Thursday, 12 March 2015

Hardy reels (Perfects) face plate markings

Another way to help date your old Hardy Perfect reel is to carefully 'read' the face markings. Below, I'll show examples of reels from differing eras and the face markings you'd expect to see.
Combined with the check details (published HERE) you are now well on the way to accurately dating your reel.
Most of the information here is available on the Hardy Reels, A Collectors Guide DVD and I'd like to thank Ted and Dave Evans for this quality product.

1890/91 to 1896
Centre hole with Patent numbers on the raised boss encircling the hole ~
[I'd like to thank a certain collector and Angling Auctions for these images as I don't have ready access to many first model all brass Perfects]

1896 - 1905
Hardy's straight line, rod in hand and oval logos ~

All three logos may not always be present. 

Aluminium faces started coming into use during this period. 
The straight line and oval logos were used on many alloy faces ~

The rod in hand logo is rarer to find on these reels, but does occasionally appear ~

1896 - 1907
Saw the introduction of the small concentric circles around the flush centre boss (alloy reels) ~

Slight variations

 1907 - 1917
In 1907 Hardy Brothers became a Limited Company and the size and wording on the central concentric circles became larger diameter ~

1917 - 1920
Saw the centre boss slightly raised above the surface of the face plate; this could be brass or alloy ~

1921 - late 1940s
Saw the introduction of the curved 1/16" letters giving maker, patent numbers size etc around the circumference of the face plate ~

1950 - 1966
The curved lettering changed to straight line ~


I'll edit these details as better photos become available.
There will be reels which don't comply with all of the above, they all add to the fun of collecting.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Hardy Neroda Boxes

[a 2010 article - re-produced here purely for information]

Hardy Neroda Article, February 2010,  

(copyright Brian Taylor 2010)

Angling Collectables

Looking for something to collect? The sport of angling has long offered collectable accessories - vintage reels, fine split cane rods and beautifully tied flies immediately spring to mind. From Elfric the Abbot writing in his “Collequy” in the tenth century, via Dame Juliana’s “Treatyse of ffyshynge with an Angle” in 1496, to contemporary magazines, blogs and forums, anglers have long been fascinated by their equipment. Many of these ‘tools’ are useable assets and often prove to be good investments. Quality goods appreciate, remain collectable, and your grandchildren may one day be pleasantly surprised. The subject of this article is an object where there is a distinct possibility of getting that rare thing, a “full set”.

Most people, and all anglers, know the company - “Hardy Brothers of Alnwick”. A business established in the 19th century which has supplied Kings and scholars, Maharajas and dilettantes, Presidents and trout bums with some of the worlds finest fishing kit. First appearing in their 1934 Hardy’s Anglers’ Guide is the Hardy Neroda Fly Box. This Bakelite box was an improvement on their previous Japanned Tin fly boxes, which were prone to rusting and the japanning flaked off. The Neroda Fly Box continued to grace Hardy’s catalogues until at least 1963 and was gone by 1967.

Bakelite was the world's first synthetic plastic. Its electrical non-conductivity and heat-resistance made it suitable for many applications. Created by the Belgian inventor, Dr Leo Baekeland in 1907 it has been used for many things including electrical insulators, old radios and telephones, jewellery boxes, pipe stems, eggcups and salt and pepper pots. Polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydrideit or phenol formaldehyde (PF) as it is commonly called, with the application of heat and pressure becomes what we now call Bakelite.

After a lot of help from the British Plastics Historical Society, the conclusion is that Bakelite Ltd made these boxes. To quote Ian Holdsworth of the Plastics Historical Society: “The history of the Bakelite company is a little complicated and at this time (late 1920’s/early 30’s) you have to think of Bakelite Ltd. as a group or amalgamation of a number of different companies, including two moulding companies called Mouldensite Ltd and Redmanol Ltd. Both of these companies were absorbed under the Bakelite umbrella and produced quality moulded goods from Bakelite phenolic moulding powders. Either could have made your boxes although I favour Redmanol Ltd. in particular as it was famous for producing high quality mouldings - albeit now under the generic Bakelite Ltd. company name.”

