Friday, July 25, 2008

South Bend Pike-Oreno Wooden Lure

Grading lures can be difficult and it takes experience to do it properly. A good way to gain experience is to view lures in person in all the various condition stages. Or if you are like me utilized the NFLCC Lure Grading system. It is a 1 to 10 grading system. If the numerical scale condition needs further clarification a 1/2 can be added to the end. You may also add + or - to the regular description, example AVG+ or AVG-. The system is printed below for your use.

#10 - New in Box (NIB) Unused with original box or carton
#9 -Mint (M) Unused without box or carton
#8 -Excellent (EXC) Very little age or no paint cracks, very minor defects
#7 -Very Good (VG) Little paint cracks, some minor defects
#5 to 6 -Good (G) Some paint cracks, starting to chip, small defects
#3 to 4 -Average (AVE) Some paint loss and /or chipping; showing age.
#2 -Fair (F) Major paint loss and/or defects; major chipping
#1 -Poor (P) Parts missing, poor color and/or major chipping
#0 -Repaint (R) Original paint covered over in part or all.

The pictured lure is a South Bend Pike-Oreno Lure made out of wood with tack eyes. It measures 3 ¾ inches long and has two prong hooks secured by metal encasing within the wood that are not painted dating to 1915 to 1933. The color is a yellow body with a red head and black around the eyes. There are areas of lost paint and crazing throughout the body. It remains shiny, but it starting to dull with age. There are no missing pieces to this lure and it has not been restored in any way. I guess I would give it an average grade.

Mr. F.G. Worden from South Bend, Indiana began making lures around c.1894. The exact time is unknown. Mr. Worden started producing his baits in a two story house in South Bend. He was the inventor of Bucktail Baits and soon was nicknamed Mr. Bucktail. In the early 1900's it is believed that he made an agreement with William Shakespeare Jr. to share his bucktail design. In 1902 Shakespeare came out with an aluminum version of the Revolution lure with the Worden Bucktail design.

In 1909 three people, F.A. Bryan, F.L. Denis and B.W. Oliver did all of the work making and distributing their products. These gentlemen brought in investors from Chicago and formed the South Bend Bait company in 1909. By this time Mr. Worden had grown into a large tackle company. In 1910 they brought in a man named Ivar Hennings. He had an ability to organize and implement new ideas. He then built a new factory and moved the company to Colfax Avenue in downtown South Bend, Indiana. By 1915 they had fifty women working on the assembly line and fifteen salesmen distributing their products in the U.S., Canada and France.

The wooden baits were made of red cedar. The wood was produced by the South Bend Dowel Works. Each piece of wood was chemically treated to prevent the swelling of the wood and protect the enamel finish from cracking. Only hand welded hooks that were imported from England were used. The hooks and hardware were nickel plated. Each wooden lure required at least fifty operations. Twenty-five thousand deer tail, used to produce Bucktail lures were stocked.

Since South Bend began making baits and into the forties the company was very prosperous. They grew from one floor of the Electric building in downtown South Bend, to a 55 thousand square foot space in 1936. A ten thousand square foot addition was done in 1941. During WW II the company’s factory was used towards the war effort and after the war fishing tackle production started up again. In 1947 the Fishing Tackle Company of Americas was founded as an affiliate with 20,000 square feet of production in Maquoketa, Iowa to produce South Bend lures. By 1949 they had grown to 100,000 square feet and more warehouse space was purchased in Iowa.

By 1952 South Bend was once again in full production of their fishing tackle following WWII. Harold O. Stream was now President of the company. In December of 1954 William Martindill became President of the company and Harold O. Stream was Chairman of the Board. The South Bend Bait Company changed its name to the South Bend Tackle Company in 1955. The general offices, service center and warehousing remain in South Bend. The manufacturing plants were in Maquoketa, Spencer and Estherville, Iowa. In 1957 William Martindill resigned and Gerard W. Brooks became President of the South Bend Tackle Company.

The South Bend Tackle Company was sold to Seymour and Benjamin F. Fohrman in 1958. Mr. Fohrman had other interests in companies such as The South Bend Toy Manufacturing Company and the South Bend Tool and Die Company. Following the purchase of the company Gerard Brooks resigned and Seymour was then in charge of the company. A few years later Seymour moved the company's headquarters to Chicago, Illinois. The company address was 6710 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago. In 1962 the South Bend Tackle Company returned to South Bend. All of the company's operations were then consolidated at 1108 S. High Street, South Bend, Indiana.

