom


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Post 05 Sep 2022, 04:56 • #16 
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Hi Tom,
Thanks again for providing great information.
I have an FF60 with a rather unique label.
It is a D Serial number. Unlike my C or E versions, it actually has the patent number printed between “Feralite “ and the Serial Number.
Given what you said about printing costs, wouldn’t this indicate that this was only used for the D series and that it would have to be done after the Patent was issued. Having a D series rod with the patent number printed in two pieces is pretty convincing to me that the D Series was manufactured in the 1965-1966 run. That is what I based my hypothesis on. I am also in the graphics industry and it would not make sense to use old labels and attempt to add additional tiny type. My guess is that this was eliminated after this one year. Looking closely with a magnifier, the labels were pre printed with the D and they applied the number after. The results show how challenging it can be to reregister correctly. But this rod also has a quite lengthy line recommendation also. With the additional code. Bold font capital A in front of the line recommendations.



Checking again, I have noted several E Series where the actual numbers are applied to a label with a pre printed E. Demonstrated by misalignment and and even different weights and fonts used. This would indicate that the labels in that period were bulk printed and then the numbers where applied at the various plants. This is not the same method as the A,B and C labels as you noted are all printed in sequential order and then distributed in blocks.
To be thorough , I went back to check additional rods. My source( (my collection) shows me that the practice of adding numbers to a pre printed label continues up through L. Since, I have no M to reference, the earliest record I have of it reverting back to an integrated label is with the N serials. Photos above of my reference archive. I wanted to put it below. Formatting with an IPhone is definitely more challenging than using a desktop computer.
Selecting and copying within the editing window does not seem to work for me yet.

Just when you think you have it figured out, something forces you to re evaluate.
This photo posted by another member contradicts that all the earlier labels where printed sequentiality. This earlier number A series shows signs that the actual numerals were added after the label was originally printed. There is a possibility that it was a two step process and the printer was seriously out of alignment. But that would not account for the perfect registration between the A and the number on my FF70-4.


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Post 05 Sep 2022, 07:43 • #17 
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It's pretty simple, to understand, really, and none of this is a fault of the product or the "system."

It appears to be a labeling system, but labels are also a marketing/sales tool. It is not entirely systematic, particularly in terms of serial production. The labels may have been sequentially/serially numbered but were batch produced. The rods the labels were applied to were not necessarily a matching run or produced in the same sequence.

Remember, "we reserve the right to change specifications without notice," a necessary adaptation in manufacturing of the time. Quite likely if you could ask 10 shop employees and 5 sales employees at the time every detail and sequence of the labels, they wouldn't agree on the details. And if you had all the rods (not a sampling, but literally all) produced in a year, you would find inconsistencies because that is consistent with manufacturing, sourcing, staffing, and marketing of the time, especially in a developing company moving rapidly to develop better and better products.


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Post 05 Sep 2022, 08:37 • #18 
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I fully understand how manufacturing and documentation works. And I understand mistakes. But that shouldn’t be a reason to ignore a large body of evidence that indicates otherwise. Forensics is a science and art based on recreating a sequence of events after the fact without having any written documentation.

I am going to end this discussion with one last observation about the Fenwick book.
This is still the best and most work on this subject at the moment at this point.
Glancing through the footnotes, I noticed there is a lot of credit given to interviews with folks almost 40 years after the fact. And memories fade. On page 168 he notes that per Phil Clock, he developed the Eagle Logo in late 1964. If that is correct, then every rod with a Fenwick Eagle logo up until Serial Number F was not made until 1965.
Since researching the history is part of my collecting and subsequently using fishing tackle of all types, years and materials, I am going to a little more diligent and pay closer attention to the footnotes. References to printed documents with verifiable date stamps are much more reliable and human memory. Concepts, yes. But few people remember actual dates and details as precisely as they they they do.
And also I understand your reluctance to seeing my perspective.

For the record, according to the United States patent and Trademark Office, the Fenwick Eagle Logo was first used in commerce on February 6, 1961.

