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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Isle of Lewis

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

    Lewis here: While we've been down the enquiry continued on the American forum. I'm trying to corral the info here in one place so will transpose those posts below:

    flytie09 wrote:
    This is a fascinating subject for sure. I'm afraid there might be a ton of tidbits that may never be known to piece together the complete timeline to the development of the first 100% carbon fiber rod. I'm going backwards a bit but stick with me, there is a point.

    Citations are noted......

    One development to not leave out in the development of graphite used in fly rods is none other than the Shakespeare Co. AntiqueLures: Shakespeare History

    Dr. Arthur Howald is a name to remember. In the mid 1940s, Mr Howald approached Henry Shakespeare with an idea. Which was the fiberglass rod... later to be released as the Wonderrod in 1947. This put them on the map for rod making. Big time.

    Well..... duh..... we're talking graphite, not fiberglass. In 1967, Mr Howald released the first fly rod that incorporated graphite into its design, the Dr. Howald Purist.

    Whilst still a fiberglass rod..... he used graphite for the male ferrule and titanium for the female ferrule. It sold for almost $200.... ~ $1500 in today's money. It is considered the Honus Wagner of fiberglass fly rods with very limited release. Shakespeare would have gotten their hands on the graphite a couple year before the rod's release.

    Now this tidbit from fiberglassflyrodder forum member Glastik is interesting for sure - Fiberglass Flyrodders • Who made the first graphite fly rod

    "Henry Shakespeare told me that they had gotten their hand on some graphite material in the late 60's (when it was still a closely guarded aerospace and military material not available to the sport industry). The material at the time cost $1000.00 per pound. They had built a few prototype all-graphite rods using the Howald method and taken them to the NAFTMA trade show. This was before Fenwick tried graphite, but the Fenwick team saw these rods and where able to develope and bring their rods to market sooner. Henry did say that Fenwick gave them the idea for the name of the later generation of rods when one of the Fenwick salesmen saw these prototype graphites and said "Man, those are some ugly sticks!"
    (in the trade, blanks are called "sticks"). The Shakespeare UglyStik went on to become the most popular rod series of all time."

    In short.... Does this upset the known timeline? Was Shakespeare first to the party and Fenwick first to leave with the prize? Did Shakespeare's ties to the military during WW 2 leave them open to advancements later in a new material developed by the US Military on special projects after the war (carbon fiber)? Did the US share these material science advancements (carbon fiber) w/ the UK and the Royal Aircraft Establishment Engineer's? And did they perfect it and share these notes back w/ the US? Which quickly landed in Shakespeare's hands and pilfered by Fenwick?

    High Performance Carbon Fibers - National Historic Chemical Landmark - American Chemical Society

    Much speculation on my part, I apologize..... but is there a chance to be a link? And what about Japan?I'd love to hear what the answer is.
    Last edited by Lewis Chessman; 14-02-2018 at 03:39 PM.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Isle of Lewis

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

    flytie09 then wrote
    Another kernel of history as borrowed from stripers247.......

    The Ugly Stick and the story behind the naming of the best selling rod of all time

    "The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Monroe Lindler - January 4, 2005

    The story of the development and naming of this popular fishing rod by one who was there. The 70's were exciting times for the entire fishing tackle industry. Shakespeare had been working with graphite from the late 60's primarily for golf shafts because Union Carbide was subsidizing the project. The race was on among all manufacturers to use graphite in fishing rods.

    The first rod I remember seeing at tackle show utilizing graphite was a boat rod made by Garcia /Conolon. This was a laminated rod made like an archery bow that may have had wood, fiberglass, and graphite in layers. Shakespeare's efforts were composite rod blanks with graphite co- mingled with fiberglass and epoxy resin. We were having problems making them straight enough to use in fishing rods. After numerous proto types using the composite approach, we developed several samples of all graphite spinning rods and fly rods. Marketing decided to put an all graphite fly rod in the product line.

    At a tackle show in Chicago, Shakespeare and Fenwick both introduced a graphite rod with a name spelled the same- GRAFLITE. You can imagine the concern on both sides. After much deliberation it was determined that Shakespeare had secured the name first and Fenwick had to destroy all the catalogs in print and come up with another name. During this time Steve Trewhella was the president of Shakespeare and Clyde Rickard was vice-president and general manager of the fishing tackle division. One of the persons reporting to Clyde was Joe Kuti who was a product manager in the marketing group. I was in charge of fishing rod development and the engineering group in the FTD.

