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The Fenwick Voyageurs
Post 13 Sep 2022, 20:02 • #1 
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Joined: 07/12/22
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I have recently been looking closely at this series of rods.
I have a G series (66-67 according to the book) with a TM mark and a couple with Registered trademarks ( an N and and R). Plus some without Serial Numbers.

But according to the US Trademark application, first use was May 1, 1969. Registered trademark was issued in 1971.
Was Fenwick that bad at recording information?
Did the lawyers just make up these dates?
Just an interesting observation as I continue to collect and accumulate rods.




I


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Post 14 Sep 2022, 00:01 • #2 
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Location: Holly Springs, NC
It would help greatly if you could post photos of the rod labels you are looking at.


Tom


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Post 14 Sep 2022, 11:20 • #3 
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Yes, pics. I don't think it is a case of being "bad" at recording dates or lawyers making things up. Casual record keeping may have been all that was necessary. You would have to look at all the patent/trademark notes and follow-up proceedings to see if Fenwick or anybody else modified or purposefully corrected such "errors," if that is what they are. Essentially, unless a patent or trademark claim were contested, such details wouldn't be material. Even if there were competing claims from another company, various details still may not have needed to be resolved as part of any settlement. That's a lot of research. Errors along the way are still likely, but unlikely to be significant. Realize that what marketing says, product development says, production says, and management says is not always the same, nor needs to be--even when that's three people handling the whole operation.

Also, remember, that mix and match repair/replacement was done, if not always by Fenwick, by others, so a multi section rod may not be in its original form. Heck, rod sections could even get mixed up in store inventory, mismatched, and sold.


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Post 15 Sep 2022, 20:45 • #4 
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I will post some photos over the weekend.
I just got another G Series FF 90-3 Voyaguer
today. It also has a G Serial number. And a Voyaguer label with a Trademark. Not a registered Trademark.
On page 99 and also 132 of the Fenwick book it even says the Voyaguer Series was introduced and given the name in 1970. Which agrees with the Trademark paperwork. So even the book has contradicting information.
And I also got another D Series today with a Feralite Patent No. that was not issued until June 1965 which probably means the stickers needed to get printed and probably only started getting put on later in the year.
But you are correct, it is not enough to just pick and choose data.
Searching pre 1975 is not as easy as later year patents. You can only search by Issue date, Patent Number and Us Classification Code. But once you find one document, it is relatively easy to find out the entire history including all of the changes and transfers of ownership and even licensing. Woodstream has probably more activity when it comes to modifying and adding Trademarks. They also seemed to have more details even noting their various logo modifications. Going so far as putting a golf club where the fly rod should be. Blasphemous. There are many cross reference data points but it is important to be thorough. While errors may occur, with all the owners and scanned and linked documents, it is statistically unlikely that a large amount of inconsistency would occur.
And because I am a little OCD, I not only read but download the entire histories. Sometimes 15-20 documents per entry(change). Which adds up quickly.

I will eventually compile my findings in a database. But right now I am actually pretty impressed/ confused about the high rate of inconsistency I am finding in a relatively small random sampling considering how many of these were made.
And I do think there is a way to date this with reasonable accuracy. I just currently think it is not being done the best way at the moment.
I believe that most changes happened in a linear manner. Visible if you lay out 30 rods in a row and group according to reel seat.
This includes the reel seat colors, front of the grip, hook keepers, the cross wraps, Eagle logo, patent markings and guides. But they happen in staggered intervals with a lot of overlap.
I think the most difficult to date are the transition points where they might be using up old stock. But those could also be given a range of plus or minus a year.
But I have aways to go. Still missing examples of F, H,M, P, T and U.
I would appreciate if forum members have any of these that they post photos of all of the identifiers listed above.
Actually I also would appreciate all photos of the other letters also. The bigger the pool, the better it is.
And also Classic Glass. Not Fenglass.
I already have 4 distinct versions including the Japanese market with the lighting warning , a SpinFly and an FF756-4. Some with and without cross wraps. only one has the E glass label.
Thanks.
As a post note: I just physically verified that only the multiple piece (over 2) have identifying labels beyond the first ferrule. Due to the short butt section. So while it might apply to those rods, in the majority of the instances, a mismatched tip should not hinder dating based on characteristics. Even guide changes only occur in the stripping guides and not the snake eyes or tip.


Last edited by Fredderf on 16 Sep 2022, 11:45, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 16 Sep 2022, 02:04 • #5 
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I have a G serial number FF85-5, which would correspond to a 1967 model year, according to the serial number list. Fenwick transitioned from two digit model numbers to three digit model numbers between 1972 and 1973.

