Identifying Heddon lures
can be made much easier if you know the types of hardware and the time period
they were used. Other identifying features are included to help narrow the age
of the lure. Due to the extensive number of variations in this area, some
generalizations are made. Boxes varied with the availability as each hardware
period changed, so this information is an approximation. At the bottom of the
page is a sketch of the various types of hardware and the dates they were used.
One of the earliest types of
hook hardware used and is typical of Heddon baits made prior to 1916-1917. There
is an eye screw in the center of the cup which holds the hook. The cup was to
have prevented the hook from hitting the lure body and protected the wood. There
are several variations of the earliest types, but the more common type is
Cup rig underwater
minnows can have two types of props: unmarked (No Name On Prop) which dates
them prior to 1915-1917; and Name On Prop, which dates them after 1912 when
the name Heddon Dowagiac was stamped on the front prop. Heddon made a gradual
change to L-rig during the 1914-1915 time range, so it is possible to find NOP
lures with cup rig. Apparently they wanted to use up the last cup rig lures
and placed the new marked props on the older cup rig lures.
If you want to learn
more about the early hardware on Heddon minnows, see the article by Bill
Sonnett called "8 years of Heddon Hardware" printed in the NFLCC magazine in
Body shapes ranged
from the earliest 1904-1906 with a high forehead and two or three belly
weights, to the later slim bodies with only one belly weight. The most common
is the later single belly weight.
Early cup rig
models c.1902-1904 generally came in white cardboard boxes with a picture or
writing on the top of the box. As of 1904 they used both wood boxes and
cardboard depending on the minnow until the 1908-1910 era. Boxes are generally
thought to have been used from 1904-1910. At that time a new cardboard box was
used: the blue border down leaping Bass box and then the various red border
down leaping Bass boxes.
Rig: there is an eye screw through the center of the cup, the rim prevents
the hook from hitting the body. Other companies, like South
Bend and Creek Chub used similar cups, but the props will help
differentiate the Heddon.
The next hook hanger which
was first cataloged in 1916. but in use in 1914-15. The hook screw has an arm
for an attachment screw which comes out of the cup and on to the body. The
attachment screw can be seen on the left of the photo.
Generally only Name On Prop.
Early models can be
slim body, but then they used what is termed the "fat body" style and later
switched back to the slim body. Early lures in the 150 are made of Cedar, but
later they used Gum wood which tended to flake the paint. These later lures
often had the word Heddon stamped on the belly.
The typical box is the red border down leaping Bass box. Some earlier lures
may be found in the a blue border box, but those are rare. Later models are
found in the up leaping Bass box.
note the humped arm of the screw over the lip of the cup and a second
small screw to hold the arm in place. Again, the cup keeps the hook from
hitting the body.
This hardware is made
in two pieces and the toilet seat shape gives it the name. This hardware was in
use during 1927 to 1936.
Thin body only in
Name On Prop.
Typically the "Brush" box
with a picture of Mr. H. R. Brush on the top holding a Bass.
Seat: made of two pieces of heavy metal and linked over each other, held
in place with two small screws.
Also known as "Flap"
hardware was used starting in about 1936 and continued through the war until
replaced by the current cheap looking surface type hardware.
Thin body only in
Name On Prop
Typically the "Brush" box with a picture of Mr. Brush on the top.
Piece or Flap hardware: made of two heavy pieces of metal and held in
place by screws.
The later surface rig
hardware which is a flimsy one-piece surface mounted hook hanger held on with
two screws and made of cheap stamped metal. Surface rig hardware is usually
found on post 1950 lures.
one-piece surface type hardware typical of later lures which I do not
collect since they do not fall in the pre-1940 era.
a print of various hardware from an article published in the NFLCC Gazette some
years ago. Drawing credited to the "Bassman", Clyde Harbin, Sr. author of a
History of Heddon, and Heddon Foot Prints. Mr. Harbin's books can be found for
sale in the books and references section of this Web site.