    Graphite was very expensive; in the beginning it was about $400 per pound and glass was about $.50 per pound. Shakespeare was noted for white rods with spiral markings and our marketing group perceived that Fenwick, Garcia, Wright McGill, and others had an advantage as to styling and cosmetics on fishing rods. These competitors all used a preimpregnated material and made rods by a cut and roll process. Shakespeare's quality rods were made with an internal spiral fiberglass core and parallel glass fibers impregnated with pigmented polyester resin .The method to make them was referred to as the Howald process. Both processes used a clear film like tape on top of the impregnated material, wound in several layers to apply pressure to the laminate while curing in an oven. Shakespeare removed the tape with high pressure water jets. Other rod makers removed tape by un-winding and surface sanding or simply by sanding away the tape. Shakespeare's rods were left with spiral markings on the surface while our competitor's rods had sanded smooth coated surfaces. The most important project request from marketing to engineering was to make our rods look better which included sanded smooth surfaces and colors other than white.

    An engineer reporting to me was Mike Romanyszyn. While we were trying to use graphite in rods we had to also work on this cosmetic improvement project. Regular scheduled meetings were occurring between engineering and marketing to update everyone on engineering developments. While we had developed and brought to market the first all graphite rods, they were very expensive to make and high priced to the consumer. During one of our engineering experiments, I asked Mike to make some sample blanks using graphite instead of fiberglass for the spiral core. Because of the crook problem we had when we blended fiberglass and graphite we decided to use clear resin with the parallel glass fibers so we could detect any stresses that might be occurring while the blanks were curing. This was yet another way of combining fiberglass and graphite as compared to blending parallel fibers.

    The next day Mike and I were examining these latest casting rod blanks and to our amazement they were stronger than anything we had ever seen, almost un-breakable. Needless to say we were excited and on top of the strength asset the blanks were straight. The following afternoon we had one of those scheduled progress update meetings with Joe Kuti, Clyde Rickard, Mike, and me. The meeting immediately worked itself to our progress on sanded, coated blanks. I said there was no additional progress, but we had something new and innovative to show. While bending the rod to show its strength I talked about capitalizing on our manufacturing strengths and abilities and that sanding and coating was not easy for us. Joe Kuti immediately criticized our lack of cosmetic progress and said that those blanks were the ugliest that he had seen. I was very upset at his response and expressed my feelings at their inability to recognize a real innovation... While loudly slamming the blank down on the conference table, I left the meeting in disgust and anger indicating that they did not need my help.

    The plant was dark as it was after the 3:30 pm shift closing. I was walking through the plant and Clyde came after me to try to calm me down before we all left the plant for home that afternoon. I don't remember if it was the next day or two or three days later but by now these blanks had been looked at by most of Shakespeare's executives. We were informed that there was going to be a new product line with a limited model offering and we were to pursue patent applications and trade marks for the UGLY STIK. The UGLY STIK patent was filed 4-12 -1976 by James Monroe Lindler and Michael Taras Romanyszyn. Joe Kuti is the one that I credit for naming the rod series.

    The first years production was beefed up to be extra strong, and these rods were truly ugly. Blanks were not pigmented, the graphite color showed through clear parallel fiberglass, wraps were black with white pin stripes and a stronger metal rod handle was designed for bait-casting and push-button rods. Shakespeare was the center of attention at the next trade show in Chicago with rods being used to lift heavy weights, buckets of water, engaging in tugs of war with competitor's rods and the famous tip test. Many competitors' rods were broken.

    Before the year was up we were working on improved cosmetics. Styling was changed to the familiar red and yellow basket weave at the grip, black wraps with red and yellow pin stripes and lightly buffed smoother blanks with black pigmented fiberglass, clear glossy coatings and a clear tip area. The product offering was expanded; blanks were made lighter in weight, including all fresh water rods, push button rods, bait casting rods, fly rods, and many specialty and salt water rods. This rod product line was supported by a fantastic advertising program, rods being bent by models, rods bent while being caught by auto windows and boat docks and lots of tee shirts and accessories.

    Well, there you have it, the story leading to the development of the UGLY STIK and how the UGLY STIK got its name. The individuals mentioned above were the ones involved in how the UGLK STIK got its name. The real success of the UGLY STIK could not have occurred with out major input from factory workers, plant foremen, and their assistants, all of the engineering staff, marketing, advertising and corporate management and the most important sales group. No company is anything without SALES. All people involved are too many to name and I probably would forget someone very important; one thing was certain, WE WERE AN AWESOME TEAM 30 years ago. This account was written by Monroe Lindler of the Shakespeare Corporation. It was sent to Phil White for publishing by the late Harvey Garrison, who received it from Roxanne Coleman of the Shakepeare Corporation.