The rod has a Voyageur label with a TM marking, indicating the mark had not been registered yet. As Fredderf noted above, the Justia trademark page for the Voyageur trademark lists the first commercial usage as May 1969. The trademark was registered May 1971. That would imply a build after May 1969 but before May 1971 (or until the TM stickers ran out).



Finally, the rod came in a triangular plastic case with a red nylon rod bag. The case and bag fit the rod. The case is marked FF85-5 in red ink on the rod cap. The triangular plastic cases came out in late 71/early 72.



So as usual, what does this mean? I don't know either. The butt section diamond wrap style implies a late 60s build, not early 70s. That style wrap was used on early rods through those with H serial numbers, but not afterwards. Perhaps the rod was repaired at some point and a Voyageur label was applied to the new section. Maybe the case and bag were purchased after the originals were lost. Whatever the age, this poor rod did not have an easy life. The male ferrules are excessively scarred. Someone over coated the wraps with a finish that left the rod smelling like baby vomit. Opening the rod tube is not a pleasant experience.


Tom


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Post 16 Sep 2022, 11:03 • #6 
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Thanks Tom for the Justia link.
While it doesn’t actually let you see the scanned documents, or the assignment history, it is a great tool to do initial research and then use the Serial and Registration Nos and classification codes to access scanned images of the logos on the USPTO site.

As an FYI, something to be aware of when logo researching.

When the trademark mark is applied for, the submitted logo image is either the pre-application or TM version. For whatever reason, the version with the Registration Mark that is actually applied to the product never gets recorded. And sometimes variations get created in the process. But they often show up in later entries when the rights are sold, licensed or the logo is further modified.

Footnote: My FF85 G has a green plaid sock, and an aluminum tube. Plus the Voyager TM logo.


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Post 16 Sep 2022, 11:05 • #7 
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Joined: 06/16/05
Posts: 2425
Location: Georgia
FWIW, my “G” FF80-4 does not bear a Voyageur label. The serial number is considerably less than Tom’s, 68xxx.
The “H” FF70-4 does a Voyageur label, with the TM as in Tom’s picture.

As to what that means, I have no idea. I like both of the rods.


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Post 16 Sep 2022, 11:44 • #8 
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Joined: 07/12/22
Posts: 100
Can you post a couple of photo of your H.
Closeups of reel seat, grip check/winding check (not sure if that is the correct name), hook keeper, cross wraps, Eagle logo, Serial number, Feralite label and any other markings or labels.
I would greatly appreciate it.


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Post 16 Sep 2022, 17:46 • #9 
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Joined: 04/20/17
Posts: 361
Location: Portland, OR
Fred, only have two M series fly rods of the letter series' you mentioned you didn't have. First four photos are a NOS FF805. Second four are a FF755. Both M series.

Sandman


















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Post 16 Sep 2022, 22:05 • #10 
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Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 2449
Location: US-CO
The four piece Fenwicks I have are an FF-70-4, an FF-75-4, an FF-756-4, and an FF-806-4.

The FF-70-4 has the early "skinny" braid wrap, a loop hook keeper, is an E-series rod, and the wider gold-colored reel seat.

The FF-75-4 has the early "skinny" braid wrap, a loop hook keeper, is an E-series rod, and the narrower gold-colored reel seat. The name of the rod, weight, and line recommendation are hand-scribed on this rod.

The FF-756-4 has the later braid wrap, a square hook keeper, no production year letter or serial number, the brown/purple reel seat, and a Voyageur label

The FF-806-4 has the later braid wrap, a square hook keeper, production series "L", the brown/purple reel seat, and a Voyageur label


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Post 17 Sep 2022, 10:18 • #11 
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Thanks Sandman,
The Serial Number and hook keepers provide the first instance of what I have suspected.
I have yet to find any hardware, or label changes that doesn’t follow sequentially the Alpha Numerical numbering system. I have observed mid Serial NO changes in other components but this is the first for hook keepers. The early M shares the keeper of the L Series and the later of the N Series.
And I am not saying this has not happened. But my current reference is a true random sampling of over 30 rods. Each uniquely acquired from different individuals all over the country. With the exception of a few for esthetics, they were only chosen for their Model Numbers , not physical characteristics.

Unfortunately, I need to attend a service for an old friend today and won’t get to post photos until possibly tomorrow.

Thanks again for the photos.

I will need to retract and edit this later. It seems that there are now examples of both L and M Series having both loop and square hook keepers. Serial Numbers would be helpful. My Ls are 225096 and 289562 with loop. Thanks

Also whe people say early “Skinny” wraps. When I post photos it is clear these are at least 5 versions of the cross wraps. Distinguished not only by width but by the actual ribbon weave.


