Hardy Brothers.

Of all the companies involved in manufacturing and supplying fishing tackle, there is no doubt that Hardy Brothers of Alnwick stand out as the foremost maker. Now, this is a sweeping statement that certainly will be challenged by many people.
We can look at some reasons for this, longevity of existence, and quality of tackle. However, more important, they marked everything that left the factory from 1872 to today. This fact, plus the availability of the extensive range of catalogues they produced, makes it easier to pinpoint exact dates of manufacture. We also have access to the production book to tell if an item is common, scarce, unique or rare.
Yes, there were better reel makers, better rod makers, and more inventive designers. David Slater and Percy Wadham made more aesthetic reels than Hardy. Gregory was the finest bait maker, and Allcock and Milward produced more rods, reels, and tackle. However, no other maker managed to fuse many attributes into one company over a long period.

William Hardy Hardy Brothers

William Hardy

Even I, with very few Hardy items in my collection, must admit to their greatness and recognise their pre­eminent position in the world of tackle makers. How did this situation occur, and what has sustained it?
The company started in 1872, according to its official history. Unlike so many tackle makers of the past, it is still in business today. I know other companies started trading many years ago, but do they still make tackle today?
As John Drewett points out in his book, the first advert placed in the Alnwick Mercury on 26th July 1873 states that they will commence business on Saturday 2nd August 1873.
In 1873 Hardy’s were making and selling good quality tackle that was slightly more expensive than the average available. It is still the case today; a 9-foot graphite fly rod costs a little over £200 (February 1996), and although they have had their ups and downs over the years, they survived.
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