    Phil White, Editor Old Fishing Stuff. "
    Last edited by flytie09; Today at 02:16 PM.

    - - - Updated - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Lewis Chessman wrote:
    Good man! There's a lot of meat on the bone there, ft09, and a lot more fat to chew!

    I found this link, High Performance Carbon Fibers - National Historic Chemical Landmark - American Chemical Society, absolutely fascinating. Thank you. I'm going to c&p from it what I understand as a coherent account re: rods, but invite criticism of those passages I choose (or do not! ) from this document.

    The main players in the development of graphite cloth for fishing rods were:
    Union Carbide, USA / The U.S. Air Force Materials Laboratory. Later (?), Hercules, Inc.
    Courtaulds UK / The Royal Aircraft Establishment (UK).
    and Toray Industries, Japan.

    In the 1950s Union Carbide were experimenting with the use of Rayon fibres to produce carbon fibre (see 'Early Applications of Carbon Fibers'):

    Barnebey-Cheney Company, in 1957, briefly manufactured carbon fiber mats and tows (rope-like threads without the twists) from rayon and cotton. These were used as high temperature insulation and filters for corrosive compounds. A year later (1958), Union Carbide developed a carbonized rayon cloth and submitted it to the U.S. Air Force as a replacement for fiberglass in rocket nozzle exit cones and re-entry heat shields.

    While finding a certain degree of success in their respective niches, all of these early carbon fiber materials had poor mechanical properties, making them unsuitable for structural use.
    ... all commercial carbon fibers to this point were still of relatively low modulus, despite Bacon’s demonstration of their mechanical potential. The first truly high modulus commercial carbon fibers were invented in 1964, when Bacon and Wesley Schalamon made fibers from rayon using a new “hot-stretching” process.
    Union Carbide developed a series of high modulus yarns based on the hot-stretching process, beginning in late 1965 with “Thornel 25”. The Thornel line continued with increasingly higher levels of modulus for more than ten years.
    Meanwhile, across the water ....

    While researchers in the United States were reveling in rayon, scientists overseas were busy creating their own carbon fiber industries based on polyacrylonitrile, or PAN, which had been passed over by U.S. producers after unsuccessful attempts at making high modulus fibers.
    In that same year (1964), just a few months before Bacon and Schalamon debuted their hot-stretching method, William Watt of the Royal Aircraft Establishment in England invented a still higher-modulus fiber from PAN. The British fibers were rapidly put into commercial production.
    This marries perfectly with the information on the op of the UK thread, i.e. that from 1964 tows of (PAN) carbon fibre were being offered to British industry by the government for - free in exchange for research information and (as we know from the Hardy/Fibatube patent (1970) for carbon rods) a share in rights.
    So, whilst the American companies were paying $1000 - $1500 per kilo for tow, by 1968 Hardy was getting it for nothing!

    And here, I think, is the nub ....
    The secret behind these developments was better precursors. In both Japan and England, researchers had access to pure PAN, with a polymeric backbone that provided an excellent yield after processing. The continuous string of carbon and nitrogen atoms led to highly oriented graphitic-like layers, eliminating the need for hot stretching. Chemical manufacturers in the United States, however, generally inserted other compounds in the polymer backbone that could account for up to 20 percent of the product, making them totally unsuitable for carbonizing.
    PAN-based fibers eventually supplanted most rayon-based fibers, and they still dominate the world market. In addition to high modulus fibers, British researchers in the mid-1960s also developed a low modulus fiber from PAN that had extremely high tensile strength. This product became widely popular in sporting goods such as golf clubs, tennis rackets, fishing rods and skis; it is also extensively used for military and commercial aircraft.
    And the Japanese story:
    A quiet study by Japanese researchers in 1961—largely unknown to Western scientists—demonstrated high strength and high modulus fibers from PAN precursors. Akio Shindo of the Government Industrial Research Institute in Osaka, Japan, made fibers in the lab with a modulus of more than 140 GPa, about three times that of rayon-based fibers at the time. Shindo’s process was quickly taken up by other Japanese researchers, leading to pilot-scale production in 1964.
    The Japanese eventually took the lead in manufacturing PAN-based carbon fibers, effectively beating the British at their own game. Japan’s Toray Industries developed a precursor that was far superior to anything seen before, and in 1970 they signed a joint technology agreement with Union Carbide, bringing the United States back to the forefront in carbon fiber manufacturing.
    From Antique Lures: Shakespeare
    The Shakespeare research and development team was performing experiments with graphite in the early 1970's when the material was first made available to the industry. However, at that time, graphite sold at $1,500.00 per pound. Henry Shakespeare was able to get his hands on some of the new material at no cost from a friend in the industry, and this provided them with enough graphite to complete a few prototype rods.