We believe that the bare Bakelite boxes then went to Messrs Richard Wheatley at their Constitution Hill Works in Birmingham where they were fitted out. Wheatley were long established manufacturers of Fly clips and Leather Goods. During discussions with Clive Edwards, owner and curator of the Richard Wheatley Museum, he confirmed that they produced a number of items for Hardy Bros including block leather reel cases, fly and cast wallets and black japanned clip boxes. He also pointed out that Hardy’s Holdtite clips, as seen in the Neroda Fly boxes, could be found in some examples of Wheatleys own brand boxes.

Enough of the science, Hardy’s 1934 catalogue introduced the new product and showed 8 different boxes:

The boxes were available in two separate nominal sizes, 6 ¼” x 3 ¾” and 3 ⅞” x 2 ½”.

The ‘clip’ boxes varied in the number of clips, 40 & 119 in the larger boxes, and 51 in the smaller; note that these boxes also varied in thickness. The ‘dry fly’ details are self-explanatory and the boxes numbers 6, 7 & 8 are the ‘pipe cleaner’ boxes, as many refer to them.

"Pipe cleaner" box

In their 1937 catalogue Hardy introduced 5 new variants of the Neroda.

This included two additional clip boxes, 1A and 1B, both of the thinnest size. The 1A was for smaller salmon flies (singles rather than doubles), still with 40 clips, and the 1B with 70 clips.

Also added was box number 9, an asymmetrical ‘pipe cleaner’ box with one side deeper than the other, the idea being that larger winged flies didn’t get squashed.

The other two boxes were what Hardys called their ‘Kenya’ Neroda box, lined with soft rubber – a quite rare box to find in original condition.

Another variant is the relatively rare ‘Tube Fly Box’. (below)

These boxes continued to appear in Hardy’s Anglers’ Guides until 1963.

     Below, a rare “Neroda Tube Fly Box”
     (with thanks to John @ Mullocks Auctions)

 The Hardy Logo as it normally appears on the boxes (very rarely these can be found blank – see below)

Clip boxes in both sizes

a larger size “Dry Fly” box – the ‘lids’ are usually a slightly yellowish/clear Perspex type material with upturned lips to open them with, or occasionally, with nickel silver studs.

Neroda boxes were produced in two different colours, which most collectors refer to as ‘Oxblood’ and Tortoiseshell’; the ‘Oxblood’ boxes have always been slightly more collectable.
The two different colours - tortoiseshell and oxblood
                           below: a pair in ‘Tortoiseshell’ – note that the small box has an imprint but no ‘Hardy’ logo

            below: a pair of ‘Oxblood’ boxes
As well as these variations there are two types of hinge - brass and nickel silver, some with three screws per side and others with two.

Below,, a fine example of the “Kenya” Neroda box

 Below, 2 excellent examples of the “Tube Fly Box”
(courtesy of a Danish collector)

A pair of rare Salmon Fly, 40 clip, boxes with "gold plated" clip plates.
(courtesy of Mr D Deacon of Angling Antiques)

There are a number of other small variations, but I don’t want to completely ruin another fun part of collecting which is the research.
As anyone who collects ‘Hardy’ equipment, whether it be reels, rods or anything else, will tell you that once you think you have it all figured out a new example will appear that contradicts all that you previously believed.

I would add that Hardy have recently re-introduced a new Neroda box to their range. They are produced in two versions, a green and a brown mottled ‘tortoiseshell’ pattern, distinguished from the older ones by a circular gold Hardy logo and lined with foam. This is a different animal to the one discussed above and, whilst it may become collectable in years to come, it is not within the scope of this article

© Brian Taylor, February 2010

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Richard Wheatley Fly Boxes, Made in UK

Wheatley fly boxes are THE fly box . . . . . . and have been since the company began trading over 150 years ago with their leather “fishing pocket books”; and going on to supply all the great names in fly fishing.

