Made by the man himself and quite simply THE EARLIEST GRANGERS KNOWN TO EXIST. There are only a handful of known examples of the first era “Special” Grade with “The Granger Rod” reel seats.
This Granger Special has received a flawless, complete restoration by Scott Whitman. Both tips were down, but have been scarfed back to full length using original “white Granger” seasoned blond cane. The guide wraps are red silk tipped black with red intermediates and the signature wrap pattern is a lovely combination of red, black and olive green. Red agate stripper guide. English twist line guides. Perfection (PAT 8-3-15) tip tops.
The reel seat truly tells the story of this rod. The first Granger reel seats have three distinguishing features: 1) an additional ornamental knurled band at the top, 2) a wider than usual sliding band with knurled patterns on raised rings near the outside edges, and 3) a bullseye on the base of the butt cap. Stamping on these first Grangers is also unique. It is believed that all very early Grangers used the same reel seat (regardless of Grade) with the markings: “The / Granger Rod / Denver” in 3 lines. The waisted ferrules were hand-made by Granger “of our own manufacture” and were pinned at the factory. The grip is also a unique slender half-wells shape that Granger described as “Tournament Style”. Non-original bag and tube.
ABOUT THE GRANGER SPECIAL
The Granger Special grade was first introduced in the 1st Era along with the DeLuxe and the Premier. The first recorded mention of the Special appears in Granger’s 1920 advertisements. Special rods from the 1st Era were made with seasoned blond cane and have a very unique signature wrap pattern consisting of red, black and olive green.
The Special grade name transitioned to the “Denver Special” in the 2nd Era and also added a “Colorado Special” in the 3rd Era. Granger renamed all of the rod Grades in the 4th Era and this grade was simply referred to as the “Special” once again.
The Special remained in the Granger lineup until the company closed its doors during WWII in 1941.
Wright & McGill Rod Co. purchased Granger Rods in 1946 and resumed production of the Special grade beginning with the 1947 Catalog. It was offered in 7.5′ to 9.5′ lengths (3.75 oz. to 6.0oz.) and moderately priced at $30. The Special made its final appearance in the 1953 W&M Catalog making it one of the longest running grades in the history of Granger rods.
GOODWIN GRANGER ADVERTISING IN THE IST ERA (1919 – 1922)
While Goodwin Granger may have started building rods as early as 1914, the first ads to offer them for sale began in April of 1919.
The first ads from 1919 were simple and small—about 2″ wide. Granger considered the dry climate & elevation in Denver as a unique selling point and also touted a better power-to-weight ratio than “other rods”. It seems as if he was trying to differentiate himself from the East Coast rod makers of the day. Even these first ads from 1919 mention the availability of a catalog, yet none have surfaced to date. (If you know of any catalogs from this time period, please contact us.)
Ads from 1920 and 1921 highlight a more refined approach. Granger encourages customers to “Send me an order… that suits your pocketbook, tell me the kind of fishing for which you wish to use the rod… and I’ll send you a rod that will satisfy you in every respect.” This suggests that Granger was perhaps willing to customize rods for his customers’ needs. An ad from March 1921 also supports this: “There is a Granger rod for every kind of fishing. Special rods made to order.” There may have been as many as 4 grades offered before 1921 (4 prices listed in June 1920 ad), but that was reduced to 3 grades by March 1921. Interestingly, the 1921 ads all suggest that there may be another early color Goodwin Granger catalog: “Send for free circular, with rods illustrated in actual colors.” (Again, if you know of any catalogs from this time period, please contact us.)
Goodwin Granger himself was experimenting with rod design during this time—especially in 1921 when he was introduced to the sport of Tournament Casting.
Ads from 1922, discuss the “new Deluxe and Premier models.” The earliest 1st era rods were all labeled “The Granger Rod”—regardless of grade. It is believed that standardizing the model names at this time was an easier way to sell and market the differences between the rods that Granger offered at the time.
All ads list “GOODWIN GRANGER & CO.” as the business entity and the addresses is consistent in this era at “East Ninth Ave., Denver, Colorado”.
You might notice that a different street number was assigned to each publication on all Granger ads. This was done to accurately track the responses for the same ad across different publications.