Hi Everyone. As some of you may know, I truley enjoy refurbishing old fly rods. I have done many over the years and recently my love of fiberglass fly rods has brought me to this treasure. Here is what we have; it is a Vintage Conolon Garcia Live Fiber 7 foot 8 inch fly rod. The history of Narmco, the name of the company that designed this rod is below. It is a very interesting history I must say, considering they were the first company to make tubular glass blanks. I purchased this rod in some what pristine shape, however I wanted to fish it.
What I have done is completely re-done this rod to make it look better than original and completely fishable.
I have varnished the entire blank
Polished and cleaned the beautiful brass ferrules
Cleaned the handle and epoxied the thread wraps
You also will notice that I added a new stripping guide, because the old style guide will just choke when you try to shoot line... And this rod will shoot line.
It is a smooth medium slow action, heavy but very well balanced. It is like taking out an old Corvette or Mopar or 427 Ford street rod. I love making these sleeper type rods, and this is the best one I have made to date.
I also added my JP Ross Crest to the blank. Hopefully some day this will add to the value of the rod as we believe we are well certified to restore any fly rod of yesteryear.
I also have found the best line that will fish this rod, it is a wf 5 weight, and I have included this new line with the package. However, that was not enough. I also found that in order to fish these rods, you need to balance them well. So what I did was, I found an old 1950 Pfleuger 1495 Vintage Reel. This reel is special because it was made in the USA, and features the original Ivory center cap and reel handle. The reel also comes with an old 6 weight double taper line on it, in case you want to just put the reel on the shelf and enjoy it. I have been buying a bunch of these reels lately, and I just lost one on ebay for $272.00, however that one had the round diamolite line guard. This reel is easily worth $100.00 to $200.00 to any collector. When I went over it, it had grease in it that looked like old ear wax. I cleaned it up and will lube it before it ships. I also added a new aluminum vent seal rod tube, with bronze anodizing, and a hand painted cap by me. I am asking a firm $499.95 for this entire set. Only sold through an email. Please email me if you are interested. I will ship in the USA for Free. If you are looking for an inventment and something to challenge yourself on the water, look no further.
Enjoy reading about it below.
Garcia Conolon, Initially established as NARMCO, Conolon developed the early technology of the hollow fiberglass rod. Later owned by Garcia. An American company named NARMCO invented the first hollow fiberglass fishing rod blanks in 1946. Dr. Glenn Havens, head of research for NARMCO, is credited for the invention. Though fibers made of glass can be traced back to the 1890s, Owens-Corning is credited for the invention of fiberglass in 1938.
NARMCO was a WW 2 weapons manufacturing plant that used fiberglass in some of their parts. Their name was an acronym for the National Armament Company.
NARMCO became the Narmco Conolon Company at their factory in Santa Ana, California and fishing rod production began in 1947. Armed and ready (pun intended) they quickly became the world’s largest producer of fiberglass rods. Prior to this invention; all fishing rods were made of split bamboo, wood or steel.
Narmco Conolon maintained the lead by covering the full spectrum from ultra-light spinning, bait casting and fly rods to powerful heavy-duty sea rods.
In the early sixties; The Garcia Corporation became the new owner and changed the name to The Conolon Corporation with Howard Ashby as President. Mr. Ashby was also a Garcia Vice President.
Early rod materials were just called “fiberglass”, then “Missilite” (a chemical bonding finish they had used instead of rivets on their old products such as bombs and guess what, missiles!) to seal the fiberglass rods, then quickly changed due to the negative implications to “Conolock” then to “Live Fiber” in the fifties.
All of these “surnames” were no longer used when bought by Garcia.
The Conolon Corporation closed in 1982
NARMCO (CONOLON) TIMELINE 1943 - 1960
NARMCO - National Research and Manufacturing Company
Dr. G. G. Havens and his associates produce a new laminate material known as "Conolon" in early 1943. When impregnated with highly developed resin Conolon enables the production of strong light weight products that withstand extreme temperature and humidity changes
National Research and Manufacturing Company (NARMCO) founded in 1944 by Dr. G. G. Havens was established initially to develop a series of structural adhesives under the trademark "Metlbond" and a reinforced laminate under the name "Conolon"
Incorporated as "NARMCO, Inc." in 1946, development of the tubular fiberglass fishing rod concluded at Corona del Mar, California in 1946. Pilot production of the tubular fiberglass fishing rod began at Corona del Mar, California in 1946.
NARMCO began full production of the tubular fiberglass fishing rod at Costa Mesa, California in February 1947. Eugene H. von Ehrenberg joined NARMCO in March 1947.
Renames itself NARMCO Industries, Inc., in April 1952 and splits into five divisions: NARMCO Research and Development Division, performs both private and government research;
NARMCO Manufacturing Company, manufacturer of military and aviation products; NARMCO Resins and Coating Company, produces impregnated cloth, adhesives, resins and coatings;
NARMCO Sporting Goods Company, manufacturer of fishing rods and blanks;
And National Rod Company, distributor of NARMCO Sporting Goods Division products
1956 - 1960
Eric von Ehrenberg believes that NARMCO Sporting Goods Company
Manufactured fishing rods for the Garcia Corporation under the name "Garcia-Conolon"
NARMCO industries was sold to "Telecomputing Corporation" in February 1960 (later re-named Whitaker Corporation listed on the NYSE) We believe that during this time period the "Telecomputing Corporation" spins off the National Rod Company and NARMCO Sporting Goods company to the "Garcia Corporation", which re-names the two "The Conolon Corporation" a Division of the Garcia Corporation
NARMCO never referred to its fiberglass fishing rods as "hollow"
NARMCO always referred to themselves as "originator of the tubular fiberglass fishing rod"
This timeline would not have come together without the help of Eric von Ehrenburg whose father Eugene was at one time President of NARMCO Sporting Goods. I am still engaged in research but hope to have more of the NARMCO/Conolon story available in the near future.
If you have information you are willing to share (catalogs, newspaper clippings, advertisements, etc.) please feel free to reply to this article.
If you feel I have screwed up and any of the information contained in this timeline is incorrect, please let me know and if possible point me to a reference source I can use to get the correct skinny.
Found on the web, submitted by Tim Barton