Front Page Titles (by Subject) APPENDIX F.: A New Fishing-Rod Joint - An Autobiography, vol. 2
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APPENDIX F.: A New Fishing-Rod Joint - Herbert Spencer, An Autobiography, vol. 2 
An Autobiography by Herbert Spencer. Illustrated in Two Volumes. Vol. 2 (New York: D. Appleton and Company 1904).
Part of: An Autobiography
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A New Fishing-Rod Joint
[From “The Field” newspaper for January 14, 1871.]
During the late salmon-fishing season, I had the opportunity of trying a rod with a new kind of joint, which I had made for me in the spring. The results having been satisfactory, a description of it may be of interest to fishermen who care about improved appliances.
This new form of joint may be generally described as a combination of the splice and the socket; possessing, as I think, the advantages of both without their inconveniences.
In the figure, A B represents a splice made with a shoulder at C—the effect of the shoulder being that, so long as the halves of the splice are held together laterally, they cannot be drawn apart longitudinally. The halves of the splice are held together laterally by a sliding socket or collar, D E, of such length and diameter that when it is drawn down till the bottom of it, E, comes to the point B, or rather to the dotted line just below B, the splice is tightly inclosed by the collar throughout its whole length: the tightness, of course, resulting from the slight taper of the rod and the corresponding taper of the collar. The advantages of this arrangement are these:—
1. Decrease of weight. Instead of the usual metal socket and the metal bracket fitting into it, which have to bear all the strain, and therefore must be of considerable thickness, there is only a single collar, which may be made comparatively thin; since the strain it has to bear is no greater than that which is borne by the wrapping of silk ordinarily covering a splice.
2. Quickness of adjustment. When the rod is being put together, no time is required to adjust the line of the runners. The fixing of the splice itself fixes the line of the runners, which cannot afterwards go awry. A further and greater economy of time and trouble, results from dispensing with the usual link of wire or string, needful to prevent the loosening of the joints by continual casting.
3. Avoidance of entanglements. The existing form of socket joint, needing its tying of wire or string to prevent loosening, causes inconvenience and irritation by often catching the line or the flies. This collar-splice joint, as it may fitly be called, offers nothing against which the line or the flies can catch.
4. It is quickly taken to pieces: requiring no untying, and not being liable to bind.
This last assertion may perhaps be received with scepticism, since it seems obvious that as, in rainy weather, water will get into this joint as into the ordinary one, the liability to swelling of the wood and consequent binding will be as great, if not greater. But, anticipating this difficulty, I had especial care taken that the wood should be made waterproof. Soaking it in hot boiled oil and subsequent varnishing, rendered it impermeable; so that though, during my fishing of last season, exposure to rain for many hours repeatedly occurred, I never had any inconvenience from binding. I may add that, as an additional precaution, I rubbed the surface of the splice, outer and inner, with tallow. [This was a mistake. I forgot that “verdigris” would result from contact of tallow with brass. I afterwards used oil. Perhaps vaseline would answer.]
It may be well to meet a further doubt which some will feel—whether the sliding collar will not be loosened by continual casting, as the ordinary socket is. Recognizing this possibility before the rod was made, I concluded that there would be little danger of such an evil. The common rod is apt to get loose at the joints, because at each cast the momentum given to the upper parts of the rod tends to pull them out of their sockets; but in the joint I have described, the shoulder of the splice effectually prevents this momentum of the upper parts from producing any effect, so long as the collar keeps its place; and there is no tendency to loosening of the collar, save that resulting from its own momentum, which is not sufficient to overcome the friction. Experience verified this anticipation: when the collar was thrust into its place with moderate tightness, it never stirred.
Being much simpler than the ordinary joint, it ought, I should think, to be considerably cheaper; though I cannot say that the advantage of cheapness was realized in my experience. But of course anything made for the first time is much more costly than when it is habitually made. Mr. Alfred Carter, of St. John’s Street Road, Islington, was the maker; and, on the whole, he carried out my plans satisfactorily.
37, Queen’s Gardens,