The book says the S series was made in 1978-1979.
My two. S Series Woodstream has a registered trademark for the modified Fenwick Woodstream Eagle Logo . Woodstream filed the application on June 22,1982. And it was registered on Feb 8, 1983. We are talking almost a four year discrepancy.
I can understand using old labels but adding old serial numbers to new labels.


Last edited by Fredderf on 05 Sep 2022, 08:56, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 05 Sep 2022, 08:44 • #19 
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That's a cool perspective. Examining each tree tells something about the forest, but there is still the forest. Same art and science in anthropology, archeology, and so on. Sometimes more detail and purpose and structure is attributed to an artifact than it had in its own time. Sometimes a scratch in a rock is a scratch in a rock, or a piece of slate breaks off in a slide, looks like a serving platter, and was even used like one. Sand in a river polished it and rounded the edges, even. Or was a hand involved? Often there is no way to know, especially when people of the time don't know. It's fun to imagine and fun to try to figure out, even if being definitive is not possible. It sure can be a fun part of collecting.


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Post 05 Sep 2022, 11:05 • #20 
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I am not imagining. Explain to me the 4 years discrepancy between the Woodstream trade mark filling and the books saying they were made and labeled with a registered trademark earlier.

I can only present the information that I find.
And that is a pretty big grain of salt to swallow.

Instead of trying to convince people, I suggest everyone does their own research.

Tom provided the key in his post above.

If your rod has a Patent Pending label it was made after the application date. Look it up at USPTO.gov.
If it doesn’t, there is a possibility it was made at the Woodland plant before the Clock family suggest they patent the idea.
Read this interesting interview with Jim Green explains this.
Sexyloops.com/articles/jimgreen
If you have a Patent Number, your rod was made after the issue date. Look it up. USPTO. gov.
If your rod has a trademark logo. Indicated br an R inside a circle. Your rod was made after the trademark issue date. Look it up. USPTO .gov.

FYI
Feralite is both patented as an invention and As a registered trademark.
There are over fifty logo trademarks associated with the word Fenwick. Only about 1/2 dozen apply to these rods.


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Post 05 Sep 2022, 12:17 • #21 
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FYI, I have read most of those related to Fenwick fishing tackle, both patents and trademarks. Again, that doesn't mean that they were quite so systematically implemented, marketed, and distributed. Even some employees don't get the memo, nor does a patent or trademark examiner at a desk in DC check the backstock or the backroom in California for every claim. Even a "first used in commerce" date would be difficult to 100 percent verify at that time, never mind that it still is today with digital data. And of course that wouldn't always be essential, either.

"Feralite," for instance, might seem pretty clever, but who would argue about whether it was thought up in a certain month, or even year if no one else were trading on it anyhow? And if someone were checking patent applications and noticed an "error" like that, or later on in the patent application, who would bother to correct it--either as the process is in progress, or afterwards. Close enough is good enough and all that is expected on a lot of this stuff.

One artifact does not make a civilization. It may or may not be an anomaly.


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Post 06 Sep 2022, 02:07 • #22 
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Is this thing on?

Woodstream bought Fenwick in 1978. They began using the new Fenwick-Woodstream trademark in October, 1978 (see the corresponding Justia Trademark page). While trademarks and patents are handled by the same office, the laws governing them are very different. In the meanwhile, the original Fenwick eagle trademark was still valid. Thus, both labels are marked with ®. The following photo compares a Fenwick-Woodstream FF786 label (serial number S491xxx) and an couple years earlier FF805 label (serial number P105xxx).



After "U", the FF rods were not given serial numbers (~1981). I have a Fenwick-Woodstream rod with no serial number and a variation of the original Fenwick eagle trademark. The photo below shows an FF806 label (serial number L257xxx) and an FF807 with no serial number (bottom rod in the photo), but that does have a Fenwick-Woodstream label on the cork grip*. Also note, the details of eagle artwork are different between the two rods. The eagle artwork changed between the "L" labels and the "P" labels (see the photo above for the "P" label).



