Al Foss, Cleveland, Ohio

 Al Foss was a champion tournament caster who often frowned upon the larger lure manufacturer's giant, multi-hooked fishing contraptions. In 1915 he applied for patents on some of his earliest metal lures, which became successful fish-catchers for the subsequent three decades. Foss lures are rather common, and there were many versions made. American Fork & Hoe later absorbed the company, and the True Temper Lures (and other products) were the post WWII progeny of this very talented and innovative tackle maker.

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The Little Egypt emerged around 1916 and was likely Foss's first "pork rind minnow," as his baits were billed. This rare cardboard picture box includes three separate paper flyers extolling the virtues of Foss and his wonderful inventions. This bait has black glass eyes.

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Also ranked among the earliest and rarest of the Foss baits is the Skidder, which consists of a spinner blade with a weighted device into which bait or a pork rind could be clamped and locked down. This is the second of the rare white cardboard "intro boxes."

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Here is an Al Foss Oriental, a pyralin lure with glass eyes. Many Foss baits carry the 1918 patent date. These tin boxes were made in red (most common), green, blue and orange (the rarest of the four). Although very appealing, Foss tins are quite common and many have survived.

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This Al Foss tin is for the Al Foss Dry Strip Pork Rind baits that were attached to other Al Foss lures.  This tin dates to the mid 1930s or thereabouts and is in much better shape than most that have survived.

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This is a somewhat hard-to-find Al Foss tin, made briefly for one lure: the Shimmyette Fly Rod Wiggler. These tins are very tiny and often overlooked in the bottom of tackle boxes. The Shimmyette Fly Rod Wiggler's tin box is so small a penny will not fit inside.

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By the late 1930s, the Al Foss tins were being phased out and a reasonably attractive cardboard box was developed. These boxes were shortlived, however. The Al Foss Shimmy lure in this box still has the original cellophane wrapping and catalog. Foss Shimmy lures are common.

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