Through the sixties the company went through some management changes and in 1964 South Bend was sold to the B.F. Gladding & Co. which was a well known maker of casting and fly lines. In the seventies the company went through hard times and had limited presence in the market.

In 1981 two families from Chicago took a chance and purchased the South Bend Company. They recruited Kel Krotzner as president who was the former head of sales of the company. South Bend no longer made their famous traditional lures after 1982 when Luhr-Jensen & Sons purchased the rights for the Oreno line of lures. Through the 80's and early 90's the company experienced good growth. South Bend is still located in Northbrook, Illinois. Today South Bend is still manufacturing rods, reels and terminal tackle under the guidance of president Jim Pickering.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Brief History of Inarco, Lefton, and Napco

This porcelain egg was produced by the International Art Ware Corporation in the early 1960’s. It is designed with ornate and floral lines all around the piece in the colors blue, gold, and white. The top is molded like an egg that has been cracked open and is hollow inside. The bottom is footed and marked with Inarco Japan and the number E-3131. This piece is free from chips, cracks, crazing, or loss of paint and measures 5 inches tall and 11 inches around.

The Inarco Company known as International Art Ware Corporation started in Cleveland Ohio, and was founded by Irwin Garber in 1960. The company began with the name International Art ware Corporation, better known as INARCO. A designer by trade, Garber had a penchant for the artistic side of figurines; indeed, his own wife, Roselle, is believed to have been a model for a number of the company's head vases. In its beginnings, the company imported ceramic and glass floral containers and giftware. In 1986, INARCO moved to Jacksonville, Florida, after it was purchased by Japanese giftware distributor, Napco.

The Lefton Company was founded in 1041 by George Lefton. He was a Hungarian immigrant who arrived in Chicago in 1939. Although his background was in marketing and designing specialty clothing, he had a passion for collecting fine porcelain. Lefton traveled to Japan in 1945 to seal an importing agreement and the first Lefton China product marked "Made in Occupied Japan" reached the United States in 1946.

Over the years the Lefton Company has produced numerous products that are highly sought after by collectors including: cookie jars, holiday items, figurines, teapots, jam jars, planters, pitchers, shakers, Red Hat pieces, wall pockets, head vases and lighthouses. At one point in time, over 10,000 retail shops carried Lefton products nationwide.

Vintage Lefton products have a wide variety of marks and many times a paper label. Marks include the words Lefton, Lefton China, Geo. Z. Lefton, G.Z.L., as well as just the letter "L".
The Lefton Company was purchased by OMT Enterprises in 2005 and moved to California. Today's Lefton products include the ever popular Lighthouse series and adorable Christopher girl birthday figurines. Some vintage Lefton pieces are ornate with gold trim, lots of flowers and look like they might have been made two centuries ago, or perhaps a collector might be drawn to the cute and whimsical salt and pepper shakers or wall pockets that are the stuff of the 1950s. It's all appealing to vintage collectors and today's lighthouses are just as avidly collected by folks who are most likely not aware of the rich history of the Lefton Company.

The NAPCO Company or National Potteries Corporation is located in Bedford, OH and began production of Porcelain and Glass in 1938. Ceramic pieces sold by Napco (National Potteries Corporation) are distinctive and popular again today. Since its prolific output of the 1950s and 1960s, Napco has held the interest of collectors because the ceramic items are consistently well-designed.

Owned and operated in the Midwest, Napco distributed a variety of collectibles, including decorative wall accessories, ashtrays, ceramic and wood house wares, floral arrangements, ceramic planters, decorative glass, novelty figurines, mugs, trivets, and Christmas ceramics. Napco used a wide array of marks for its head vases—some transfer marks and some paper labels. The paper labels feature various wording, such as: "A Napco Collection," "Napco originals by Giftware," "National Potteries Co., Cleveland, OH, Made in Japan," and "Napcoware, Import Japan."