    .... and by 1975, Shakespeare was producing its own "Graphlite" fly rod as well as supplying the Orvis Company of Manchester Vermont with graphite blanks for their own series of graphite rods
    What this suggests to me is that the American research into making graphite cloth out of Rayon (for rods) met a dead end and that the superior qualities of PAN-derived carbon fibre (and probably cheaper manufacturing costs, obviating the need for stretching fibres under heat?) soon dominated the industry. That did not happen in the USA until the early 1970s by which time Hardy had been experimenting with PAN prototype rods for two years and already filed a patent.

    I think that the historical context here is very relevant. As sweet&salt has mentioned, the British and American militaries were closely involved in the research in the '50s and '60s. During the 50s particularly, post-war Britain was broken and bankrupt and both the Cold War and Space Race were at their peak. Sadly, we can not know what exchanges there were between the two countries' government departments.
    But it appears that graphite rod development was more a case of convergent evolution than confederacy between allies, with three nations pursuing independent paths towards their goals. For both the UK and USA, military application would initially have been at the forefront of their focus while demilitarised Japan was free to investigate less deadly uses.

    Shakespeare had been working with graphite from the late 60's primarily for golf shafts because Union Carbide was subsidizing the project. The race was on among all manufacturers to use graphite in fishing rods.
    From Glastik on the Fibreglass Forum thread:
    The first rod to use graphite in the construction was the Shakespeare Dr. Howald Purist of 1967. It had a graphite male ferrule.
    Henry Shakespeare told me that they had gotten their hand on some graphite material in the late 60's (when it was still a closely guarded aerospace and military material not available to the sport industry). The material at the time cost $1000.00 per pound. They had built a few prototype all-graphite rods using the Howald method and taken them to the NAFTMA trade show. This was before Fenwick tried graphite but the Fenwick team saw these rods and where able to develop and bring their rods to market sooner
    So, the crux of my assertion is that American companies were not producing graphite rods until at least 1970, even prototypes, and that it was only when PAN-derived fibres became available through Tokay in 1970 that a cloth fit for purpose could be obtained - Hardy, of course, weren't going to share their product if they could help it, but, from the Angling Heritage article (link on previous post):
    As development showed promise, a patent was applied for and patent number GB1351732 was granted jointly in 19th April 1971 to R. Walker, W. Hardy & L. Phillips. This patent applied to a limited carbon content of between 2 and 25% following Walker’s initial calculations (and up to 35% carbon content in the butt section allowing a smaller diameter to be produced).
    Unfortunately for them ....:
    Later models of rods were manufactured on smaller diameter mandrels made by Hardy’s which helped to reduce the weight further and this also allowed a greater percentage of carbon to be used in manufacture which negated the effectiveness of the patent and allowed Hardy’s competitors free access to this new market sector. Including the carbon content limitations in the patent had rendered it unenforceable. Had this percentage not been limited, Hardy’s would have had a more dominant market position for many years.
    I not a Hardy fan at all. I respect them but I can't embrace them. It's a British Class thing.
    But I can't get away from the facts which, to me, point to them being the makers of the first carbon fibre/graphite fishing rods circa 1968.

    Interestingly, there was no mention of Courtaulds UK as fibre manufacturers in the 'High Performance' article. I suspect that they were approached by RAE to commence manufacture of the fibres after William Watt's invention of a higher modulus fibre? Courtaulds UK, as I may have mentioned here already, were the inventors of Rayon at the end of the C19th - the very substance Union Carbide were experimenting with in their early endeavours into graphite fiber in the 1950.

    William Watt .... could this be the mystery man from UMIST Steve Parton mentioned as the Father of Carbon Rods? Perhaps!
    More research needed there!
    I'll go and email Angling Heritage about the 'Buller Rod' and then look for WW (our own Walter White! ).

