Date: Sat Jun 6 5:12:06 1998
Subject: The Hardy's France
This is for Davy Rigg in particularly, and the several others who asked for
the Hardy's France taper. And if the maestro would like to include
this in the rodmakers web page, well by all means go ahead.

I've mic'd the rod very carefully, and where there have been differences
between the flats, have averaged. The differences were small anyway - .002
or .005 at worst.

0" -         .079
5" -        .101
10"        .130
15"        .149
20"        .167
25"        .179
30"        .188
35"        .200
40"        .210
45"        .220
46"        .227
46" - 50" ferrule and wraps
50"        .237
55"        .245
60"        .262
65"        .270
70"        .293
75"        .305
80"        .308
85"        .320"

Overall rod length, less tip top        95"
Handle length                        10" with small tapering winding check
All cork handle with lightweight sliding D/L reel band to standard Hardy's
screwed-on aluminium socket, and decorated and engraved butt cap.
Ferrule - Hardy's own nickel silver. Male size .230"

Guide spacing.

67" agate stripping guide.

I would suggest that an additional guide or two might be beneficial.
Original guides are bronzed cradle rings (we call them full open bridge).
They were quite small, and more suitable for silk lines. I'm replacing with
Hopkins and Holloway bronzed snakes, sizes 1 and 2, and re-installing the
original real agate stripper. 

Weight, with guides, but without varnish, is just under 4 oz.

Wraps are light yellow/olive green, colour preserved.

Legend reads: Above winding check wrap: Palakona Regd. Trade Mark
Above first intermediate: The " France"

The bamboo is medium brown, and the node pattern the normal Hardy's 3x3 pattern.

My rod is numbered E74301 and this makes it a 1950 rod.

The France was made from 1911 to 1961, and in both 7'0" and 8' lengths.

Value: Well I paid 150 ($225) for mine, and this should have been described
as theft. The dealer who sold it to me couldn't see the perfect rod under a
bedraggled exterior. A good one might sell for 400 ($600). A mint example
might sell for quite a bit more.

There's something rather nice about having an original, with all its
engraving, and a pukka serial number. An original has a bit of history with
it: if you like, it's a proper antique rather than a perfect reproduction.
All the same, there will be new rodmakers you can make a better job of
making the rod than did Hardy's, who were producing for a commercial market.
But originality has value, otherwise real Garrison rods wouldn't sell for
$10,000, despite the fact that a perfect repro can be had for $600.

It would be interesting to know how this very famous old taper rates when
run through Hexrod. I suspect that it will show up all sorts of unhappy
possibilities. Whatever - for over 80 years, anglers of great standing and
discernment have chosen the France as their favourite weapon. It must
have something going for it.

By the way Davy, I see from my reference book that Hardy's also made a model
called The "Davy" from 1930 - 1939 8'9" three piece. I know no more about
that one. You'd need to find someone with a Hardy's catalogue (proper
English spelling) from that period.

John Cooper (England)