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  1. #31

    Default Re: Happy 50th Birthday Carbon/Graphite Rods! A Brief History of the Formative Years.

    'They were made in Japan and were fibreglass'

    I thought maybe I was vague in the date but it was definitely before 1980 so I'm vague on the material the rod was made of it was about a 3/4 weight, colour of pale cane with a full wells handle(odd in itself) very bendy but I remember it having the circular rings of a carbon weave and the walls of the blank were thin as hell, it was very light...I thought it was carbon!

  2. #32

    Default Re: Happy 50th Birthday Carbon/Graphite Rods! A Brief History of the Formative Years.

    ''Mid-70s does seem too early for budget carbon rods, ohanzee (I'm presuming budget - did Woolies do a premier range?), when you consider Hardy didn't get going until '76.

    I have wondered about Milbro/Milward Bros. and suspect that they would already be rolling glass in their Motherwell factory? If so, it wouldn't be difficult to jump on the new bandwagon .... but '74-'77, say, seems too soon to me. However, Jim Green does say (above) that graphite was much easier to work with than glass so maybe by '77/'78. More work needed here.

    I did happen on this Milbro-related page on reelsreels.com which talks about their rod designer, Peter Anderson, and the company's relationships with Mitchell and with ABU''



    Forgive my cutting and pasting, given up on waiting for a reply with quote.

    I might be of some use here after all, I know Peter, lives 10 mins away, if you have questions I can ask him.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Isle of Lewis
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    864

    Default Re: Happy 50th Birthday Carbon/Graphite Rods! A Brief History of the Formative Years.

    Hi, ohanzee. Thank you. I have thought of delving into Milwards/Milbros/Daiwa history but haven't yet. I would be interested to know when the company began using carbon fibre. I presume they rolled in house as I'm pretty sure they were rolling glass in Motherwell when 'Milbro' ran the company? Hang on for now rather than bother the gentleman with what may be easy questions, I'll get back to you if I get in trouble. If he's at all web-savvy you might invite him to join us here? I'm sure he'd have a great deal to offer.
    Can't think of a tackle shop next to a petrol station in Kirky, though, btw., sorry.
    Re: Woolies; my first rod & reel was a Woolies' kiddy set, c. 1966 I think. Little solid glass 4 ft float rod with a plastic handle and a green tin reel. I still have the last two (blank has gone) to remember where I started in this game when buying Loomis & Burkies and such now. It's a kind of 'All Men Are Mortal' reminder of my roots.


    Back to the graphites .... I happened on this old FFF thread this morning where brooktrout (as I understand it) says he has both a glass and a carbon Hardy Farnborough 7/8 rod .....
    These two 8/9 rods are of identical line reating/performance although one of them, made of Glass Fibre is slightly softer than the Carbon-Fibre they are of course Richard-Walker Farnborough’s. Modern CF., rods, these two farnborough's weigh in at 106gm's or 3.75oz's
    Having not heard before of glass fibre Farnboroughs I had to search around a bit - it just didn't make sense if, as I understand it, they were named for RAE's contribution to carbon fibre rod development.
    In doing so I came across this excellent page concerning Richard Walker, Leslie Phillips and the early years at Hardy. I have since edited the o.p. to include it.
    While not certain, I think brooktrout may have mistaken the identity of his glass Hardy rod - unless anyone knows otherwise!

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Manchester
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    1,049

    Default Re: Happy 50th Birthday Carbon/Graphite Rods! A Brief History of the Formative Years.

    Quote Originally Posted by ohanzee View Post
    'They were made in Japan and were fibreglass'

