Chapman Antique Lure the Electric Minnow


Chapman Antique Lure Patent of the Combination Minnow


Chapman Antique Lure the Ball Bait

W D Chapman Antique Fishing Lures Page 2

Chapman had his first old fishing lure patent in 1866; Patent # 54,684 which is for a detachable hook on a trolling spoon. This gives us insight to when officially his fishing lure endeavors began. Yet I own a lure that was found a ship that was sunk in 1865 "The Pewabic" and can be read about here. So while a patent may have been applied for and given in1866 he was obviously producing lures for sale in 1865.

     How did antique fishing lure maker W. D Chapman become the "Heddon" of 19th Century antique fishing lures? Was it through his detailed craftsmanship, his attention to detail in pressing and manufacturing of the lure? Was it a result of hard work and efforts of his horse bound salesman and employees such as Daniel Steele, Charles Higgins, Joshua Salisbury, Percival Salisbury, and Orzellous Weeks? We may never know, but what we do know and can document through the use of patents for the lures, online forums, genealogy sites, and antique fishing lure collectors, he did a good job. 

     William Dana Chapman died in 1909 and is buried in Old Theresa Cemetery, which closes in era in fine fishing lure craftsmanship. However his death leaves many questions unanswered. What was his connection with partner John H. Carnige?

I later unearthed a little acorn of information about Carnige:

 MESSRS WD CHAPMAN SONS & Co the large Rochester dealer in fishing tackle and spoon bait announce that Mr John B Carnegie formerly partner and manager of their Canadian business has been admitted as partner in their American firm to take effect at once and the firm name will hereafter be as above Their office and Bales room will be located at 121 State Street Rochester NY and they have considerably increased their shipping facilities

So this may be when we see a difference in the Title Chapman and Sons to Chapman Sons and Company. Could it also be the end of the lures that were Stamped Brockville, Ontario?

Was it the fire in 1890 that sent him and his antique fishing lure business to Rochester, or a connection with one of the multitudes of family members; Cole, Snell, Alanson?

There is actually quite a bit of documentation for Chapman in certain eras, but great voids about this antique lure maker in others. How and why did the sales offices move to Rochester, to be ultimately consumed, bought, and represented by Gibson and Woodworth of 121 State Street? 

I could go on for pages about Chapman himself  his patents, for the reverse motion display case, his patent for the bird cage spring, and myriad of notes, discussions and thought on his lures, as there are over 25 standards models of lures and, that is what my web site is about. Showing the family trees, maps of Theresa, the history of Theresa itself, cemetery inscriptions, obituaries of family members should there be an interest.

WD Chapman Lure Maker Says Good Bye 1893

Fishing Tackle Proves a Failure with WD Chapman ROCHESTER NY Nov 13 1893
The failure of the fishing tackle house of WD Chapman & Son precipitated the closing up of the jewelry store of WD Chapman at Theresa Mr Chapman has been in business there for the last forty years and much sympathy is felt for the old jeweler Mr Chapman has made public the following statement; After struggling through a business career of over fifty years bravely meeting financial depressions and beginning at the bottom of the ladder after two disastrous fires I find myself to day financially snowed under Having been extensively engaged in the manufacturing of Fishing Tackle making and causing to be made Tons with which to lure the finny tribe I find the business has failed and engulfed me in my old age. But to my old friends and customers whom I have tried to serve faithfully and well in more prosperous days I will say I am at the old place with competent help to attend to fine watch work and repairing Goods at order which will come cheaper to you than i if kept in stock WD CHAPMAN

     I however will close with the statement below that that when time permits I will continue to add to the lure and fishing tackle topics that are geared towards Chapman, and how his antique fishing lures and efforts of yesteryear have had a profound impact on antique fishing lure collectors of today.