There is a general
difference in the body styles between those lures found in later white boxes and
those in the transitional Pine Tree box. White boxes were used 1906 to
1911, the Pine Tree box was in use during 1912. In the photos below,
you'll note the earlier white box lure is more slim vertically than the later
and fatter body of the Pine Tree lure. Also note the lower position of the
cup rig on the later 1912 lure.
If you look at a
comparison of these lures in Roberts and Pavey's book on early Heddon and cross
reference them with Murphy and Edmisten's book, the general indication is the
earlier lures are slimmer than the later fatter body style which is believed to
have appeared in or around 1911 per the catalog. The problem with relying
on catalogs is they are by an artist, not photos and you don't know for sure
when they were made relative to publication. The same drawings were used
for various advertisements and catalogs by Heddon over a period of years.
Art work was expensive, so it was used repeatedly.
Another method to compare
the lure bodies is by prop hardware, length, and belly weights. Both these
later lures had single belly weights. We know the props were first marked
(Heddon) in 1912, so if the lure in the Pine Tree box is not marked, it
would indicate an earlier lure. If marked, then 1912. Lures in
white boxes should never have marked props since white box use was discontinued
in 1911. Then again, Heddon apparently routinely used left-over
boxes or lures so there could easily be mixing during a transition period.
It is suggested you also
consult the series of excellent articles on early Heddon hardware by Bill
Sonnett in the NFLCC Magazine which discusses body shapes and additional
details to determine age. These articles can be obtained from the NFLCC
library by members.
The body shape point is
illustrated in the photos of two lures and boxes from California collector Wayne
Jensen's fine collection. Included are the drawings from two early Heddon
catalogs for comparison.