|Hi, my name is Earl Grant. I am a collector of later vintage and antique fishing tackle such as antique fishing lures, antique fishing reels and antique fishing rods. I have been a member of the 'National Fishing Lure Collector's Club (NFLCC)' since 1998. To join or learn more about the NFLCC and antique fishing tackle, visit their web site. My main interests are antique fishing lures made between 1914 and 1938 by Fred C. Keeling of Rockford, Illinois. I also collect 3HK and 5HK antique fishing minnows made by the larger lure manufacturers like Heddon, South Bend, Shakespeare, Pflueger, etc.|
I put this site together to share information I have gathered on Fred C. Keeling. Along with a brief history of Keeling. I have added, and will be adding, many pictures of antique Keeling lures and boxes, from my collection, as references. To learn about Keeling click on the 'About Keeling' icon or click 'here'.
I will also be adding several pictures of some of my antique fishing lures, such as flyrod lures, 3HK and 5HK minnows from various lure makers. To view them click on the 'My Collection' icon or click 'here'.
While searching out antique fishing lures, antique fishing reels and antique fishing rods for my collection I have purchased many vintage and antique fishing tackle items that I will resell or trade to fellow collectors. To view the items I currently have for sale, which include lures, reels, rods, catalogs and misc, click on the 'For Sale' icon or click 'here'.
I hope you find this site interesting and informative. Revisit me often since I am in the process of constructing this site and the list of items available for sale changes frequently.
Fred C. Keeling was born in the 1870's in Rockford, Illinois. He started making the "Expert" minnow in 1914, a business he took over from the J. L Clark. The company was located at 118 Water Street, Rockford, Illinois. He continued to make lures until 1938.
He had homes in both the Land-O-Lakes & St John's River area. In fact he named one of his early lures the St. John Wiggler.
The Depression of the twenties and some hard times that followed, he offered his company to the Heddon Co, in 1937 without success. He died a year later. James, Fred's brother, sold the company to H&I in 1938.
Fred Keeling was very creative and had to compete with the larger, and better known lure makers. He used the same body for several different lures, as you will see by looking at the examples I have shown.
Many of his lures can be easily identified by the patented keel. The keel was first used around 1919 and was marked "Pat. App'd for" and after 1920 the keel was marked "Pat. Jul 6 1920".
The paint quality of Keeling lures in the early years varied widely. In the later years the paint quality was fair, at best. This was mainly because he did not primer the lure before putting on the finish coat. It is difficult to find older Keeling lures with good paint, and if you do, consider yourself fortunate.