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Mike Barrio

The Grant Vibration Fly Rod ( copied from the old forum )
« on: September 19, 2006, 23:01:39 PM »
Posted by "ythanfisher"
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Hi. I recently bought at auction a 12ft. Charles Playfair "Grant Vibration" salmon rod, No. 3631, and thought it may be of interest to some viewers of "Fishing the Fly" website.

Although many anglers have heard of the "Grant Vibration" rods, the numbers who have seen one, or more especially, a good example, are probably few.

In 1895, on the Ness, at Inverness, Alexander Grant, the original designer and maker of these rods, using a 21ft, model from a platform on the river, threw a massive cast of 65 yards.
(There is a good article on Alexander Grant, "Wizard of the Ness" in the November 2003 edition of the "Trout and Salmon" magazine.)

This record stood for 110 years until July of 2005 when Scott MacKenzie, a Ness ghillie, with a cast of 68 yards, beat it at the CLA Game Fair, at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire.

No. 3631, a 12ft. model with 2 top sections, is one by Charles Playfair & Co, Aberdeen, who manufactured these rods from around the early 1900s until the mid 1950s.

After that time, manufacture and repair of these rods was carried out firstly by William Garden, Union Street, Aberdeen, and then by J Somers, Thistle Street, Aberdeen.

The rod and bag, which are probably between 60 and 70 years old, appear to have had little use, both being in excellent condition. Unusually, both tops are absolutely straight; the spare top looks in showroom condition.

The photographs shown below will give the viewer some appreciation of the quality of the workmanship associated with these rods, especially the spliced joints, which would have been assembled using leather binding strips.
(The original strips were discovered stuck in the bottom of the rod bag and were restored using a liberal application of Linseed oil.)

HELP.

"scottishtrout" or anyone, I am looking for more information regarding this rod.

Does anyone know who currently holds the Charles Playfair records regarding the "Grant Vibration" rods? These probably hold some of the information I seek.

This rod has agate-lined bottom and top rings, with snake intermediates.

The early rods designed and made by Alexander Grant had "drop down" (in effect, hinged) rod rings. Can anyone tell me what type of rod rings were used on the Charles Playfair versions of the 1930s and 1940s?

Thanks. "ythanfisher"










Reply by "scottishtrout"
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Well - I have some of the original record books - I'm at the office just now but will check when I get home if the ones I have cover that number and I should be able to give you some info, the other record book (I don't have) is located at Sommers shop in aberdeen.

The books were bought by the, now deceased, vintage tackle dealer Jamie Maxtone Graham, some time ago and I got them from him to try and save them going "over the pond", they should probably be located at the shop, but when I brought up the subject some years ago I was met with a hostile response, so I'm looking after them.

They contain information on length, weight (unfurnished and furnished), when built, if they came back to the shop for repair, and in some cases who the rod was made for (both retailers and individual customers).

I think the rods went throught 3 basic evolutions, 1) those made by Grant himself; 2) The "early" Playfair ones - can be identified by nickle silver plated fittings and in some cases part of the handle uncover by cork; 3) The rest, made by Playfair or Jim Sommers (Jim worked at Playfairs and took the Vibration business with him when he left).

I also managed to obtain at the same time the stamps that stamped the numbers and the "Vibration" name on the splice joints.

I'll see if I can supply some shots of some of the earlier ones so as you can see the difference (might not be able to do the pixcel reduction though......)


Reply by "scottishtrout"
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Ythanfisher,

I can confirm that your rod is a 12', 3 piece Salmon rod in "ordinary" action, the wooden blank was made on 7th October 1936 and had an unfurnished weight of 12 1/4 oz, it was completed by "JBS" with agate tip and but rings and steel snakes on the 20th October 1936.

The rings and whippings on your rod look dead right - I don't think Grant could/would have produced many rods with drop rings...

There should be a photo of 4 early Vibrations appearing soon (thanks Mike!), they are from the left

No 124, a presentation model
No 510, 10' 6" 3 piece "ordinary" action
No 277, 11' 2" 3 piece "special" action
No 327, 16' 3 piece "ordinary" action

The trout sizes are rare, it's also interesting to note that in there are some rods marked as "part made by Grant, these are in the 1900 - 1910 date range.

Hope that helps, I also have a small booklet from Playfair that tells you a bit more about them if you would like a scan ?