    Thanks again for the excellent links, ft09, if you don't mind I'll c&p your posts over to the UK forum in an attempt to maintain a cohesive narrative. However, the UK site is down presently, undergoing maintenance, so we may as well carry on playing here for now.
    Last edited by Lewis Chessman; 14-02-2018 at 03:42 PM.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Isle of Lewis

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

    Guys, in pure synchronicity with our thread, take a look here at today's Daily Telegraph.
    The Royal Mail have actually issued a new stamp today celebrating the work of William Watt at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, Hampshire, 50 years on.

    Watt's dates appear to be 14 April 1912 - 11 Aug 1985.
    While this doesn't match perfectly with Steve Parton's anecdotal evidence that the inventor responsible for carbon fibre died of emphysema in the mid-1970s I strongly suspect that this is the man Jim Langley referred to (see op).

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Isle of Lewis

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

    sweet&salt wrote:
    The Shakespeare research and development team was performing experiments with graphite in the early 1970's when the material was first made available to the industry. However, at that time, graphite sold at $1,500.00 per pound. Henry Shakespeare was able to get his hands on some of the new material at no cost from a friend in the industry, and this provided them with enough graphite to complete a few prototype rods.

    .... and by 1975, Shakespeare was producing its own "Graphlite" fly rod as well as supplying the Orvis Company of Manchester Vermont with graphite blanks for their own series of graphite rods."
    This is news to me! I was under the impression that Orvis had commenced to build their own graphite blanks in 1975. I drove up to Manchester, VT in '75 to cast these rods on their pond and was so impressed. Come to think of it, perhaps I should not be surprised as Orvis was sourcing rather than building their fiberglass and unidirectional E-glass blanks from, I believe, 3M.

    - - - Updated - - -
    Lewis Chessman wrote:
    I've found this which appears authoritative: Carbon Nanomaterials : Synthesis, Structure, Properties and Applications (Google Books).

    The development of a successful commercial process for carbon fibres was particularly due to William (Bill) Watt and his colleagues at the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), in Farnborough, England, in 1963 using commercial PAN fibres .... Later Watt, together with his long-term colleague, William Johnson, began the first experiments with Courtauld's PAN fibres ("Courtle") .... Later ... full production lines at Morganite Ltd. and Courtaulds Ltd., UK. In 1964, the first true, high modulus fibres were prepared by the RAE in England from PAN and by the Union Carbide Corp. from Rayon.
    It affirms my post above and confirms my belief that Courtaulds were (at least one of) the original fibre manufacturers.
    Last edited by Lewis Chessman; 17-02-2018 at 02:06 PM.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Isle of Lewis

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

    sweet&salt wrote:
    I have a call in to Orvis to research this Shakespeare sourcing connection and to ascertain its validity and if so, what year they commenced to roll their own.

    Separately, on the governmental Top Secret front, graphite's important sister in rod making, resin, is a big deal too. Nano particulate infused resin as currently utilized by Hardy, Loomis, Douglas SKY, Winston Air and others, now predominately silica Nano particles, is a declassified NASA Space Shuttle development. Their particulate of choice was a titanium ceramic which did find its way into some Americas Cup racing yachts and old Redington's seminal Nti "Nano" fly rods circa 2000...the first application of Nano technology in fly rods.
    Lewis writes: My apologies for the bomb blast of posts, folks, I've tried to make it as fluent as I can. As I say, it would be good to keep the relevant info in one place.
    Last edited by Lewis Chessman; 14-02-2018 at 03:44 PM.

  6. #46

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

    Lewis, this is an awesome thread.
    You are allowing us to be a part of a research project. It is fascinating that there are gaps in history of only 50 years ago.

    Many thanks.

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Isle of Lewis

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

    Thanks, Pete, I hope it's obviously my pleasure.

    I have found a good account of the early years of British PAN-derived carbon fibre in Paul Morgan's 'Carbon Fibers and Their Composites' on Googlebooks. I'll offer a synopsis below as I believe it brings together many strings regarding the UK's contribution - More specifically that of William Watt (1912-1985), William Johnson, Leslie Phillips and Roger Moreton. A photograph of Watt, Johnson and Phillips examining what was probably the world's first woven graphite reel seat insert ( ) can be seen in Figure 3.3.

