This all original Wright & McGill Granger Registered RX8642 is inscribed with serial number 1951351. The serial number signifies that this particular rod—crafted in 1950—was the 351st Registered sequentially made between 1939 and 1952. Total Registered production during that period was less than 400 rods.
This exquisite Wright & McGill Granger Registered has been fully Restored by South Creek Ltd. The rod has all you would expect on a Registered. The chrome reel seat is in very good shape, the butt and mids are as well. The single original tip was broken and needed to be scarfed.
The black rod tube is original and the engraved silver medallion reads: “Granger Registered, RX8642, Length 8½ Ft., Weight 4½ oz., Wright & McGill Rod Co., Denver, CO”. The bag is a new reproduction crafted by SCL in black silk to match the original.
About the Restoration: Mike Clark and Kathy Jensen of South Creek Ltd. have beautifully restored this piece of angling history. The entire rod was stripped down to the bare cane. The Granger Registered and Wright & McGill stampings along with the serial number were of course preserved. The original tip was scarfed with Granger cane to match. An invisible protective wrap was added to the scarfed section, yet it’s hardly noticeable. Since the rod had only one original tip, a 2nd tip was artfully made by Dennis Stone to match the taper and color of the original. Dennis is one of the premier blank makers that has perfected the ammonia treatment used on the original Grangers.
A new grip was fashioned to the same dimensions as the original. The chrome reel seat was polished out by hand. All of the original hardware was preserved and NOS original Granger Registered hardware was used for the new tip. The ferrules are original and were polished to look like new. The rod was re-wrapped with the original Black & White color silks in their original positions. Finally, two coats of glass-like varnish were applied to the entire rod.
The 1951 Catalog (pictured below) shows the Wright & McGill Granger Registered 8642 as one of only four models offered that year. Also available were models 9050, 9053 and 9660. — Take note that the 7030, 7633 and 8040 models were no longer available in 1951.
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 EARLY 1950’S
In the early 50’s, Wright & McGill changed the style of their advertising to reflect the more diversified product portfolio. They also began to tell a story of the Granger heritage with the slogan, “for 40 years the World’s Best!”
The first ad in 1950 follows the same format as the 1950 W&M Catalog where each grade was listed along with the available lengths and prices (although the Stream & Lake grade was left out.)
Later in 1950, Wright & McGill created a large number of skyscraper ads in the same format so they could occupy a consistent space in a wide variety of sporting publications.
Advertising for 1951 followed a similar skyscraper format with the addition of the 1951 Catalog pictured along the bottom.
Interestingly, there was a single ad from 1951 that saw the return of actor Dennis Morgan as a spokesperson for W&M Fishing Tackle. Mr. Morgan graced the cover of earlier Granger Rods catalogs from 1947, 1948 and 1949.
All 1950 & 1951 ads show the W&M address as Capitol Hill Station, Denver Colo.