Help with rod identification

Sean Meeghan

Well-known member
OK Cane Heads here's a challenge! I've just acquired a rod which is labelled "A Special Rod By Milward". It's 8ft long with a 16 inch cork handle with sliding reel fittings. The tip and butt rings appear to be nickel silver with pale cream "agate" inserts. I suspect it was designed as a light worming rod, but some ignoramus appears to have used it for sea fishing as the alloy on the butt button and the hard chrome intermediates have disintegrated.

The rod is exquisite: light and steely, with silk black and white whippings and lovely dark cane.

My guess for age is late 40's early 50's due to the alloy fittings and the spigotted ferrules.

So what is it?

---------- Post added at 21:56 ---------- Previous post was at 21:53 ----------

I've just weight it. It weighs 5oz!

If it was a fly rod I'd be having an orgasm. I've fished with a Charles Ritz Parabolic and this feels nicer!
 
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the indifferent crucian

Well-known member
Sean, I've got a Milward catalogue for the 56/57 season. It lists the Spincraft at 8ft. and most of the spinning rods have tenon ferrules.

They go on to offer 'ultra light models' for continental use, using the 'staggered ferrule system', but I have no idea what that means..these are short rods, but it does show that they were prepared to make 'specials'


Is it a 2 or 3 piece rod? I'd guess 2 or you would have mentioned it...in which case it might be a Spinmaster but not the Pikemaster which was a 3 joint rod.

I'm guessing that you would have mentioned if it had a reverse taper butt ?

It would be usual for Milward to have whipped it in red/black for a coarse rod and yellow/black for a game rod, though some match rods were done in very dark blue.

It did occur to me that the handle was a bit short for a worming rod, but as a 'special' who can say? They also made a lot of rods for gentlemens outfitters such as departments of Gamages, the Army and Navy and Harrods. As well as rods under the Hexacane brand, without a mention of Milward or the crest.

Incidentally some Milward rods have a black hexagon behind the coat of arms( though it really is just a crest), dated to the mid-fifties, I have been unable to find a reson for it, but it does seem to help date them.
 

Sean Meeghan

Well-known member
It's a two piece with white/black or silver/black whippings. The screw-in button on the butt is white spongey rubber with a green felt washer. If I was rating it I'd say it was built to cast around 1/4 ounce. It's definitely not a Swimversa and it hasn't got a crest or logo, just the writing as described in a tasteful spiral where the 'strongarm' logo would normally be. Given the use of alloy fittings I did wonder if the more likely date was the 1950's, but the tip and butt ring aren't typical of that era. They are very similar to the material on my early Wizard which would indicate late 30's, 1940's or possibly early 50's and I would guess that they are nickel silver judging by the tarnish

I did wonder if it was a special made for a store, a senior manger or a valued customer.

I did wonder about taping some rings on it and trying a fly line through it and rebuilding it as a fly rod if it felt right. As it is I'll probably by a few new rings and the best thread match I can find and restore it to how it should be.
 
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the indifferent crucian

Well-known member
I forgot to mention, the writing on Milwards rods was invariably white...I don't know how it was done, not a lot of white ink about. The best rings were often made of German nickel-silver, but I imagine there wasn't much of that in the UK after 1939? When you say alloy winch mountings , do you mean aluminium. If so that tends to come late in the Fifties, I think...before that they were usually brass, which is an alloy, where aluminium isn't, hence my confusion.

Milwards did indeed do one-offs and gifts for senior managers, indeed that is how the 'Versa' range came about, with its hollow-built reverse taper butt. This was around for several years before Terry Thomas designed the Swimversa for them.

Incidentally, I learned last year that Milward successfuly applied for a European patent on the reverse taper butt. Which might mean Mr. Barder owes somebody some royalties for his Craftversa copy :)
 

Sean Meeghan

Well-known member
Sorry an old engineering habit. The reel fittings are aluminium as is the collar and the butt fitting.

So it will probably remain a puzzle: a very nice cane blank with quality fittings probably from the 1950's, probably made by Milwards, but not a standard model.

Thanks for your help IC!
 

