Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vintage Shakespeare Stock Certificate

Suitable for framing and hanging in any angler's fishing room, $295 gets you this 100 share stock certificate in the Shakespeare Fishing Tackle Company. (editor's note: You won't actually own the shares as this is a "specimen" certificate kept on file by printers and such. ) The seller, also has an excellent write up about the history of the company:
Although William Shakespeare, Jr., had some training in mechanics and craftsmanship, he spent his days peddling patent medicines in and around Kalamazoo. When not hawking elixirs, Shakespeare often grabbed his fishing rod and reel and bait-casted on the banks of the Kalamazoo River or at one of his home state's myriad lakes. Like his angler friends, Shakespeare was frustrated by the inherent inadequacy of multiplier reels, and in 1895 he fell back on his mechanical background and attempted to come up with a solution. Using a small jeweler's lathe, Shakespeare carved precise, curving grooves along the lengths of two round brass rods and created a device that wound back fishing line evenly on the reel spool. He named it the "level-wind," and took his creation on his next fishing trip. The level-wind worked well, drawing the line in evenly without the aid of a thumb. Those fishing alongside Shakespeare gawked at his homespun reel and asked to use it. Shakespeare made several more level-winds and handed them out. The level-winds were an immediate hit, and that was all the market testing Shakespeare needed. He filed for a patent and quickly prepared himself for his new entrepreneurial career.

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