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.
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
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
||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.
||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
||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.
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