Phillipson rods marked with a “51” on the shaft carry a special meaning. Agnes Marshall—who, as a Granger board member, would not agree to sell Granger Rods to Bill Phillipson—was reported to have told Bill, “you won’t last five years” in business. Bill started his own rod company and by the Spring of 1947, he had a full line of rods for sale at the Denver Sport Show—months before Wright & McGill had any rods available.
So in 1951 as a dig to Agnes Marshall, Bill had each rod produced that year marked with a special designation to celebrate the 5 year mark in business. The number “51” was inked on the butt section of each of these special rods.