A Piece of Fly-Fishing History: A Letter from Charles F. Orvis

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A 1912 letter from Orvis founder Charles F. Orvis to a customer in Michigan.

image courtesy Bob Lyngos, George N. Fletcher Public Library

When a company has been around for more than 150 years, there’s a ton of historical documentation floating around, but it’s always exciting when a connection to the past seems to fall out of the blue. Yesterday, we received the following email:

I work at the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library in Alpena, Michigan in Special Collections. I discovered the attached while working with a recent donation of papers. The Henry Gustin to whom the letter is addressed was a local attorney, real estate developer and sportsman. I thought your company would be interested in seeing a part of its history.

Sincerely,

Bob Lyngos
Special Collections

Attached to the email was this scan of a letter that Charles F. Orvis wrote to a customer on July 23, 1912. It seems that Mr. Gustin’s fly rod had broken at the ferrule. As you can see from Orvis’s response, customer service was already a priority 100 years ago.

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     “The rod is repaired and will be sent the 25th”

image courtesy Bob Lyngos, George N. Fletcher Public Library

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     “Mr. Henry B Gustin

      My Dear Sir,

      I have sent your rod by U.S. mail and think it will please you.

      I make no charge, for the ferrule was imperfect, the fault of the workman who finished
      it up.

I hope to have your commands. We need orders of course. I am getting old but
      only 81 but active and work . . .”


image courtesy Bob Lyngos, George N. Fletcher Public Library

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     “every day. I have two sons with me who probably will continue the business which I have
      been in since 1856.

      Awaiting your pleasure

      I am yours truly

      Charles F. Orvis ”


image courtesy Bob Lyngos, George N. Fletcher Public Library

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