Sunday, July 6, 2008


The cook stove is the great conservator of the health, and comfort and in a great measure also, of the very happiness of the household. It should be deservedly one of the most ornamental pieces of furniture. The Company realized its status and the importance of its responsible duties being properly performed. They have spared no pains, nor study, nor expense to bring it to that degree of perfection which its importance demands. That their efforts have been properly appreciated is evidenced by the rapid growth of their business, which has grown to more than ten times its original proportions. Having adopted the name, Arlington, all their stoves are classified under that title. Their extensive sale of the Arlington Cook Stove in all sections of the country sufficiently attests it popularity and its merit. Its symmetrical proportions give it an elegant appearance unsurpassed by any other stove, while in the performance of its duties it is without a superior. In August last by a disastrous fire the company suffered the loss of a large proportion of their works, with many of their patterns. The disaster seems, however, to have only widened the field of their activity. New and more various patterns have been obtained and the works have been rebuilt on a vastly extended scale. They commenced business on one small molding floor, now it covers an area of twelve thousand square feet. From three or four stoves per day in the beginning, their daily product now numbers fifty stoves. Their largest building extends back to West Street and is four stories high, and their entire buildings cover five full city lots. A large portion of this extension is devoted to the fitting, and the labor of a large proportion of their employees is engaged on this particular branch of the business. In the early days of the stove manufacture, and in fact until within the last few years, the proper fitting of stoves together was a matter that received but little attention. Here and there a dab with a cold chisel or a little touch with a file, and the stove went together very much as it came out of the sand. Now, every uneven spot is brought to perfect line upon grindstones or emery wheels. Owing to the special attention given this department, it has become possible to make stoves light yet solid and strong. All this beauty and this perfection of convenience have been of slow growth. The neatness, order and comfort which make the kitchen of the thrifty housewife her special pride, and even commends it to the admiration of her worthy spouse, is the result of long and careful study. Men, with all the selfishness attributed to them by the strong-minded, have in a most practical manner acknowledged the rights of the weaker sex to all the facilities best calculated to lighten their share of the partnership duties of married life.

Those who now enjoy the fullness of this greatest of modern household conveniences, have little knowledge of the [… film scratched ...] with the culinary department in an era that is yet within the memory of some of our oldest citizens. Perhaps it may add to their appreciation of it to go back a little in the history of its progress. In the day of small things when the foundry business was carried on by Neel & Allen and by Mr. Cooper and by Cuthbert & Co. and by the late Thos. Pollock, it would have been an impossibility to manufacture such stoves as we have now. In that day iron was melted in the primitive air furnace, the modern cupola with its powerful machine blast was unknown. One can scarcely believe that within the memory of living persons the very existence of coal in the hills around this city was unknown, or if known, it was to but few.

Wood was the only fuel used both for heating and cooking purposes and the kitchen fire place was nearly of the dimensions of a small bedroom. The great brick oven and the iron Dutch oven were the perfect arrangements of that day for baking and roasting, and they roasted the cook’s almost as much as the meats. Any of our modern cooks who are obliged temporarily to cook on a grate, regard that institution as an invention of the evil one. What then must have been its power to destroy the peace and happiness of our tidy grandmothers who were compelled to use it for a long time, for the ever increasing scarcity of wood admitted of nothing else? Every want stimulates invention to supply it, and the first step toward the modern cook stove was a sort of iron oven placed at the end of the grate. For some time a sickly sort of happiness was afforded by that improvement, but we may say that even such meager comfort was lost in the first stoves that came into use. These early specimens were not much either for beauty or utility; they were ill looking and more ill constructed small in size and great in imperfections. Some of them smoked and gave the kitchen the appearance of a lampblack factory; others would not bake, and they all burned too much coal. These imperfections were not surprising when we reflect that the stoves were made in the same establishment and by the same workmen who molded plough points, wagon boxes, dog irons and all the odds and ends of iron mongers, usually made in such establishments. All perfection comes by means of specialties, and to the fact that Joseph Bell & Co. has given their exclusive attention to the stove business, is Wheeling largely indebted for her favorable reputation in this line, and we, for the Arlington Stoves, written in 1874.

This antique charcoal oven was made by Wheeling and measures 12 inches wide by 11 inches long by 10 inches high. It has molded seams and riveted corners and a hinged door with a turn lock closure. The inside has 2 metal grates and a drip pan and the bottom of the oven is open to be placed over wood or charcoal for cooking. The bottom of the sides has 2 circular holes for venting. The front of this piece has, “Wheeling” embossed into the metal and the entire outside is blackened in color with the smell of coal or wood. The inside racks have rusted and I have not tried to restore this piece in any way.