Fred Arbogast, Akron, Ohio

 For a tackle maker who made mostly metal and plastic lures, Fred Arbogast is an icon of success, especially among  fishermen and today's collectors.  Almost every tackle box from 1930 to 1970 has a few examples of Arbogast lures. We are covering only a few of the very interesting early ones in this chapter and will not delve into the Jitterbug and Hula Popper era.

 Click on photos to enlarge

This is the Arbogast Sunfish, circa 1927. Similar to a Tin Liz, but larger and cast in the shape of a bluegill, this glass eyed bait gleams like a piece of jewelry. This unusual box is the only example I've  seen. It was featured  in a photograph of lure boxes on the cover of the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club membership directory for two years. The papers shown here are actually a miniature, 8-page booklet that says the Sunfish is "new" and was tested for a year!

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The Weedless kicker is another early Arbogast invention. These baits had glass eyes and a rubber and feathered tail apparatus that is usually missing. The picture boxes for these lures are wonderful. The little flyer inside calls the Weedless kicker "new," dating this boxed example to around 1929 or 1930.

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This is the earlier Tin Liz lure, a relatively common glass-eyed painted metal bait made famous by Arbogast. There are at least five different boxes in which the Tin Liz can be found in; this is the  one of the earliest, dating to around 1932. Note the pale yellow background and red lettering on the boxtop.  This Liz is the larger size.  

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This is a smaller sized Tin Liz lure, packed in a later Arbogast box. Note the more vivid yellow background on the boxtop and the lettering in black (as opposed to the earlier red) lettering. The Tin Liz lures were later made in a pressed-eye version, but the glass eyed baits are by far the most desirable and collectable.   

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This is perhaps the rarest of all Arbogast Tin Liz boxes: the "Big Tin Liz" made for musky. This heavy glass eyed lure is in rainbow finish. The boxtop features a photo of an angler with a giant musky. I'm not sure exactly when this box was made, but the label says "patented" instead of "patent applied for." The patent was granted in 1930, so I'd date this piece to around then. You won't see this box often.  

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I don't feature multiple views of many boxes in this collection, but I wanted everyone to see how large the Big Tin Liz actually is, especially when compared to the standard Tin Liz box pictured in the frames above. These heavy metal baits must have cast like a bullet and sank like a rock. No wonder they were short-lived.

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