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Post 17 Sep 2022, 19:00 • #12 
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Joined: 07/27/21
Posts: 37
Location: WV,MD,NC,SC,TN,NY but mostly PA
These threads are interesting.
Ultimately I think you will never truly figure out everything you are looking for but interesting none the less.

I love Fenwicks !


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Post 18 Sep 2022, 16:48 • #13 
Master Guide
Joined: 02/22/07
Posts: 828
Location: Out West
I guess all this detail might be ultra interesting to some folks, but does it really matter all that much if a person really likes their old Fenwick?

IMHO, the "vintage" Fenwicks are fishing tools and should be enjoyed as such. For what it's worth...


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Post 18 Sep 2022, 17:51 • #14 
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Location: Relocated to the Drought Stricken West.
Leo Creek, to each his own, I appreciate someone jumping in and adding more knowledge to the group. The Fenwick book has been held as the bible, not because it's the best, but because it's the best we've had. Have fun fishing your old Fenwicks. They are great rods.


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Post 18 Sep 2022, 19:28 • #15 
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Joined: 02/22/07
Posts: 828
Location: Out West
I hear you you. Carlz, but it just seems to me like a bit of nit picking about what details were published in the “bible”, particular catalog years, etc. Like I said, some folks find this ultra interesting…and controversial as well. Like you said, to each their own. That’s all I have to say.


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Post 26 Sep 2022, 19:57 • #16 
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Not that it matters much to this thread. But I just recently came across an affidavit signed by Philip Clock and 4 lawyers swearing under penalty of perjury as to the first use of the Feralite logo. Bear in mind, this has nothing to do with the patent for the “taper lock” that came to be known as the Feralite Ferrule”.
This was prior to the publication of the application of the trademark for public review and dissent. While I understand your earlier point that record keeping was somewhat lax, I do not think that they would just make up specific dates. In fact, I believe these dates matched the actual production and marketing dates in the company archives and records.
But not necessarily what was published in the book.


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Post 30 Sep 2022, 23:54 • #17 
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Joined: 01/04/18
Posts: 279
Location: Belair Maryland/Swanton Maryland
Fredderf ,
Your definitely a certified Fenwick Fiend ..
I’m lovin the deep dive your doing ..
Keep digging ..keep diving and find those sweet tid bits that the really hardcore Fenwick collector and angler can appreciate.
I know I appreciate it .
This kind of stuff is what makes the Vintage Glass Game so awesome.
Just as someone writes the book on something a new chapter is unearthed..
Rod Archeologists..
I dig it .
I think your handle should have been..
FenwickFred or FreddieFenwick.. :)
Looking forward to some more of your findings
Scotto


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Post 01 Oct 2022, 07:23 • #18 
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Lot of easier ways to make the head spin, but this one is fun and safe. Did you search the Fenwick Eagle trademark? If not, that might give some more clues. It seems to be consistent in its first use date, well before the filing or issuing. Note the drawing and design codes. it includes the word and image of an eagle perched on a fishing rod.



Word Mark FENWICK
Goods and Services IC 028. US 022. G & S: FISHING RODS. FIRST USE: 19610201. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19610206
Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code 03.15.01 - Eagles
03.15.19 - Birds or bats in flight or with outspread wings
03.15.24 - Stylized birds and bats
21.03.08 - Fish nets ; Fishing hooks ; Fishing lures ; Fishing rods ; Fishing tackle ; Hooks, fishing ; Lures, fishing ; Nets, fish ; Reels, fishing ; Tackle, fishing
Serial Number 72271698
Filing Date May 17, 1967
Current Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Change In Registration CHANGE IN REGISTRATION HAS OCCURRED
Registration Number 0851374
Registration Date June 25, 1968


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Post 01 Oct 2022, 10:02 • #19 
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It is in my opinion, it is more fun to find the original documents. then follow the breadcrumbs.
I was about to post a cross reference chart showing all 7 variants of the Eagle Logo (only those used on the FF Series) but Tom's post a few back gave me a new theory on the Voyageur mystery that may apply to other rods. I have two Voyageurs with the same identifiers and also very close high G serial numbers.

According to the legal papers, there should be two variants and also the Woodstream version of the Eagle
Woodstream trademarked both the later and also theirs. I just haven't figures out what the second variant is.



I was leaning towards the transition when the word "Feralite" was removed and the black Fenwick wording was changed to gold text. But that further complicates the dates.

