Old Fishing lure maker Henry Loftie Trade Card





Old Fishing lure maker Henry Loftie Letter Head





Old Fishing lure Henry Loftie Gang Spoon


Old Fishing Lure Henry Loftie Lure History Page 2

Henry's first lure patent No. 390,028 was granted Sept 25, 1888. His use of a three pronged or triangular  weed deflector on the front Fig. 6 on the patent and a wire weed guard over the tri-pronged hook figures 4, 5, 6.

One of his more notable antique fishing lure patents was granted December 31, 1889. Patent number 418,200,  the Gang Spoon, was a lure which contained a myriad of different shaped spinners (5) as he refers to them as fliers in his patent. You can see two of the five examples in the lure gallery, one is at the bottom left of this page. Also in the Lure Media section under catalogs you can see an actual advertisement  from the 1897 Rueben Woods Son company. This lure was offered in seven sizes; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. As noted in the catalog the picture shows size 3 with one being the smallest for orientation. I am uncertain of the relationship between the size numbers noted and how it relates to the lure itself. My hunch would be that the size correlates to the length of the shaft of which the spinners are attached, seeing how in the catalog they refer to number 7 for Lake trout and muskellunge.

Loftie also created a fly rod lure version which can be seen in the Rueben Wood's catalog as well, labeled the Monroe fly Spinner. I have seen a few variations of this fly set up, one which contained one gang flier and a smaller fly rod size of the Loftie blade shown in the gallery.

Arguably his longest lasting impression and mystery in and on the lure world comes into the picture August 30, 1892 when he was granted lure patent number 481,652. This patent was for a trolling blade, lure, with the ability to interchange or swap out the blades. by providing a locking clasp on the shaft and a simple hole in the spoon, Loftie has appealed to the fishing lure community in a way which will make this lure appear in some form or fashion for the next 100 years though not resembling in looks, it was concept.... This lure was offered in a wide array of sizes and combinations with the gang. In the catalog its referred to as the "Woods Jokers" and were available either in a flat or plain finish or hammered. The lures were also available in Nickel, Brass or Copper and in two sizes. 

Why did I say this lasted for such a long time?  Whether it was through the purchase of the hammered pattern plate or from the infringement/deal for or on the rights to the patent (by Pflueger or Harlow) itself for the next 15 or so years you can and will find his lures. Normally the spoon will be without the hole to help better decipher its origin. however late 90's catalogs show this lure with Harlows name and use of the same type printing block of the specified hammered pattern.

In Arlan Carter's book 19th Century Fishing Lures he shows the Woods Joker ad in conjecture and speculation with John Harlow; I believe based on his extensive amount knowledge and research of pre 1900's materials he may be right. And, also notes it might be Loftie as well. (Here in lies a lot of mystery and scuttlebutt among metal collectors and the relationship between Loftie, Pflueger, and Harlow ) Is it Loftie, is it Harlow, is it Pflueger I wish I had the answer or the facts to help educate us even more. But, unfortunately my assertion and thoughts are just as much of a guess as anyone else's.  

Loftie made a few other assortments of blades over the years, some of which I have seen and others I have been able to purchase and can be viewed in the galleries.

In the next few years after this patent was received, Henry Loftie exited the lure world forever. Leaving his mark and works for us, the antique fishing lure collectors to enjoy  and be somewhat mystified by his eccentricity business dealings and his exit of the lure industry.

Henry Loftie Antique Lure Resources