    I thought maybe I was vague in the date but it was definitely before 1980 so I'm vague on the material the rod was made of it was about a 3/4 weight, colour of pale cane with a full wells handle(odd in itself) very bendy but I remember it having the circular rings of a carbon weave and the walls of the blank were thin as hell, it was very light...I thought it was carbon!
    The range of Winfield fly rods in the mid to late 1970s consisted of a 7ft (ish) #5 three-piece rod with full Wells handle; it was a glass hollow blank painted a light caramel colour.
    Also a 9ft #7 three-piece hollow glass rod with full Wells, painted a rich plum/burgundy/mahogany sort of colour.
    Finally there was a 13ft 3-piece salmon fly rod similar construction, double-hander of course, painted a milky coffee colour.
    All branded Winfield (Frank Woolworth's middle name); reels to match each rod. I still have remnants of these rods lying about the place.
    I remember them arriving from the manufacturer (name unremembered) in huge industrial-strength cardboard cases in the distribution warehouse in Rochdale.
    I worked as a sort of assistant to a guy name of Mike Pritchard who advised head office on the range. I helped out with design and distribution, and also visited stores in the North of England and Scotland, doing much by way of product testing as part of the job.
    My real value to the firm's profitability was never fully explored, and I escaped before it dawned on them that they were basically paying me to go fishing.

  5. #35

    Default Re: Happy 50th Birthday Carbon/Graphite Rods! A Brief History of the Formative Years.

    Quote Originally Posted by unclealec View Post
    The range of Winfield fly rods in the mid to late 1970s consisted of a 7ft (ish) #5 three-piece rod with full Wells handle; it was a glass hollow blank painted a light caramel colour.
    Also a 9ft #7 three-piece hollow glass rod with full Wells, painted a rich plum/burgundy/mahogany sort of colour.
    Finally there was a 13ft 3-piece salmon fly rod similar construction, double-hander of course, painted a milky coffee colour.
    All branded Winfield (Frank Woolworth's middle name); reels to match each rod. I still have remnants of these rods lying about the place.
    I remember them arriving from the manufacturer (name unremembered) in huge industrial-strength cardboard cases in the distribution warehouse in Rochdale.
    I worked as a sort of assistant to a guy name of Mike Pritchard who advised head office on the range. I helped out with design and distribution, and also visited stores in the North of England and Scotland, doing much by way of product testing as part of the job.
    My real value to the firm's profitability was never fully explored, and I escaped before it dawned on them that they were basically paying me to go fishing.
    You don't get jobs like that anymore

    Mine was the first one you mention, although it was a bit floppy with 5 line on, my father reckoned it was the best beginners for the money around at the time but didn't approve of the reel so we spent the rest of the day hunting down a 'proper' reel and a pale green floating line, my first fish was an 8lb salmon on that rod that took a dry fly!
    There is some historical significance to this, many would think imported rods from china are a relatively new thing, the Woolworth range shows the scale of production before carbon was even up and running!

  6. #36

    Default Re: Happy 50th Birthday Carbon/Graphite Rods! A Brief History of the Formative Years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis Chessman View Post
    Hi, ohanzee. Thank you. I have thought of delving into Milwards/Milbros/Daiwa history but haven't yet. I would be interested to know when the company began using carbon fibre
    David Bell worked as a rod designer for Diawa, he is 10 mins in the other direction at Glasgow Angling centre, rod production is a small world.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Manchester
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    Default Re: Happy 50th Birthday Carbon/Graphite Rods! A Brief History of the Formative Years.

    Quote Originally Posted by ohanzee View Post
    You don't get jobs like that anymore

    Mine was the first one you mention, although it was a bit floppy with 5 line on, my father reckoned it was the best beginners for the money around at the time but didn't approve of the reel so we spent the rest of the day hunting down a 'proper' reel and a pale green floating line, my first fish was an 8lb salmon on that rod that took a dry fly!
    There is some historical significance to this, many would think imported rods from china are a relatively new thing, the Woolworth range shows the scale of production before carbon was even up and running!
    They were made in Japan, but I take your point. The rods were rather good for the money, but the rest of the range - well, you got what you paid for!
    As memories come flooding back to me, I remember that the painted blanks were replaced by natural-coloured ones, mid-brown with no added pigment iirc, with some really good value spinning/bait rods (sold for carp anglers and/or light bass fishing iirc) that had a distinctive spigotted detachable handle - I called them 2˝ piece rods! I still use mine for spinning.

  8. #38

    Default Re: Happy 50th Birthday Carbon/Graphite Rods! A Brief History of the Formative Years.

