Philip W. “Bill” Phillipson was born in Sweden on December 4, 1904.  He immigrated to Denver Colorado USA in 1923.  In 1925, he took a job with Goodwin Granger & Co making fishing rods. He left the company in 1926, but Granger lured him back later that year—offering to make him a supervisor with twice his previous pay.

Goodwin Granger died suddenly in 1931 so Bill Phillipson was made supervisor of the entire manufacturing shop. He and Agnes Marshall kept the company going until WWII forced it to close in 1942.

In 1945 after WWII, Bill Phillipson made a very generous offer to purchase the Goodwin Granger Company from Granger’s widow May Granger/Stocks.  Mrs. Granger/Stocks liked the offer, but Agnes Marshall was still on the Goodwin Granger Rod Company Board of Directors. She and Bill did not get along. With her veto and the security of an established company, Bill Phillipson lost out to the Wright & McGill Rod Co.

Bill Phillpson started the Phillipson Rod & Tackle Co in 1946 with brand new equipment, machinery and a fresh supply of Tonkin bamboo from Charles Demarest. Agnes Marshall was reported to have told Bill, “You won’t last five years.”  By the Spring of 1947, the Phillipson Rod & Tackle Co had a full line of rods for sale at the Denver Sport Show—months before Wright & McGill had similar rods available. Then in 1951, Bill had each rod produced that year marked with a special designation to celebrate the 5 year mark in business. These special rods possess the number “51” on the butt section and were meant to let Agnes know she was totally wrong.

The bamboo embargo of the early 1950’s had a dramatic effect on the availability of Tonkin Cane for Phillipson too. Rods were produced from 1947 through 1954 until bamboo inventories were exhausted. The Phillipson Rod & Tackle Co went on to produce some of the best fiberglass rods until it was sold to 3M in 1972.

Bill Phillipson was an accomplished caster. In the early 1930’s he was 3 times Colorado state all-around Fly Casting Champion, set the world record for Distance Fly Casting (142 feet) in 1935, and was ultimately recognized by the Fishing Hall of Fame in the 1950’s.

*Information and dates obtained from Phillipson Rod & Tackle Co. Catalogs and Advertisements, Bill Phillipson’s Biography, Bill Phillipson – A Brief History of the Phillipson Fishing Rods by Donald E. Phillipson, Colorado Classic Cane by Dick Spurr and Michael Sinclair, Goodwin Granger The Rod Man From Denver by Michael Sinclair, and Wings Upon the Water – A Fisherman’s Legacy by Lee McGill.