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Classic Cane History: Granger Rod Co.

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  • Classic Cane History: Granger Rod Co.

    This is the fifth installment in the NGTO classic cane history series. This week, we head out west to Colorado to learn about the Goodwin Granger Rod Company.

    The following information was originally written by Dick Spurr and has been maintained on Fishnbajo's site for those who wish to learn more about bamboo rods and their makers.

    Goodwin Granger Company

    Goodwin C. Granger began building bamboo rods commercially in Denver, Colorado, in about 1919 and by 1920 had formed Goodwin Granger & Co. In 1926 the company was renamed Goodwin Granger Co. The early model Goodwin Rod, Granger Rod, Colorado Special and Denver Special were renamed in 1930 and the new names remained relatively consistent throughout the history of the company. New models such as the Champion and Victory were added later.

    All models were of consistent high quality with the same nickel silver ferrules and reel seat and the same precise construction. Only the grading of the cane, the style of the windings and the number of guides per section varied between the higher and lower priced models. All Granger rods (except the Colorado Special and Denver Special, which were light colored cane) featured a unique tempering process with ammonia steam which gave the bamboo a distinct resiliency of action and a characteristic rich caramel color for which these rods are famous.

    Granger referred to each different named rod as grades rather than models. Models referred to specific lengths and weights within each grade. Only the grade name, such as Granger Deluxe or Granger Premier appeared on the rod shaft. The model designation appeared only on rod tubes. Therefore it is difficult to differentiate between different nine-foot models merely by inspecting a rod. All rods during the early era were identified with the grade name inscribed on the reel seat between the decorative knurled bands. With the introduction of the internal uplock seat in about 1936 (see below picture), the grade name was moved to the shaft of the rod and the company name was stamped in the reel seat.

    Mr. Granger died in 1931 but the company continued to produce high quality rods until just before World War II. Bill Phillipson was production superintendent from the time of Granger's death until the company closed because of the war. After WW II the company was purchased by the Wright & McGill Rod Co. which continued to produce Granger rods until the mid-50's.

    And there is a local Georgia connection to the Granger Rod company. Gary Lacey, famed modern builder who currently produces bamboo rods for LL Bean, bought the remains of the Granger Rod Company and now produces and sells rods under the Granger name. Gary Lacey lives right up the road in Gainsville, GA and coincidently lives one neighborhood away from our own Bill Oyster.

    Next week, we stay out west to learn about another legendary rod builder; Bill Phillipson
    Message sent from your mom's bedroom during pillow talk

    Buck Henry
    Simple Goat Herder
    Former NGTO President
    Hall of Fame Member

  • #2
    I love reading these articles. I'm definitely interested in next weeks.
    ad illudendum , et in sibilum

    "Laughter is my drug of choice"
    - B. Nelson, HSD, AA, BS, MS, LPC, LMHC, NCC, FFF CCI, ACI, PADI AD, OPP, OCD, ADHD, ODD, PIB, MIB, PBR, PB & J, General Manager of the World, Fluent in Sarcasm

    TBoy to GB: "An education doesn't fix stupid, you're living proof of that "

    "Your a Idiott" - RScott

    I Beat Tommy King in a Spelling Bee.


    • #3
      these are giving me more of a sense of history about cane rods, and since I teach history I love them.
      I am still pretty sure I will never own one but I do love the history of them!
      Thanks mr moderator for posting them.
      Far better it is to dare mighty things to win glorious triumphs even though checkered with failure, than to take ranks with those poor spirits who never enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.


      • #4

        Thanks Clark for these history lessons. They are interesting. Makes me wonder though- 75 years from now will people look back and marvel at us today being able to buy a bamboo rod for $1,500- $3,500???


        • #5
          Originally posted by cucarachafly View Post
          Makes me wonder though- 75 years from now will people look back and marvel at us today being able to buy a bamboo rod for $1,500- $3,500???
          Why do you think I am grabbing up every Orvis bamboo rod I can afford!

          Thanks guys, I was hoping these history articles were being enjoyed. There are plenty more classic cane builders to talk about, so we can keep this going for awhile.
          Message sent from your mom's bedroom during pillow talk

          Buck Henry
          Simple Goat Herder
          Former NGTO President
          Hall of Fame Member


          • #6
            Buck H.

            Have a small book titled "Fly tackle" A guide to tools of the trade. First edition '76. Interesting lists of prices one should pay for cane rods. Dickerson--150- Leonard-150/250-thought highly of Ev Garrison and Pinkey Gillum-400-. Also has much info on makers,repairs etc. Will load into Trout Truck. Remind me next time you see me and I will loan it. TRW


            • #7
              thanks for the interesting history lesson.


              • #8
                Hey Buck,

                I enjoy every one of these articles that you post. They just make me more and more interested in the sport.

                Thanks for your hard work and all the research!

                Learning how to weasel out of work is very important. It's what separates us from the animals... except for the weasels.