Prior to WWII the American Fork and Hoe Company (AFH) was busy making some really great designs for fishing rod handles. American Fork and Hoe as you may or may not know was one of the companies responsible for making the 1905E and M1 bayonet.
This past weekend Kathleen and I decided it was time gear up to go fishing and what better way to do that than to pick up some old antique rods and reels. As luck would have it this past weekend was also Antique Weekend here in Texas, so there would be plenty of chances to find these old time favorites.
Now as far as antiques go, I don’t have much knowledge when it comes to buying antique fishing equipment, lures and what prices are reasonable. I did know we didn’t want to spend a ton of money, but of course, that doesn’t always happen when you get all excited. What we were looking for were old metal rods that were in good condition and some good reels, made in the 30’s-50’s, that had a smooth action and looked totally retro.
Two rods really stood out, so rather than just buying one, we bought BOTH! OK I will come clean. We actually bought 3 rods and 3 reels. Total investment was under $180. Not bad for some really killer looking fishing equipment that will probably last as long as we do.
One of the stand out rods, was a professional one produced by the American Fork and Hoe Company. I had to sort of laugh because I already knew this name from a previous article I had written. American Fork and Hoe also produced bayonets for the army. When the US was thrown into World War 2, production for leisurely goods turned to war time production and I am almost certain the production of these rods and reels ceased during that time.
In writing the articles for AntiqueOutings, I have learned a thing or two about tracking down the age of items and so I really wanted to learn more about the American Fork and Hoe Company rod I purchased. If you can find a patent number you can almost always find out what the approximate age of an item is. Lucky for me many fishing rods and reels (at least the ones we purchased) had the patent numbers stamped on them.
It is also good to find out if the company still exists or not. That can give you an endpoint to the age of an antique. In 1949 the American Fork and Hoe Company name was changed to True Temper. OK so I found my endpoint.
Thee patent number was 2,102,237, which by reading turned out that the patent was issued December 14th, 1937 and since the company changed their name in 1949 to True Temper. We can safely bet that the rod was probably made somewhere between 1937 – 1949. Since American Fork and Hoe probably didn’t produce Fishing Rods during WWII, we can lower the end date to 1937 – 1942 (The year they were producing bayonets). Pretty cool detective work right. The inventor was John Kari Kinnear of Geneva, Ohio.
One of the things that through me for a loop initially was the name True Temper. The name is on the fishing rod handle, so I thought that it might have meant that the rod handle could have been made after 1949, since that is when the American Fork and Hoe name changed. This however wasn’t the case because American Fork and Hoe also used the name True Temper in advertising throughout the 1930s. So with all this information, I believe this particular rod was still made somewhere between 1937 and 1942.
The handle has what is termed a SpeedLock, which makes adding the fishing reel a snap.
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