I usually have a few new, and occasional used, boxes for sale on ebay at competetive prices - ebay user ~ enigma309.
If anyone wants to buy direct, I'm happy to do a deal reflecting ebay fees :-)   Contact Me

If there are other Richard Wheatley products you would like, let me know, I'll see what I can do,
There are several great looking products coming soon!

I've recently found a very capable engraver and am happy to offer this additional service, if required; a couple of examples shown below ~

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Paradigm shifts and fishing tackle

In 2006 Daniel Nissanoff predicted the massive rise in online trading . . . and more. In “Futureshop” he described how we were moving from a consumer culture based on legacy values – “these values have taught us to acquire new things and then grow old with them.” (as our ancestors did) to a new lifestyle based on “temporary ownership and marked by the continuous replacement of our personal possessions.”

Whilst Daniel’s book was about the online revolution which was gaining pace in 2006, the ebay story, and how businesses were adapting to accommodate online buying and selling, it was also about the changing attitudes of buyers in a global marketplace (us!)

One example he used was the Bugaboo Stroller (pushchairs in England), “the Porsche of the stroller world”. Previously only bought by the seriously wealthy; [more expensive than a Hardy Perfect!] in the new auction culture buying one made lots of sense. You could enjoy the pleasure, and baby’s comfort, of using it . . . . then auction it online when no longer needed. Also, there were no longer hang-ups about buying such items second hand. Win, win.

It’s been an interesting eight years since Daniel wrote his book. Ebay has almost become what Amazon was; it seems there are more businesses selling on there than individuals. Oddly, Amazon now provides a vehicle for, and encourages, individual sellers.

The online auctions suffered over the intervening years because they weren’t monitoring who or what was sold; and certainly didn’t have the specialist knowledge needed to do this. This saw the fraudsters and dodgy dealers take advantage, and use the medium to rape collectors and serious anglers. This scared many off.

The traditional live auctions fail to cater to the instant gratification required by today’s typical buyer. Who wants to wait six months for the next auction sale knowing that there will only be two winners when the hammer falls; one of those being the auctioneer? An auctioneer once told me that sometimes he had to “bounce the odd one off a wall” if he saw an enthusiastic bidder.

A friend summed it up when he said, “today’s collector is an ordinary Joe with a decent occupation and some disposable income.” He wants to use quality kit, and buy it ‘now’ at a fair price. For it to arrive in a couple of days, knowing it’s correct and has been checked over by someone who has some knowledge of the product . . . and know that a couple of years down the line he can sell it and upgrade to the latest ‘must have’. If he’s chosen wisely, and the market wind is in his favour, he may even sell at a profit; worst-case scenario, a minimal financial loss to balance against the pleasure of use and ownership.

This is the global marketplace we now exist in. Collectors/anglers come from all corners of the globe, some in places where it’s hard to imagine fly-fishing being part of the culture. Yet, the world is becoming a tiny place. We can now be fishing in Mongolia, Patagonia or New Zealand in not much longer than it used to take to travel to the north Scottish rivers.

Just as you can only make one first impression, trust is only broken once. It’s a vital element of our business and we intend to maintain it as we go forward.

It’ll be fascinating to see what the next eight years brings us.

©Brian Taylor 2014

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Hardy Reel Checks.

A question often asked, but not always understood, is what is the difference between the various Hardy reel checks?

Hopefully the photos below will begin to answer the question.
Please note that the displayed checks are the Hardy Perfect version, other models were sometimes slightly different.
All comments and corrections welcomed btw.

Early Check ~ around 1890 t0 1896

 1896 Check ~ 1896 - 1904

1904 (some say 1905) check ~ 1904 - 1911

1912 Check ~ 1911 - 1917

Duplicated Mk1 check ~ 1917 - 1922

Duplicated Mk11 ~ 1922 to 1927 (non-engagable spare)

Duplicated Mk11 ~ 1927 to  . . post WW2

 Compensating Check Mechanism

A variation as used on the LRH etc.

Another variation - as used on the Golden Prince among others

And for fun, a few silent options

There are numerous other variations. As time permits, and I get the chance to photograph examples, I will add them here. 

All comments welcomed, and photos of variants too.