Tight Lines Tuesday Shakespeare’s Indian Silk Lines
by John Etchieson
108 years ago in 1909 the William Shakespeare Jr. Tackle Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan adopted a new trade mark for its “Indian Silk Lines” using the profile of an Indian in a full feathered headdress. Many fishing tackle collectors today are familiar with the image of this Indian who appeared on the line spool labels of Shakespeare’s “Indian Silk Lines” (1909 – 1923), but few, if any, have ever known who the Indian might actually be.
My research into his identity has revealed that the Indian in question was none other than the famous Chief Red Cloud of the Oglala Lakota (one of the seven tribes of the Sioux nation). Chief Red Cloud (1822 – 1909) was a renowned warrior and highly respected leader and later a diplomat between the Sioux nation and Washington D C. The announcement of Red Cloud’s death and the recognition of his many accomplishments were printed in many newspapers across the country. The Shakespeare Tackle Company continued to honor him on their fishing line spool labels for 13 more years following his death.
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