    ..... W. Watt, W. Johnson and L. N. Phillips of the RAE, Farnborough, started work in 1963 on a PAN precursor. Coutaulds were invited to submit a range of organic fibers, which might be suitable for conversion to carbon fibers. One of those fibres was particularly promising, namely 'Courtelle' .....
    Courtaulds later developed a special acrylic fiber (SAF), specifically for conversion to carbon fiber. The work at RAE was successful and culminated in Watt, Phillips and Johnson applying for a patent in 1964.
    .... Watt and Johnson undertook further work .... using Courtelle and Draylon T ..... (resulting in) the 1968 patent.

    From these results the RAE developed a small scale laboratory continuous carbon fiber process to demonstrate feasibility. To provide larger quantities for commercial evaluation , a contract was placed in 1965, with the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell, who had existing furnaces that could be readily adapted for this application and intitially, Harwell produced a staple fiber in approximately 4.5 Kg batches some 35 cm long.

    Later, in 1966, the RAE patent was licensed to three British companies to develop carbon fibers commercially: Morganite Research and Development, who were experienced in high temperature technology; Courtaulds Ltd., who had made the precursor; and Rolls Royce, who had already invented their own distillation process, but subsequently adopted the RAE process. Since that time, each company has developed its own process, which may or may not be similar to the original RAE process.

    In 1966 , Morganite were asked by RAE to make one ton of carbon fiber, which they supplied at the end of 1967. It was kept in a locked room known as the Black Fort Knox, since at that time, it was worth about £65,000. The fiber was given free to companies, in conjunction with a grant, to evaluate and develop uses for carbon fiber.

    Production of carbon fibers in the U.S. A. to the RAE patent was started in 1971 by Hercules Inc. (who had an arrangement with Courtaulds Ltd.) and Morganite Modmor Inc., a joint company formed by the Whittikar Corp. and Morgan Crucible.

    This brings a lot of loose strings together:

    1) The names of the three inventors of (British) PAN carbon fibre - one of whom is possibly the subject of Steve Parton/Jim Langleys post (op), thought to have died of emphysema in 1975. If the latter is true then I wonder how much his work with fibres was a cause?

    2) It places Courtauld Ltd.'s role in clear focus and explains the later (1971) link with Hercules Inc. who supplied Garry Loomis with his first graphite cloth when with Lamiglas, circa 1973.

    3) It places Morganite R&D squarely as the suppliers of the carbon fibre given to Hardy in 1968 and subsequently woven by James Carr and Sons, Ltd. of Hulme.

    4) It also brings Rolls Royce into the picture for the second time, the first mention being by Parton/Langton (see op). Jim Langton may have been referring to someone other than Phillips, Johnson or Watt as the 'originator', he thought, was with RR.

    I still have the UMIST link to follow and did see reference to a Director of the RAE who was ''a mathematician from the University of Manchester'' which warrants further digging.

    Meanwhile, this discussion is creating ripples over in the States with the suggestion that Shakespeare may have built the first Orvis Graphite blanks!
    Oh, what a tangled web we weave!
    Last edited by Lewis Chessman; 18-02-2018 at 03:02 PM.

  8. #48

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

    Have you seen THIS?
    Happy 50th Birthday Carbon/Graphite Rods! A Brief History of the Formative Years.-stamps-carbon_3204870k-jpg

    Carbon Fibre – William Watt

    Carbon fibres are thin filaments that are incorporated into resin and baked to create a reinforced plastic that is significantly stronger but considerably lighter than metal. This ‘composite’ material can be moulded into the required shape and is used in a wide range of machines and objects, such as military and commercial aeroplanes, spacecraft, hi-tech sports equipment, wind turbines and Formula One cars. To produce the fibres, a substance containing carbon is heated to extremely high temperatures (1000–3000°C) in an atmosphere containing no oxygen. Under such conditions, the carbon atoms join together to form structures that are extremely tough and stiff without being brittle.

    In the 1950s and 1960s, researchers in the USA were working hard to uncover the secrets of producing carbon fibres. However, it was not until 1964 that Edinburgh-born William Watt, working at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, Hampshire, produced a superior version of the fibres and the technology really flourished.

    Watt and his team discovered that creating fibrous carbon from ‘PAN’ (polyacrylonitrile – a textile fibre similar to that used for making carpets) produced a material much more suited for structural use. This formula for creating carbon fibres is still the most popular in use today, 50 years later. As carbon-fibre production becomes more cost-effective, this wonder material will doubtless be used across an even greater variety of applications.
    Picture: Royal Mail "

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Isle of Lewis

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

    Yes, dingley, see post #43, above.
    The co-incidence is rather spooky, isn't it? Nice stamp, though!

