April 17th is a date I have marked on my calendar this year. It’s the opening day of fishing season here in Connecticut. I probably won’t even go that day, (too crowded), but the rod and reel stored in my car will be ready to go, so that any time I’m driving around the state and I see a spot that looks good, I’ll pull over and see if I have any luck.
I’m sure Everett Horton of Bristol Connecticut had similar feelings. On March 8, 1887 Everett was granted Patent # 359153 for a “Fishing-Rod”. According to his patent application the rod was “a light and compact rod of superior convenience, elasticity, and durability, and one in which the line is protected against entanglement throughout the length of the rod.” This was a telescopic rod with the line enclosed inside the tubes. His was not the first of its kind, just an improvement on previous designs.
I’ve read references to his invention indicating that it was a rod that could easily be concealed so that one might hide it and sneak away to go fishing, particularly on a Sunday, in Puritanical Connecticut. I’m not so sure about that, given the date: late 1800’s when people were doing far more scandalous things than fishing on a Sunday. But whatever, it’s a charming notion. You should see the looks people give me when I say I fish during my lunch breaks on road trips!!
Horton produced rods as the Horton Manufacturing Company and eventually sold his idea to some wealthy inventors who set up a manufacturing facility in Bristol. This new enterprise, The Bristol Manufacturing Company, went on to become a large producer of fishing and sporting gear up to the mid 1950’s.
There’s not much better than a quiet, cool stream on a crisp spring morning or a hot summer day. Gently tossing your line, watching it float down stream, waiting for a slight tug……….I think I have a road trip scheduled sometime around April 17th:)