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Bristol Rods
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2000-2003 Phil White

Bristol Steel Rods

The "bread and butter" of the Horton manufacturing company was their Bristol steel rods. The company was named in honor of the inventor of it's first product, Everett Horton. Horton wanted to fish on Sunday, and the Puritanical village of Bristol, Connecticut, didn't like Sunday slackers. Horton solved his dilemma with the easily carried (and hidden) telescopic steel rod.

Through the years the Horton Mfg. Co. produced many varieties of steel rods, but the one that still evokes the most interest from collectors is the offspring of Everett's original design, the rod with the line running through it, instead of through outside mounted guides. These rods were manufactured in Bait Rod and Fly Rod versions, and many different length and designs. Although Horton dreamed up his idea in the 1880s, these rods were still popular enough to be listed in catalogs in the 1930s. They were a wonderful rod to poke through a hole in the brush to snag wary small stream trout, for the line couldn't catch on branches.  

There were many other very high quality tubular steel rods manufactured by Horton throughout their lifespan, but the only other one that is avidly sought by knowledgeable steel rod addicts is the Bristol Deluxe. This is a rod with silk winding the full length of the rod, and a wonderful pigskin case.   

bristo1.jpg (13140 bytes) A couple of bait rods on top, and two fly rods below. These rods have no guides, the line runs through the center of the rod and out the open tip. They are classics.
bristo2.jpg (20356 bytes) A Bristol Rod advertisement from 1915. This is a painting by Philip R. Goodwin that was also used as the 1915 calendar top. To see more of the Bristol calendar art check out the advertising page. 
bristo3.jpg (22501 bytes) This is a Bristol Deluxe casting rod. It was also made in a fly rod version. It came in the wonderful lined pigskin case shown with the rod. This rod had the finest agate guides set in German silver mountings. The rod even came with two tips. These rods are rare.

Notes

The Bristol Steel Rod was probably the most popular casting rod in the country in the early part of the 1900s. These were quality steel rods, with fine fittings.

These rods are stiff in comparison to some of today's rods, but so were bamboo rods of the same period.

 

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