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

A 1912 letter from Orvis founder Charles F. Orvis to a customer in Michigan.
Images 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. A few years ago, 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.

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.

The rod is repaired and will be sent the 25th

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 . . .

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

8 thoughts on “Classic Fly-Fishing History: A Letter from Charles F. Orvis”

  1. That’s nice… Wish I would have gotten that response when my Access broke. I upgraded to a Scott!

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