Dating Mills Flies

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upstatetrout
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Re: Dating Mills Flies

Post by upstatetrout » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:26 am

Image

I also find interesting in the 1931 Mills Catalogue along with the add for the "special stream flies"are adds for barbless hooks. I guess not so new a concept! This catalogue also contains all the color plates of salmon,trout and bass flies available as John has already pointed out.
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Theroe
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Re: Dating Mills Flies

Post by Theroe » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:18 am

bearbutt wrote: Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:13 pm

Dana--maybe you should take a few of these out on the Willow one day and see what happens?

bb
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Greenwell
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Re: Dating Mills Flies

Post by Greenwell » Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:15 am

ForumGhillie wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:47 am bb, I hope you will remember to take those with you this Spring to NW WI outing. <hint! hint!>

Where would those flies have been made?

per dozen... $1.50. How the hell did they make money????

John
Mills imported flies from England, the world supplier of commercial flies for many years, but Alfred Miller (Sparse Grey Hackle) writes: "Three of Thomas Bates Mills six children became active in the William Mills business - Eddie, the caster; "old" Arthur: and Chester, who because of delicate health established himself at Geneva, NY in the beautiful Finger Lakes district and set up a flytying project that supplied the firm with most of its American-made flies for some forty years." So there's a very good chance that these flies were tied in Upstate NY. I've always wanted to research the Mills flytying operation in Geneva, which is just a few minutes from my home town of Skaneateles, but have never had the time to do so.

They made money because the average worker made less than $1.00 an hour at that time. Women made even less than men and then as now constituted the bulk of commercial tiers. For a bit of perspective consider that in 1914 Ford doubled his workers' wages from $2.50 to $5 per day. In 1914, $1.50 was equal to $37.68 today! So actually, a dozen flies in 1914 cost pretty close to what they would cost today in buying power. By 1930, the $1.50 dozen flies were equivalent to $21.91 in today's money and a Leonard Catskill rod at $50.00 would have been equal to $733.00, about what a top of the line graphite costs now.
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Re: Dating Mills Flies

Post by Mike62 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:13 pm

Greenwell wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:15 am
ForumGhillie wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:47 am bb, I hope you will remember to take those with you this Spring to NW WI outing. <hint! hint!>

Where would those flies have been made?

per dozen... $1.50. How the hell did they make money????

John
Mills imported flies from England, the world supplier of commercial flies for many years, but Alfred Miller (Sparse Grey Hackle) writes: "Three of Thomas Bates Mills six children became active in the William Mills business - Eddie, the caster; "old" Arthur: and Chester, who because of delicate health established himself at Geneva, NY in the beautiful Finger Lakes district and set up a flytying project that supplied the firm with most of its American-made flies for some forty years." So there's a very good chance that these flies were tied in Upstate NY. I've always wanted to research the Mills flytying operation in Geneva, which is just a few minutes from my home town of Skaneateles, but have never had the time to do so.

They made money because the average worker made less than $1.00 an hour at that time. Women made even less than men and then as now constituted the bulk of commercial tiers. For a bit of perspective consider that in 1914 Ford doubled his workers' wages from $2.50 to $5 per day. In 1914, $1.50 was equal to $37.68 today! So actually, a dozen flies in 1914 cost pretty close to what they would cost today in buying power. By 1930, the $1.50 dozen flies were equivalent to $21.91 in today's money and a Leonard Catskill rod at $50.00 would have been equal to $733.00, about what a top of the line graphite costs now.
Wow, great post. So much history...
bearbutt
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Re: Dating Mills Flies

Post by bearbutt » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:33 pm

Greenwell wrote: Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:10 pm I wonder what the "N" stamp means, possibly "Nylon" as the later, post WWII, snelled flies were on nylon? But these look to be pre-nylon.
This nails it. Some are nylon, some are gut --but all of the ads say "gut"--so the packaging probably pre-dates some of the flies snelled with nylon.

Thanks so much for helping narrow this down. Also for your post quoting Sparse--It's probably buried in company records where the flies were all tied. I can imagines the Mills archive was HUGE--does anyone know what happened to it?

bb
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Re: Dating Mills Flies

Post by Greenwell » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:57 pm

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Description of flies from 1910 Mills Catalog, color plate from Streamcraft. Both the color plate(s) and catalog woodcuts were used for decades.
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Re: Dating Mills Flies

Post by ForumGhillie » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:30 pm

John, what do you mean "catalog woodcuts"?
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Re: Dating Mills Flies

Post by Greenwell » Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:28 am

ForumGhillie wrote: Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:30 pm John, what do you mean "catalog woodcuts"?
John, for centuries prints were made by cutting the image into wood blocks which were set up with the type to illustrate printed materials, books, newspapers, catalogs, etc. Many of the earlier angling books contain such illustrations. I actually mistyped and meant steelcuts as the process moved on to using steel or copper printing plates rather than the earlier wood blocks. Steel and copper plates contained much finer detail than woodcuts. However, the term "cut" lasted for many years as a kind of shorthand description for any black and white illustration and you may see something like "refer to cut on page 123" in older books and catalogs.
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Re: Dating Mills Flies

Post by bearbutt » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:09 am

I'm pretty sure the Mills plates reprinted in Holden are offset. I'm less sure about the engravings from the catalogues as I have no original catalogues, but as John corrected himself, they aren't woodcuts--most likely steel engravings that were later reproduced as offset too.

bb
upstatetrout
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Re: Dating Mills Flies

Post by upstatetrout » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:54 am

This has been a very interesting discussion and I think we can determine for sure that the flies are definitely from the last century.! :D :D :)

Tom
"We argue to see who is right but we discuss to see what is right"
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