One of the great things about where I live and work is that there is a considerable amount of fishing tackle history in the area. While we often think of the Catskills as being the epicenter of all things bamboo — it was the home of the Leonard and Payne shops during their heyday, after all — the fact is that New England has also had a number of important fly rod manufacturers over the years. And while they may not have been quite as exalted as Leonard or Payne, New England companies like Chubb, Montague, Sewell Dunton and others, played a large role in helping popularize fly fishing for many Americans.
What this also means – and more to the point of this post — is that I often come across interesting pieces of machinery or old tools that were used in some of these early rod shops. The Montague shop, in particular, was located not far from where my shop stands today and so over the years I’ve managed to acquire a few interesting pieces of Montague equipment.
One such piece is this one here, a box designed to help in winding on the silk thread that holds the guides on the rod. It’s a pretty simple but clever design, with spring pressure to keep the spools nice and tight and with enough heft to the box to keep the whole thing good and stable.
I have another winding box that belonged to Tom Maxwell so I don’t use this one for any of my work, but I’ve always thought that it’s a kind of interesting reminder of some of the rodbuilding history in my area of New England.