Tight Lines Tuesday Rare Tsatlees Silk
by John Etchieson
As a longtime collector, researcher, and an author on the history of America’s fishing lines I have seen many wonderful examples of the packaging and graphics used to sell fishing lines one hundred or more years ago. One such recent discovery I made was this Abbey & Imbrie (Est. 1820) boxed coil of unused Braided Tsatlees Silk Fly line. The graphic image in the bottom of the box was certainly eye appealing and the owner, Markus Schober of Thun Switzerland, was seeking to learn more about its age. Markus had found the unused box of line in the barn of a neighbor’s farm and thought it might be from 1900. I offered to help him and found from reviewing my research records that the Tsatlees silk came from China in the heart of the geographical region known for producing the very best quality white silk that was so popular in the 1880s era.
This led me to check my records of pre 1900 catalogs and ads for Abbey & Imbrie fishing lines in my research journals where I discovered a single ad published by the American Angler magazine on March 3 1883 for this very same rare braided “Tsatlees silk” fishing line offered in either raw, boiled or oiled and in the tapered polished finish.
After 35 years of researching I have learned that just when you think you have seen and learned it all, there is always something new to discover. Markus was expecting his line to be from 1900, and has instead learned it is from 1883 and is now 134 years old and still like new.
Comments or questions may be sent to John at email@example.com