Small Maker & Folk Art Fishing Tackle
William J. Grube
William J Grube was born 9 Oct 1873; died 20 June 1954 of a heart attack. He was born in Sunbury, Delaware Co OH to David S Grube & Rosalie Stith Grube; was married to Ada Markel; is buried in the Markel lot at Oak Grove Cemetery in Delaware. Survivors: Wife, Ada. Son, David at home. Daughters, Mrs. Milton G.Wuest, Cincinnati, OH & Miss Rosemary Grube, Barberton, OH. Sister, Mrs. George Heller, FL. 2 Grandchildren.
1906: Grube authors a series of articles describing vehicles in the 1906 Cycle and Automotive Journal, including the 1906 Thompson Flyer and Cleveland Motor Car.
The Grube Motor Company introduced the Delaware Motorcycle in 1907 and offered it at least thru 1909. It was a shaft drive motorcycle with a 3 HP Thor engine. In 1915 he became an agent for the Dayton Motor Bicycle and Motorcycle line.
Consistent with the history above, Grube was granted a patent in 1912 for a vehicle hub lubrication improvement. Patent 693,623.
Sept 20, 1916: Franklin Campbell, Delaware, OH, applies for a patent for an artificial bait consisting of a rubber body similar to a helgramite. There are examples of this lure sold as Campbell's Rubber Helgramite, Campbell's Rubber Helgramite sold by WJ Grube, then Grube's Rubber Helgramite.
May 9, 1917: patent 1,247,955 applied for an artificial bait consisting of a metal body with a molded rubber body.
July 1, 1920: article in the India Rubber World introduces rubber lures that include two helgramite sizes with a bucktail, crawfish, four sizes of crickets, three sizes of grasshoppers, a large crawfish and helgramite.
Aug 7, 1925: patent 1,591.704 applied for an artificial bait similar to the Shannon twin spinner, called the Hydroplane bait..
Rubber Crab, #1
Rubber Helgramite, #2 , #9
Rubber Helgramite with bucktail, #2 1/2 , #9 1/2
Cricket, four sizes, #5
Casting Rubber Frog (with spinner), #11 1/2
Casting Helgramite Wiggler
Grasshopper, three sizes
minnow with spinner
Bill's Lucky Strike Minnow
Rubber Meadow Frog (with spinner)
Rubber Crawfish, two sizes
Grube's Big 6 Soft Rubber Assortment
He is famous for the use of the Swastika on his boxes and paperwork. Before World War II, the swastika was a symbol for good luck. At some point, probably during WW2, the use of the swastika disappears.
Grubes Lucky Strike Minnow is one of his few lures that doesn't immitate nature. The early version has a rubber lip, the later version has a metal lip. Note, the Delong's Reversible Minnow is very similar to Bill's Lucky Strike Minnow. Delong also made rubber lures out of Cleveland, Ohio starting in 1946.
Finnally, a maker named, Raymond Bradley, made identical rubber lures from 1935 thru 1987. He worked for Grube for a year. Doug Carpenter published an article in the June 2003 Gazzette.
The Delaware historical society help with the following references to Bill.
Zanesville Signal – Zanesville, O – 6 Feb 1938
It wont be long now until Ohio anglers will be out on the streams. Bill Grube, of Delaware, had itching feet while I was visiting him last week. I had been catching quite a few bluegills on days when the sun was shining bright enough to keep my line from freezing at the guides and to the reel. I like to catch bluegills on artificial lures, but during the winter months when they insist on more substantial food, I accommodate them with whatever I can entice them with. But I could not get Bill enthused. He has been making artificial lures for so many years that he has become a dyed in the wool purist. So when he mentioned that he was going down to the Scioto to try his luck with crappies, I knew the answer. Most all of the crappies last spring were caught on the little metal lures, so Bill figured if they hit at all now, he would not have resort to lowly worms, but could inveigle them with something he manufactures himself. I wouldn’t doubt that one of the little red rubber potato bugs he makes might prove effective.
Zanesville Signal – Zanesville, O – 24 Apr 1938
[Fishing & Hunting, by J W Munsell] Do you know how many miles or acres of fishable waters there are in your county? I am willing to make a bet with anyone that Bill Grube, of Delaware, catches more bass each year than any other angler in Ohio and he catches most of them in Delaware County. Why? Bill might insist it is because he uses the lures he manufactures, but if he didn’t know where to use them, regardless of their merit, I wouldn’t want to bet. Delaware County has 190 miles of game-fish streams, and there are very few riffles and pools unknown to Bill. Your county may not have such rivers as the Scioto, Olentangy, or Big Walnut, each of which has over 30 miles in Delaware County, or such creeks as Alum, Mill, Bokes, or Rattlesnake, but if you will get from the Dept of Interior, U S Geographical Survey, Washington DC, the topographic map for your section, which shows all rivers and streams, you will be surprised to learn how many miles of water near your home are unfamiliar to you. There are 13 cities in Ohio where these maps can be purchased. If you want the location of the nearest agency to you, write me. Ohio is one of the very best bass states in the country, but you must learn where to catch them.
Delaware County, Then and Now, an informal history
Ray E Buckingham, published by Historybook, Inc. 1976
William J Grube (1874-1954)
For many years, one of the most interesting characters around Delaware was "Bill" Grube who operated a sporting goods store on East Winter Street. At his death, the store looked much as it did forty years earlier. As a kid he helped his father, who had seen one at the Philadelphia Sesqui-Centennial, construct a high-wheeler bicycle he could pedal around Prospect. In those formative years he showed some aptitude for motors, autos, sulkies, and everything mechanical.
He built the fourth car in Ohio according to French blueprints, but utilized spark plug ignition instead of the hot tube setup in vogue then. In 1908, he rode as an observer for Frank Lawwell in the Vanderbilt Cup Races. His racing enthusiasm and motor knowledge led him into close friendships with a couple of future greats, Barney Oldfield and Eddie Richenbacker. The Columbus artist, George Bellows, was a close friend.
Always a talented fisherman, he built up a large business manufacturing artificial lures of every description, all of his own invention. His fishing tales were classics retold throughout the whole community. At his death, he left behind a whole drawer full of patents, a reflection of his talents which were overshadowed by his colorful reputation.
1922 Letter Head
Wilson Catalog 1924 with Big 6 Assortment
Wilson Catalog 1924 with Big 6 Assortment
Frank Lawwell Vanderbilt Cup Race