Shakespeare Lures and the Shakespeare lure company got its start in the 1890’s. Its first patent in 1987 was a patent for a level wind reel and not a lure. William Shakespeare Jr. was the son of a banker, who’s schooling was more rooted in finance than fishing tackle. In 1905 they acquired the rights to the Rhodes patents, which included the uncles Famous Perfect Casting minnow and his access to the Mechanical frog lure.
The early pre-teens Shakespeare lure catalogs contained very few lures a less than a dozen at most. The company would like other use different materials to make the lures. The Shakespeare Revolution, and Floating Spinner lure line would be made of metal, the Rhodes Frog, Weedless Frog Lure, and Evolution using rubber. With the Under water Minnows, Kazoo and Surface wonder being made of wood. A lot of the earliest Shakespeare lures are found in a black picture box made specifically for that Shakespeare lure.
The Teens would be predominately covered with different shapes and sizes of underwater or floating wooden minnow Shakespeare lures. They would too, supply the jobber market with their unmarked lures and or boxes to be marketed under different names other than their own. In the 20’s and 30’s we would see a refresh and expansion of the lure line up and like Pflueger concentrate more heavily on its Shakespeare Reel line up. Some of the new lures added would be a cheaper line up of its own in the Jim Dandy series and lure s like the Mouse, Kazoo, Wobbler, Tantalizer, and 7-11 Plopper Shakespeare Lures. Those years as with the other antique lure manufactures, see the end of the glass eyed lure era. With the emergence of plastics into the industry and as companies cut cost and faced product shortages and loss of revenue due to outside factors such as the great depression.
The 40s would see more of the same drastic changes up until the 50’s. The Shakespeare lure Company was purchased by the Creek Chub Bait Company in 1952. This would then end its American made production and later all lures would come from outside the United States. Over the next 30 years the great American Fishing Tackle industry would fall prey to itself and in keeping up with the times you will see a great consolidation of all the major players.
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