Someone needs to reply before I can post more Voyageur photos to a new post below.


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Post 01 Oct 2022, 10:27 • #20 
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Joined: 05/20/12
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Location: Eugene, OR
The last series to use an all-black Fenwick logo, before the gold, was F (presumed 1965-66). That’s my personal favorite year, cosmetically and otherwise, for the Feralite series. Simple “microstyle” typeface on the labeling, no gold, dark root beer colored glass.


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Post 01 Oct 2022, 11:14 • #21 
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That is the record of the trademark. Just faster to copy in without the word and drawing. Included enough to search further if
the use of the eagle image with "Fenwick" would help discern Voyageurs. It is earlier than the full document page above. If you look it up by number, you'll see that it notes revisions/variations in use since the original trademark. The actual term "Fenwick Eagle" was also trademarked later than either example.

And different than a simple "typed drawing" trademark as here:

FERALITE
Goods and Services (CANCELLED) IC 028. US 022. G & S: FISHING RODS. FIRST USE: 19611201. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19611206
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 72271697
Filing Date May 17, 1967
Current Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition January 16, 1968
Registration Number 0846993
Registration Date April 2, 1968
Owner (REGISTRANT) FENWICK PRODUCTS, INC. CORPORATION WASHINGTON 1207 EUCLID AVE. LONG BEACH CALIFORNIA 90804

When you don't have a loaf, you have to follow the crumbs to see if there is or was one. The crumbs may not all be from the same loaf. And you can't throw out a crumb until certain the loaf wasn't half-baked.

I guess it would be fun to see if the document covers--they can be a pain in the neck to open and display--compare with the record of trademark data.
There's plenty to follow up on, plus understand what patent and trademark lawyers get paid for. Looks like the 1961 .... first use date is consistent among these. On with the Voyageur mystery.


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Post 01 Oct 2022, 12:16 • #22 
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" For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong." H.L Mencken

Before I post my theory based on my own manufacturing experience regarding why there seems to be at least three G Series rods with the same identifiers that would indicate they were made and labeled in the same production batch but do not fit precisely in the timeline, I will digress into a little finance and accounting.

Tom has a G 166168

I have have a G 157303 and a G 166130.
Presumably made in 1966-1967 tackle year.



I agree with everything in Tom's post except for his comment on the wraps. I believe these are a version common only to this "batch"

Look closely at the FF90- and FF85-5.
Subtle but distinctly different.



I have never seen a Serial Number lower than 1000. Someone just posted a B 1962. Maybe they started at 1 but starting at 1000 does not change anything.

Lets assume they made and labeled at least 165166 rods that year.
And Fenwick sold rods both retail and wholesale.
Worst case they sold all rods to retailers at 50% retail.
Approx. $25.00 each.
This is based on previous catalogs when they were either custom order or "Travelers"






That would mean $4,129,150 in Gross sales if they sold them that year.
Except company records only show about $800K in sales in 1967.



My belief is these were unsold overstock and possibly had the Voyaguer labels added when the Marketing Dept figured out a way to rebrand or quite possible that they made way to many G series labels and used them on actual later rods.

I am still pondering that one.


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Post 01 Oct 2022, 16:32 • #23 
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Mencken was a great contrarion, that's for sure. But his point starts with a "complex problem.." There isn't a complex problem here, just gaps of information. Intricate, yes. Complex, no. These are fishing rods with component parts and variant marketing. You can keep putting details together from documents, but not from details that are unlikely to be available, and even if they were, a seamless system would not be found, nor would every change be strategically or functionally purposeful. Design, sourcing, manufacture, finish and packaging just weren't as well coordinated--nor could be--as serial production today, which will also have its gaps and marketing contradictions. So as in many cases, the simplest answer is often the best one, short of "we don't know and can't find out." Gosh there is a lot to read just in the patent and trademark evolution, references, and so on.


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Post 01 Oct 2022, 19:00 • #24 
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I agree with you that there is not a seamless solution. And there is not really an answer. No one will be able to actually say when their rod was made. But with knowledge and data, they might be able to say when it should not have been. And like fly fishing, it is a constant pursuit of new techniques and experiences.
But to see individuals on this forum and even on other forums quote information as fact only because someone published it 15 years ago 40 years after the fact seems disingenuous. For some having a 60’s muscle car is great. For others having a limited edition 64 1/2 Mustang is even better. But even the VIN plate doesn’t prove that it really is. It could of been a replaced sometime in the past after an accident. I don’t really think having the answer is the goal. Like reading pocket waters, the more you become familiar with your tools, for some, the better the experience.


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