Jeff Woodhouse

Moaning Marlow Meldrew
If it's only an 8ft rod in 2 pieces then they're only good for bush style broad beans or the short french bean varieties. For peas you need something around 10ft, a Walker Mk4 is fine, and for runner beans it has to be the full 11 or 12 ft varieties, Barder especially, but they're more modern of course.

;) :eek: :wh
 

Peter Jacobs

Moderator
Staff member
Banned
If it's only an 8ft rod in 2 pieces then they're only good for bush style broad beans or the short french bean varieties. For peas you need something around 10ft, a Walker Mk4 is fine, and for runner beans it has to be the full 11 or 12 ft varieties, Barder especially, but they're more modern of course.

Sean,

Ignore the man, he is simply a philistine!
 

Sean Meeghan

Well-known member
What would you recommend for sweet peas Jeff? I've got an early Allcocks Wizard, but it's a bit long. Should I cut a piece off the tip or should I look for a nice Hardy CC De France or maybea Fario Club?
 
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Gary Cullum

Well-known member
A Special Rod

it’s probably exactly what it says Sean - A Special Rod. That someone approached the Good Colonel Milward or his chief designer Terry Thomas and asked them to make. What shall we call it? Well , sir it’s a special one-off rod.
At 8ft as others have said, it sounds like a spinning rod - open bridge rings or high bells ( stand-offs?‚ that would give us a clue. Heavy enough to be a pike rod? Worming or light salmon spinner perhaps? Early carp stalker..? Probably not. It’s probably... a Special Rod.. just for the purpose the original owner wanted. Hmm, not very helpful..

Mr Indifferent small carp... I think most patents only last for 20 years, so by the time Mr Crabtree went along to help out his friend Edward with a Craftversa copy... which became a signed limited edition rod ( and incidentally it remains, at 11ft 3 inches, one of my favourite grayling rods).. he was probably unrestricted in making a few. If anyone knows how few original Craftversas were made, I‘d love to hear from them. An ad for them appeared in the very first issue of Creel magazine, edited by Bernard, that was July 63. No further ads appeared. So it was indeed a short lived rod and came at a time when some manufacturers were starting to think about making glass rods..
 

Sean Meeghan

Well-known member
Doh! :eek: I've just been pulling together a list for refurbing the rod and I've realised that the writing says

"A Specialist rod by Milward."

So it looks like one of the Specialist series. Here is the spec again:

8ft two piece, spigotted (tenon) ferrules, 16 inch cork handle with white rubber button and aluminium sliding reel fittings and collar. 'Threadline' rings - nickel silver agate (cream) lined butt and tip ring with 4 open bridge intermediates 2 off size 2, 1 off size 3, 1 off size 8. Thread is silk black/white. I'd rate it to cast about 1/4 oz

So which Specialist is it and why hasn't it got the Milward logo on it? It doesn't look like it's been refurbed.
 

Lord Paul of Sheffield

Well-known member
What would you recommend for sweet peas Jeff? I've got an early Allcocks Wizard, but it's a bit long. Should I cut a piece off the tip or should I look for a nice Hardy CC De France or maybea Fario Club?

for all the good it did you on the Trent in September I'd used the rod you took there:wh

Sean for all the good my rod did me on the Trent in September you can have mine so you can have a matching pair:D
 

Jeff Woodhouse

Moaning Marlow Meldrew
why hasn't it got the Milward logo on it?
Probably a Chinese ringer. :D

What would you recommend for sweet peas Jeff?
Sweet Peas are a bit of a speciality, especially if you gorw the yellow ones. The best varieties are dwarf and grow no higher than 3 ft therefore Hardy 8' Perfection Fly rod tips are the best. You can burn the bottom sections, but watch for sparks if buring indoors.

:D :D :D
 

Sean Meeghan

Well-known member
Thanks Jeff. I don't have a Perfection so I borrowed a Fario Club off a mate and used that. I snipped a few inches off the tip to get the length right.

Just a word of warning. I burnt the butt section as suggested, but you didn't say to take the corks off first. The house now stinks of burnt cork - any ideas?
 
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