Cheers
Colin




Reply by "ythanfisher"
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Scottishtrout

Thanks for the information on the Grant Vibration rod (no.3631). My guess at the age of around 60 to 70 years old proved to be fairly accurate.

I wonder who "JBS" was? - Jim Somers when he worked for Playfair?

The early ones shown on your photograph, using nickel plated
fittings are particularily attractive.

A scan of the Playfair booklet would be very interesting.

Thanks again
Alec.


Reply by "scottishtrout"
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JBS could be Jim Somers - but annoyingly there was also another worker just wrtten in as Jim !


Reply by "ythanfisher"
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scottishtrout

I'll have a word with a few "old timers" I know - see if they knew if Jim Somers (snr.) had a middle initial "B"

Alec.


New post by "Mike Barrio"
More on the Grant Vibration Fly Rod


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Here are a couple of pics that you may find interesting?

I have some more which I will post here soon
Best wishes
Mike




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Here are some more bits & pieces that should hopefully prove interesting ......... Thanks for bringing them in to scan Horace!




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Reply by "speyghillie"

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Hi Guys,
I like the post on Alexander Grant, there is one mistake in the news paper cutting, Alexander Grant was never a piper, but a fiddle maker and player, some of his fiddles are in the musem in Inverness, i have been studying Mr Grant for the past two years, his rod ,line and his casting styles, having done talks and demo's on Alexander Grant, there is so much more to this man.
Harry at Clan Rods, is the man for all things Alexander Grant, and is now making the Grant Vibration rods again.
I am sure one day the whole story of Mr Grant will become available, well thats what we are working on.
Gordon.


Reply by "Reeldane"

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Gordon - is'nt it very much what we know as a spliced flyrod -as made by Sharpe's in Aberdeen - I have a 13' 3/2 - where you feel the action all the way down into the handle. It's quit an experience to use a spliced rod. They are much used at some of the famous Scandinavian Sea Trout rivers (Em and Karup)

I never heard about AG - always nice to learn something new, thanks and rgds
Reeldane
Denmark


Reply by "speyghillie"

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Hi Reeldane,
There is so much more to Alexander Grant, not only about his rods and remember he had to make all his own tools to make his rods, even how he fished , Jock Scott descibed him as the best Salmon fisher he had ever seen, the rod the line and the style of casting all done to a mathematical formula, he was 100yrs ahead of his time.
But hopefully next year Harry at Clan rods and myself will get time to sit down and write the whole story of Alexander Grant, its a story that has to be told in full to be able to understand just what a genius he really was.
Gordon.
www.flylineshop.com   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

Mike Barrio

The Grant Vibration Fly Rod ( copied from the old forum )
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2006, 01:33:46 AM »
I have received an email from "Alan" in Hereford looking for any help that we can give him with identifying one of these rods.

I can't help with this ......... but perhaps one of the forum members can?

Alan wrote:

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Dear Mike,
 
I very much hope that either yourself or "ythanfisher" or "scottishtrout" can help me. I have come across the articles and comments between yourselves regarding Grant vibration rods and am very excited by them..
 
I have recently come in to possesion of a Grant vibration rod that has been in my family for some time and am trying to trace its history, but appeared to have reached a dead end when Somers advised me that they no longer had the early record books, nor any idea of who they went to.
 
Harry Jamieson at Clan Rods gave me some general background and my own internet research had given me some knowledge of the history of these rods.
 
I was always told that the rod belonged to my great grandfather (Mr Strange) and would dearly like to corroborate this or at least try to get a bit further along the road that I am currently treading in compiling some background to the family.
 
One puzzling aspect is that there appears to be a reference to the Earl of Suffolk in pen / indelible ink on the carry bag. Perhaps he was the original owner?
 
The rod is a 2 piece and I think it is either 11 foot or 11' 6". I am no fisherman but the overall condition of the rod looks good.
 
The number on the splice? is 392 which probably makes it a very early manufacture given the comments in the articles re rod number 3631.
 
The label on the inside of the carry bag is C Playfair who I understand took over manufacture after getting the patent from Mr Grant.
 
I would really appreciate any info you may have and will try to take some photographs etc if this would help.
 
Thanks
 Alan
www.flylineshop.com   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

Jay Scott

The Grant Vibration Fly Rod ( copied from the old forum )
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2006, 21:02:29 PM »
Playfair......... that wouldn't be the same playfair that made quality side by side shotguns in Aberdeen would it?

Jay

 




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