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Charles C. Shaffer         Franklin C. Woods

Alliance, Ohio                                               Alliance, Ohio


History of the Expert minnow from research by William Sonnett, Dick Wilson and others. Photos from Langs, Jack Looney and others.

Charles Shaffer invented his Expert minnow, claims experimenting with it two years before J.C. Holzwarth started selling it. Note testimonial dated Oct 1900 referencing "Expert" Wooden Minnow. Introduced in Sports Afield, May 1901.

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May 1901 Sports Afield WRITE  UP.jpg

May 1901 Sports Afield article

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Shaffer Minnow.jpg

April 1901 Recreation Magazine Vol 14 Advertisement

F.C. Woods began mfg and marketing the New "Expert" Minnow in early 1902. The Woods minnow improved on the square propeller design used on the Shaffer/Holzwarth Expert minnow.

1902 sporting goods journal ad cropped.j
FC woods 5 hook 1902.JPG

Sporting Goods Journal January 1902, pg 18

"The Expert wooden minnow is made by F.C. Woods & Co, of Alliance Ohio, and is a novelty in artificial bait. It is shown in Fig. 10.

A few good points are: nickel-plated spinners, revolving in opposite directions; no swivel needed, as this makes twisting of the line impossible, a feature that will be highly appreciated by the experts.The double spinners also produce a churning water motion in the water that is irresistible to game fish.The brass wire extends thru minnow and can not be pulled out. The hooks are fastened with brass wire, which will not rust or rot.The body of the minnow is well varnished to protect aluminum paint.It always floats belly down and can be used on the surface of the water or allowed to sink, as desired, according to the speed given it.

Holzwarth also sold the Woods Expert, but stamped it "The Holzwarth"


Nov 1902, Charles Shaffer applies for patent for an artificial bait that includes perforated spinner blades. Patent 723,045 is granted in Mar 1903. Aug 1903, Woods applies for patent for a detachable hook. The patent, 751,365, is granted in Feb 1904. The hook is referred to Woods Type 1. Front and rear props are the same size.

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June 1903, Field and Stream Advertisement

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May 1905, the rear prop is smaller than the front prop

fc woods 5 hook 1905.JPG

June 1906, Woods applies for patent for a detachable hook, with features to prevent hook rubbing the body. The patent, 832,520, is granted in Oct 1906. Referred to as Woods Type 2 hook. Props are machined.

Jan 1 1907 woods ad Shields Magazine.jpg

Jan 1907 Shields' Magazine

1907 shields' Magazine Woods Expert Minn
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Jan 1907 Shields' Magazine

Hunter Trader Trapper Vol 16, Issue 4, July 1908

Gentlemen: - Section No. 39 of the Fish and Game Laws of Ohio is conflicting as to the number of hooks which may be used on a bait. We have had numerous inquiries from all over the state as to whether the wooden minnow and other lures using the treble hook or a gang o< treble hooks were prohibited by the law. To settle the matter we wrote the chief warden, Mr. John C. Speaks, of Columbus, for an opinion, and enclose you copy of the letter which is self explanatory. As your paper circulates quite extensively in Ohio, we thought its publication might serve interesting to your readers in Ohio.


Yours truly,

F. C. Woods & Co.

By F. C. Woods. May 26, 1908.


Mr. F. C. Woods, Alliance, Ohio. Dear Sir:— In reply to your communication of the 25th inst., we enclose you here with two copies of the revised fish and game laws. The new edition is just being printed and our present supply is somewhat limited. Sec. 39, of this law, prescribes the various devices which may be used in taking fish in any Ohio waters. With reference to the wooden minnow circular, which you enclose, I would state that this office does not consider the use of the device pictured as a violation of the fish and game laws. The paragraph prohibiting the use of more than three hooks on any one line was in tended to prevent the use of trot lines, set lines, etc.


Very respectfully,

Jno. C. Speaks, Chief Warden.

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