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Mark Greenig: Bulldog Trade Mark vintage spinners

A nice selection of 2/0 and one 5/0 original Pflueger McMurray spinners. MARK GREENIG/RECORD

This week’s title is almost like a trick question. Most fishing enthusiasts know this company’s lures by a different name — Pflueger. With that tidbit of information we will start our discussion with some interesting details on this company. That will be followed up with data on Pflueger’s McMurray vintage spinners.

Earnest F. Pflueger, a German immigrant, was born in 1843. Most data indicates the company began in 1886. However, some historians show records dating as far back as 1864. Regardless, at one point this company was the world’s largest producer of fishing related products. Pflueger made tackle out of metal, wood, plastic, crystal and hard rubber. From rods/reels, spinners, hooks, etc., this organization manufactured them all at some time or other.

Of special interest with this company was their acquisition of the very first patent, #272,317 dated Feb. 13, 1883, for paint, not a fishing lure itself. The patent request discussed how the paint was made. It noted their special formula consisted of sulphide of calcium and a drying oil/varnish. It also stated the paint could contain luminous or phosphorescent material or similar compound.

Pflueger remained a force in this industry until the arrival of the Sweden made Garcia bait casting reel. The company was eventually sold to Shakespeare in 1970.

Earnest F. Pflueger passed away on Nov. 18, 1890. His son, Earnest A. Pflueger, eventually became head of the company. Initially, he manufactured rosett’s out of tin for ornaments on horse harnesses. Later, he also made artificial baits for fisherman. During his tenure their manufacturing plant was the world’s largest producer of fish hooks.

Let’s discuss the vintage Pflueger McMurray spinner.

One glance at this spinner and you quickly see lures just are not made like this anymore. The McMurray spinner first appeared in Pflueger’s 1894 catalog. It was “still going strong” in the 1952 catalog. The concept of this spinner is simple. The metal one piece blade spins around a heavy brass center shaft. Each spinner has a large treble hook on one end and a heavy duty brass swivel on the other.

To insure you’re looking at an original Pflueger McMurray spinner check one side of the blade for the words, “Pflueger, Trade Mark (bull dog stamping between those two words), McMurray, Made in U.S.A. Look closely as it is hard to read and will be on the left side of the blade.

Make note there are at least five different sizes. Lure size is also indicated on the blade. An example of exact wording is 1/0 or 5/0 etc. Finishes come in silver, brass, copper or a combination of those colors. To illustrate size differences, understand a size 2/0 blade is four inches long. Size 5/0 has a blade length of seven inches. Smaller size McMurray spinners have pointed edges on the blades. Larger lures, such as the 5/0, have blades with rounded edges.

Having used these lures for muskies, I can assure you when skimmed quickly over the surface they create a tremendous amount of turbulence. There is no doubt under certain conditions these lures will catch fish. I have put attractors on the treble hooks for added fish appeal.

The Pflueger McMurray spinner has values that are all over the place. Most on eBay have an asking price from $30 to $50 each. I attribute those figures due to antique shops selling on line. Book value is much less, around $15. Be patient in buying and you will find these items at the lower figure. It would take just the “right person” to sell for the higher amounts. Until next time, may all your searches be successful.