This scarce Wright & McGill Granger Registered RX9053 is inscribed with serial number 1949227. The serial number signifies that this particular rod—crafted in 1949—was the 227th Registered sequentially made between 1939 and 1952. Total Registered production during that period was less than 400 rods.
This Wright & McGill Granger Registered is in Excellent+ condition thanks to a painstaking reconditioning effort by Scott Whitman. The idea behind the reconditioning versus a full restoration was to keep as many of the rod components as original and untouched as possible. Therefore, only items that needed to be repaired were addressed. The rest was left alone.
All 4 sections of the rod are original, full length and straight. The cane is a deep ammonia color and maintains the original varnish throughout. It only needed polishing to bring back the luster. Stamped markings on the butt section read: Wright & McGill Granger Registered along with the handwritten serial number 1949227.
The ferrules were polished, and rewrapped as needed. The butt section ferrule was reset and all ferrules fit perfectly. The original chrome reel seat was polished and functions well. The original grip is clean with very slight ridging and a small chip near the base.
Stripper guide is very large on this 9053 model and maintains its original wraps. One guide was replaced on the mid section and all guides on both tips were replaced due to rust. Each of the replacement guides were correct New-Old-Stock (NOS) chromed high-arch guides. During the process of rewrapping the tips, the outside white trim wraps on each guide were saved and then the inner trim wraps were matched in color.
For this Wright & McGill Granger Registered, a reproduction black silk bag was made to the same specifications as the original. Also comes with original black tube with engraved silver medallion that reads: “Granger Registered, RX9053, Length 9 Ft., Weight 5 ¾oz., Wright & McGill Rod Co., Denver, CO”.
The 1949 Catalog (pictured below) shows the Wright & McGill Granger Registered 9053 as one of seven models offered that year. Also available were models 7030, 7633, 8040, 8642, 9050 and 9660.
ABOUT THE GRANGER REGISTERED
The Granger Registered was first offered for sale by Goodwin Granger Company in the 1939 Catalog. Each rod was “registered” to the original owner by a card that was stored at the Granger factory. The card contained the owner’s name, address, purchase date and rod serial number. The 1939 Catalog describes the Registered this way:
“Think of the finest automobile you can name; the finest grand piano; the greatest violin ever made by the hand of man. Think of the imperishable work of master craftsmen—and then look at this Granger Registered Fly Rod. Examine the lucent golden color of its cane. Note the rich beauty of its black and silver windings, and the clean hard efficiency of chromium on guides, ferrules, tip-top and reel seat. Then put the rod together and take it in your casting hand. Feel the brave, sturdy heart of it—the delicate balance, sensitiveness and action. Take it to a fishing stream and match it against whatever fish you will; watch it come through with its black and silver colors flying—the greatest fly rod of them all!”
Serial numbers for all Registered rods begin with the year they were produced (first 4 digits) followed by the consecutive build number (1 to less than 400). The first Registered would therefore be numbered 19391 and the last (known) would be 1952393.
From 1939 to the start of WWII, there were less than 70 Registered rods produced by Goodwin Granger. They were available in 7′ to 10′ lengths (3 oz. to 6.5oz.) and priced at $75. Because of the war, production of all Granger rods ceased so there are no serial numbers associated with those war years.
In 1946, Wright & McGill Rod Company purchased Granger Rods and later resumed production of the Registered grade. The Registered was listed in the 1947 Catalog at a cost of $100 and offered in 7′ to 9.5′ lengths (3 oz. to 6.0oz.). It last appeared in the 1952 Catalog. In 6 short years, Wright & McGill produced approximately 325 Registered grade rods.
In all, the Registered grade was only produced for a total of about 8 or 9 years with fewer than 400 produced—making it one of the rarest of fine cane fly rods.
Excerpts from Colorado Classic Cane by Dick Spurr and Michael Sinclair
“The Granger Registered rod was the epitome of the rod makers craft in Colorado, and the one model that represents all three major Colorado companies. The Registered rod was designed by Bill Phillipson, produced first by Goodwin Granger Company and later by Wright & McGill Rod Company.
The special features that set the Registered rods apart from all others include a serial number on each rod, white trim wraps at both ends of the black wraps, a chrome plated internal uplocking reel seat rather than the normal nickel silver type, and a hook keeper. They were the only Granger rods fitted by the factory with a hook keeper.
Each rod came in a black bag and a black tube with an inscribed medallion attached to the tube. The tubes for the Registered rods were aluminum for all years except 1942, when World War II forced a switch to plastic tubes.”
WRIGHT & MCGILL ADVERTISING IN THE LATE 1940’S
Wright & McGill began to advertise their newly-acquired Granger Rods beginning in August of 1947. This first Ad (Outdoor Life) states that rods will be “SOON AVAILABLE in Limited Quantities”. Evidence suggests that rods were finally available in “late 1947” corresponding with the release of the 1947 W&M Granger Rods Catalog.
This was followed in September 1947 (Field & Stream) with the tagline: “The ONE ROD Most Fishermen Aspire to Own”.
Both 1947 Ads show the W&M address as Forest Drive at Grant, Denver Colorado.
We believe that in 1948, Wright & McGill chose to spend it’s advertising dollars on Eagle Claw Hooks and W&M Lures as we have yet to discover any specific ads for Granger Rods.
1949 saw the reemergence of advertising dedicated specifically to Granger Rods with tall, 2-color tower ads. The 1949 W&M Catalog (“booklet”) is pictured on the bottom featuring actor Dennis Morgan. The W&M address is now changed to Capital Hill Station, Denver, Colorado.