    I've found another name to add to the UK innovators list, that of Mr. Anthony Kelly:
    And the strongest materials are always, come in the form of fibres. Of course you can’t build an artefact, an engineering artefact, out of a fibre by itself, you’ll get a rope, or the sort of floppy clothes you’re wearing that were woven. What you have to do is put that fibre with something.

    Now my interest in graphite led me to consulting for the Royal Aircraft Establishment. And quite independently of my thoughts, Willie Watt and two other people there, thought about making a form of graphite in the form of a fibre, and they chose a textile fibre called polyacrylonitrile, which was essentially a fibre used for making carpets. And they carbonised that fibre and produced carbon fibres. Now I happened through my knowledge of what they were doing, and they’d told me about what they were doing, they then had to make what’s called a composite material.

    I explained that a rope by itself is no good, we need to make a sheet, and so you must have a fibre that is weavable in the same way that it’s woven to make your clothes, and of course a carpet fibre is weavable. So you need to put together the fibre plus something to stick it together, called a matrix. Well my contribution was essentially to be able to deduce some general rules about how the resulting composite would behave and principally to explain why it wasn’t brittle.
    So it appears that Mr. Kelly was involved in the equally important resin side of the process at RAE.

    Some notes on the UK inventors:

    Dr. William (Willie/Bill) Watt (1912-1985): Born in Edinburgh. Worked at RAE as Section Head. Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS, 1976)

    Leslie Nathan Phillips O.B.E. (1922-1991): an alumnus of Central Foundation School, London. Worked at RAE.

    William (Bill) Johnson: Studied at Kingston Polytechnic. Worked at RAE as lab attendant, later Principal Scientific Officer.

    Professor Anthony (Tony) Kelly, CBE, DL, FRS, FREng (1929-2014): Worked at RAE in the field of resin composites. A Symposium in Memory is here, a Times Obituary is here.

    Dr. Roger Moreton (1935-): Selwyn College, University of Cambridge; University of Surrey. Worked at RAE. Here is a link to Roger Morton himself discussing the subject in a recorded interview 'An Oral History of Science (part 6 of 8)'. It is 84 minutes long and he discusses problems with Courtaulds and Rolls Royce, explaining why they went to Morganite R&D, along with much else relevant to this thread ..... for 84 minutes!

    In another episode (part 4 of 8, 98 min) Roger Moreton talks of the people at RAE. These recordings have an indexed time line to assist finding any relevant subject, e.g.:
    Part 4: Roger Moreton [RM] remarks on high temperature materials section: section head Bill Watt [BW], Bill Johnson, lab attendant, scientific assistants; related group under Bobbie Bickerdyke; varying names and organisation of sections, department and divisions;
    [14:30] anecdote about Bill Watt haranguing staff in Reading Woolworths; 1st class degree in chemistry, brave in defending scientific beliefs, such as over cross linking of Carbon filaments. [18:10] Description of Bill Johnson: experimental officer, ex RAF, Geordie, worked for Associated Lead postwar, studied at Kingston Polytechnic, eventually promoted to Principal Scientific Officer;
    Watt and Johnson process for winding fibres on a frame to stop them shrinking, buying Meccano from local toy shop to make frame; desirable properties of Carbon Fibre; patenting of process; [1:12:30]
    [1:33:45] Japanese scientist Shindo's approach, which was similar to that of the RAE, but crucially didn't prevent shrinkage; RM results published in 'Nature'; considering themselves in competition with different groups working on Carbon Fibre; development of continuous process for manufacturing Carbon Fibre; secrecy of Courtaulds.
    Buying Meccano to .... How very British! And how wonderful to have Roger Moreton's personal account held for posterity.
    Last edited by Lewis Chessman; 18-02-2018 at 03:07 PM.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Isle of Lewis

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

    Time to get back to the rod makers ..... This is by no means an attempt at full biographies but a selection of some of the events in their lives which connected the gentlemen concerned and brought about the 'Buller Rod'. I hope it forms a cohesive whole and compliments the opening post.

    Hardy Brothers Ltd. of Alnwick need no introduction from me, I'm sure. The Fishing Museum have a Hardy History page here.
    Jim Hardy (1922-2012):
    In 1959 “Mr Jim”, as he was known, joined the board as works director, and in 1967, shortly after the firm was bought by the Harris & Sheldon Group, was appointed marketing director.
    It was Jim Hardy who brought Richard Walker to the company as an adviser on tackle development prior to the forming of the Moncrief Rod Development Company in 1963.

