I've got a problem.
There are times you see something with a title or name
which you instantly understand. Or an article may be 'an
authentic replica,' as in things produced for museums. There
are types of furniture made today in the manner of certain
famous makers. We know Chippendale (no, not the male dancers)
didn't produce the piece, but the style and design are of that
manner and time period. Some furniture makers even go so far
as to use the exact tools the old makers used. All of the parts,
including glues and fabrics when possible.
What about a fly rod?
If the rod states, 'Leonard' is it a Leonard? There are cane
rod makers who are doing just that, putting the name of the
TAPER on the rod. Printing Leonard, or Payne, or Young or
whomever's name on a rod might just be illegal. It sure is
misleading, and tacky to say the least. Is it plagerism? Or
is that just for writing?
Yes, I know the cane rod makers measure, mic and thoroughly
inspect every detail possible to make rods as close to the
originals as possible. The tapers are published in books
and newsletters, shared in classes and gatherings around
the world. Nothing wrong with that.
But to somehow indicate the rod in your hand, with Payne printed
on the side IS a Payne, when it is a Payne taper made by another
maker is wrong. Oh, you tell the buyer it is a Payne taper. . .or
the buyer orders a specific famous taper, fine - but what happens
40 or 50 years from now when the heir of that person ends up with
the rod and didn't ever know you? Or that you built it for their
dad? What is it now?
If I built a Rolls Royce which was no longer in their product line,
very carefully matched every single detail, including putting the
name on the grill, is it a Rolls Royce? Could I sell it as a Rolls?
Would the Brits probably be in touch with their attorney to stop me
from producing 'my Rolls?'
I have no objection to rod builders using the old, tried and true
tapers. It would seem to me a permanent type of tag, record, letter,
certificate of who built the rod, what the taper is, date the rod was
produced could serve as a record of the rod. If the rod is to have
any writing on it at all, (and I personally am not fond of seeing
a signature scrawled on it) it should carry a maker's mark which,
if the rod maker is serious about his craft, could be registered
very easily through the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office. That
way the rod would be traceable by future owners.
Many times builders modify slightly some old standard taper,
usually feeling they are in fact improving on the original. The
maker then scribes his name on this improved version. He is not
trying to take advantage of another's notoriety.
There are a number of talented cane rod makers these days,
building good sticks; to them my admiration. To those who
are so insecure about their own abilities they feel they need
to adorn their rods with the usurped names of previous famous
rod makers, I suggest you rethink your motives. As well as how
using that 'other' name reflects on you. If you feel you need
another name on the rod, try putting the buyers name on it, that
seems to have fallen out of fashion too.
Somehow I don't expect the Payne, Leonard, or Young families
to be filing law suits over the use of their name on rods not
of their making. And maybe that's why no one else is saying
anything against it. But it still is not the "right thing" to do.
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to
post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!