    This is a great thread brought to my attention on the North American sister Forum by Lewis. I am unaware of the actual date of "invention" of carbon fiber but , of course, the military/aerospace industries had the first applications for it...and still do today. I know Hardy experimented early on with graphite but on my side of the pond, where Hardy was only known for reels, not so much rods, it was Fenwick which introduced the first HMG (high modulus graphite) spinning rods in 1973 then fly rods a year latter. By 1976 Orvis introduced a line of graphite rods which, like the Fenwick's, were essentially like previous fiberglass rods but built of the new material. 7'9"/#5 "Far&Fine" was a big hit for Orvis. Blank manufacturer, J. Kennedy Fisher quickly became a supplier of graphite blanks for the US fly fishing industry, most companies lacked Orvis's resources to have a rod shop to build their own, and supplied Tom Morgan at Winston and Harry Wilson of Scott Pow-R-Ply with blanks to their specifications. Wilson had been building fine fiberglass rods but experimenting with the new material quickly came to the conclusion that its lighter weight and much higher modulus lent it to designs longer and lighter in line weight rating than comparable glass or cane fly rods. It was he who first introduced a 9'/#4 graphite fly rod which influenced graphite rod design from that day forward. That was approximately 1977 (going by my memory, I'm sure Scott has all these dates recorded). By 1980 "graphite" was on everyanglers must-have list and, as Gary Loomis paved the way for advanced fabrication methodologies, more and more tackle makers started designing and rolling their own blanks. By the mid 1980's Don Green's Sage was reinventing what a fly rod was capable of with "reserve power", RPL and by the 1990's, G.Loomis first employed carbon fiber scrim in their seminal GLX series designed by the casting great, Steve Rajeff and that blossomed into the modern graphite rod as we know it still. Its promise continues to expand as rods become lighter in physical weight and stronger with vastly improved line speed and recovery rates. Nano particulate resin systems and enhanced fiber to resin ratio construction technologies continue to make our newest fly rods better with each subsequent generation. We have the great good fortune to take them fishing.

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Isle of Lewis
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    864

    Default Re: Happy 50th Birthday Carbon/Graphite Rods! A Brief History of the Formative Years.

    Thanks, s&s, and welcome to this branch of the brotherhood.
    I've been looking a little further at Samuel Courtauld & Co., Ltd, UK, to see if they applied for a patent (here) but can't find anything positive. Interesting to learn that they pioneered synthetic fabrics in the early C20th, though, including Rayon!

    It may be that a veil of military secrecy hangs over the question still, and it maybe also that the 'Special Relationship' formed between the UK and the USA during WWII extended to the sharing of carbon fibre technology? I think I'm right is saying that Hercules Inc., the early American cloth-makers, did a lot of work with the U.S. military and aerospace institutions? Either they invented it in parallel, reverse-engineered it .... or someone had a friendly chat.

    Re-reading the original post I'm a little unsure about Steve Parton's mention of Rolls Royce as being involved as no other source mentions them - or his mystery genius from the Manchester Institute of Science & Technology. Presumably this is not Leslie Phillips as Steve says the inventor died in the mid-'70s and Mr. Phillips was still alive in 1990.
    I appreciate that Rolls Royce have historic links with the British military and aerospace engineering so their involvement in a jet engine turbine fan seems very feasible but Hardys and Phillips suggest it was Walker's viewing of Phillips' promo film and the offer of free samples of to which first brought them to RAE.
    Hmmm.

  10. #40

    Default Re: Happy 50th Birthday Carbon/Graphite Rods! A Brief History of the Formative Years.

    From New Scientist 31 Aug 1978, not rod related but a development of carbon fibre by Courtaulds. (further searches of NS may be a way to go?)
    Happy 50th Birthday Carbon/Graphite Rods! A Brief History of the Formative Years.-carbon-fiubre-1978-jpg

    I recall a reference to UMIST in some discussion about CF. Can't find the link but will continue to look. Graphene rods anyone?

    I agree this is an excellent thread, a fine example of how forums should work. I'd suggest the OP edits it into a 1000 word piece with a couple of photos .... and I may just know someone who'll publish it :-)

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