    'The Happy Band'

    Richard 'Dick' Walker (1918–1985) had already established himself in the industry, inventing an electronic bite alarm, the Arlesey Bomb and, in 1952, he published his first book, 'Rod Building For Amateurs'. That same year he landed a 44 pounds (20 kg) carp at Redmire pool in Herefordshire which held the British record for 28 years.
    One day c.1954 he received a letter questioning his dead-baiting methods and replied to the sender in interest. So began a life long friendship between Dick Walker and Fred J. Taylor.
    A fuller Walker biography can be found here at the Anglers Mail.

    Fred J Taylor MBE (1919-2008): An enthusiastic countryman, Fred wrote 18 books and numerous articles on fishing, shooting, rabbiting, food and travel. He was the first Englishman to receive the Silver Dolphin Award, the highest honour in sport fishing in the United States. He was awarded an MBE in 2008.
    A fuller Taylor biography can be found here at the Anglers Mail.

    Interestingly, on the Traditional Fisherman forum, member Gloucesteroldspot wrote (p.3):
    Yes. I think F Goddard was John Goddard's father (or uncle, or somesuch) and they had a metalworking company based in London. After the war they started making folding seats for anglers, and gradually increased the range over the next twenty years, making rod rests, umbrellas, landing nets, tackle boxes, bait boxes, holdalls etc. Fred J Taylor worked for them as a sales rep for a while, and helped develop their Pomenteg groundbait with Dick Walker.
    However, I have not verified this elsewhere* but it is feasible. F. Goddard Company traded as 'Efgeeco'.
    *Edit: I have since found a Matt Sparkes article in Anglers Mail which places Walker and Taylor advising Efgeeco of Balham on groundbait in ''the late '60s'', placing this in the MRDC years.

    Naturally, Walker and Taylor introduced one another to their own fishing pals and soon a group of friends grew into what Fred Buller, a key member, dubbed, 'This Happy Band'. Other 'members' included Peter Thomas, Peter Stone and 'man mountain', Leslie Moncrieff.

    Fred Buller MBE (1926-2016): After WWII, Fred Buller, with his father, ran a gun and fishing tackle business, Chubbs of Edgeware, London. Through Chubbs, he met "Richard Walker, Maurice Ingram, Hugh Falkus, Leslie Moncrieff, Bernard Venables, Jack Hargreaves, Fred J Taylor and many others." Buller rose to renown in the 1950s as a successful match fisherman but developed into a true all-rounder, writing and co-writing some of the most influential works of his - and our - time. He was awarded an MBE in the 2010 New Years Honours List for services to angling.
    The Medlar Press obituary is here.

    Leslie Moncrief (1913-1986): At 6 ft 5 inches tall, Leslie Moncrief was known to the angling press as the 'Gentle Giant'. He came to the fore as a champion beachcaster, developing his own 'Laidback' method and designing his own glass fibre 'Springheel' and 'Longbow' rods. This site, Hagstone, has a collection of press article many of which refer to Moncrief. (For Chrome users: On the page press Fn and F together and enter Moncrief in the pop up box to highlight all references) carries a video of Leslie Moncrief fishing in Orkney, 1968.

    By the late 1950s, having endured the austerity of the Post War years, leisure fishing in Great Britain had once again became popular and this encouraged a progressive, inventive attitude in the British tackle market. Moncrief, Walker, Buller and Taylor were giving free advice to the tackle industry but often enough, they found, it was being ignored - so they formed a company and began charging for their services!

    In 1963 Leslie Moncrief, Richard Walker, Fred J. Taylor and Fred Buller set up the Moncreif Rod Development Company with Taylor and Buller immediately joining Walker at Hardy Brothers in an advisory role.
    During the war Dick Walker had worked at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, and, on seeing the BBC/Government documentary 'From Strength to Strength' about carbon fibre research at RAE, he got straight in touch with his ex-colleague there, Leslie Phillips .....

    And at this stage in the story, we are back to the opening post.

    Two questions remain for me: 1) Who was the UMIST mathematical genius Steve Parton referred to? and 2) Most importantly, can/will Angling Heritage confirm the date of manufacture of the now legendary 'Fred Buller/Hardy Carbon Fibre Spinning Rod'?

    Well ..... that was fun.
    Last edited by Lewis Chessman; 18-02-2018 at 03:11 PM. Reason: Links added.

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