Manchester Life 2021 | Page 82



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Life in the Cast Lane
wooden rods to hold the same type of historical significance as the original wooden skis that were used in the winter sports community before the development of lightweight synthetic materials . It ’ s interesting to see that with both skiing and fly fishing , the improved and updated version of the primary equipment is still somewhat in line with the shape and design of the original idea .”
One of the first true quantum leaps in Orvis fly rod design occurred when the company started mass-producing bamboo rods in the early 1950s . Taking advantage of the natural flexibility of the bamboo , they impregnated it with synthetic Bakelite resin to improve its durability and water resistance . In the years that followed , the advent of the aerospace age allowed for the incorporation of new materials , such as fiberglass . Due to the stretchy and soft nature of the fiberglass resin composite material , the fiberglass rods only had a short-lived stint as the centerpiece product of the Orvis fly rod line . As the space age brought lighter and stronger materials to the market , Orvis made the full transition to graphite rods in 1974 due to their sturdier composition . The company ’ s main fly rod line has been made of graphite ever since , but Orvis still produces fiberglass and bamboo rods to this day . Coombs is proud that Orvis has been on the cutting edge of modern fly rod design for nearly fifty years , and also proud that Orvis continues to push its products forward by incorporating modern design concepts . “ These days , we use thermoplastics in our resin systems and all kinds of incredible proprietary technologies , many of which we have patented . Truth be told , it ’ s pretty humbling to see where we are now in relation to where we came from , in terms of the materials that we use . There have been such amazing
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