The next photo compares an FF86 with what I think is an "F" serial number (it could also be an "E") to an FF84 with a "J" serial number. The earlier rod has the Feralite ferrule patent number printed below the word FERALITE and above the serial number. In addition, the earlier label shows the word "fenwick" in blank ink, not gold. The eagle artwork is pretty much the same. I have an FF79 with an "E" serial number that does not have a patent number anywhere on the rod. I have an FF84 with an "E" serial number that only has the patent number on the ferrule decal, not on the serial number label. The ferrule patent was granted in mid 1965, which would match the labeling on my "E" and "F" rods.



Finally, we have an FF85 with an "H" serial number and an FF86 with an "I" serial number. While the "H" label retains the word FERALITE and the patent number, the word "fenwick" is printed in gold ink. Also note, while the "H" label does not have the ® marking, the "I" label does. The Fenwick eagle trademark was finally registered in mid 1968, accounting for the presence of the ® on the "I" label. The Fenwick eagle was first used in commerce in 1961, so it was developed before 1964 (see the corresponding Justia Trademark page).



What does all this mean? It means Fenwick had a lot of slightly different labels.

Fenwicks are not marked with manufacturing dates. The first letters of the serial numbers correlate with manufacturing dates, but not perfectly. Without the original Fenwick Great Big Book of Serial Numbers, the list from Vic Johnson's Fenwick continues to be the best information available. Nothing in this thread convinces me to the contrary.

Do the exact manufacturing dates matter? No, not really. The lower the first letter of the serial number, the older the particular rod of that model. Especially later in the series, the serial numbers correlate very well with production dates. The earlier serial numbers may not correlate as well, given the number of Feralite ferrule rods with "A" and "B" serial numbers. So take the serial number list with a large grain of salt, especially the early entries.


Tom

* Rods with these paper labels are best left as is. Removing the label will do more cork damage than leaving it.


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Post 06 Sep 2022, 22:59 • #23 
Guide
Joined: 07/12/22
Posts: 100
Woodstream began using the TM not the Registered Trademark R with circle in 1978. Look at the link you posted. The filling date was 1982.
The TM designation only indicates that you intend to use that brand. The registered trademark was not issued until 1983. They could not use it prior. I believe you educated me on the legal points of trademark and patent law. I had since saved photos of a over dozen S series rods (Fly and Spin) with the Registered Trademark and an S serial number.
I am starting to think Woodstream decided in 1978 that “S” meant Serial number and continued to use it. . But that is conjecture. Does it matter? Not really. But why have a forum to discuss collecting if we don’t care about any of the details.
As I suggested previously, let others do their own research. Going forward, I will keep my opinions to myself. Besides, it is getting close to fall stocking season at my fly fishing club and I am eager to start catching trout.
Plus I got my eyes on a couple of odd ball Fenwick rods that I need to focus on snagging. Lol.

And seriously, I am not being snarky about the details. I have also collected, restored and custom built several rare Italian and British motorcycles in my younger days. And still have a few in the garage even though I am to old to ride them. Maybe it is a European thing, but even before the Internet, there were always readily available detailed records of every part number revisions and cross reference exchange and often mechanical drawings. To me it is part of the fun. Having 3 manuals contradicting each other, forces one to think and decide for oneself and exercise a little critical thinking.


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Post 07 Sep 2022, 07:24 • #24 
Sport
Joined: 09/06/18
Posts: 45
Location: The Appalachian Mountains of WV/PA
Great thread. I really appreciate your perspective and find your observations useful and fun to ponder.

I've wondered myself as to some of my vintage customs why they have serial numbers and series letters stamped on them. I'm not sure if the hobby builder did it to look like a factory built Fenwick, if Fenwick did do some custom work at the factory, or if they stamped blanks with the same serial numbers and series letters.

I'm leaning towards the latter.


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Post 07 Sep 2022, 08:44 • #25 
Global Moderator
Joined: 04/20/07
Posts: 8588
Location: US-ME
Well, you can't find more order than there was. Couldn't give a better example than Italian and British motorcycles of the 60s. Well, maybe you could. Italian and British automobiles. "We reserve the right to change specifications without notice."

Sometimes within a company, they didn't even give each other notice of changes/variations. And sometimes they simply did not notice.

It is a fun part of collecting, that's for sure.


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