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Al Foss
Cleveland, Ohio

History Lures Blades Packaging Paperwork Miscellaneous Patents Charles Schlipp

Al Foss & True Temper Lures

Al Foss Wager

Al Foss believed that his lures were the best on the market. In 1916 he was willing to wager his invention is the best ever made and he put up a $500 certified check as a wager to any other manufacturer of bass lure to compete for a like amount against his bait. No one took him up on his offer.

He later boasted that if you did not catch more fish with his lures that there must be something wrong with your fishing outfit. Al Foss Pork Rind Minnows are conceded by all fair minded anglers to be superior to all other types of lures in any water and if you cannot get more fish with them, there is something wrong with your outfit.

Al Foss lures caught fish because they were designed to present every time-tried appeal to fish appetite. Advertising frequently described five different appeals to tempt fish - if one couldn't get them to bite, another one could. When the big ones are tempermental and choosy, there is no need to change your lure, but just keep on casting. Some one of these five appeals will be sure to tempt them. They are: Al Foss lures had five appeals

If the fish are there, Al Foss lures will catch them


Most Al Foss lures were made of nickel plated brass.  One notable exception is the Oriental Wiggler, introduced in 1917, and made of celluloid.  The baits have a variety of patented spinner blades and many were designed to be used with pork rind strips, having a button for attaching the pork.  Thus, one nickname for Al Foss lures is the Pork Rind Minnows. Lures were made with a single hook that allowed a fish to fight, making sportsmanship an important feature of the Al Foss lures.  Hence, the label The Sportsman’s Lure on the packaging.  Al Foss considered weed guards a hindrance to hooking a fish and designed baits to be weedless with no need for a guard. 

Most, but not all, Al Foss lures had a model number. A couple numbers were used twice. The catalog of Al Foss and True Temper lures is shown below.


Click on the thumbnail pictures below to see a larger image
Skidder
A bait for shallow and weedy water.  Believed to be the first bait in production based on a late 1920’s advertisement showing the Al Foss family tree. A number of Firsts can be attributed to this lure.

First Pork Rind Minnow ever offered for sale.
First lure to successfully operate in weeds, yet having no guard to ward off strike.
First lure with means to rigidly hold flexible tail to body.

No patent has been located for this bait, which had hinged teeth that clamped to hold the pork rind in place.  As shown on the card from the intro box, Al Foss introduced the Skidder in 1916 with a Colorado spinner blade.  Al Foss patented the Figure Four Blade shown on the right in 1918 and it replaced the Colorado spinner on the Skidder.
Al Foss Skidder
Little Egypt
A bait for general casting and trolling and heavier than the Skidder was also introduced by Al Foss in 1916. It was marketed jointly with the Skidder as the Sportsmanlike way to catch more fish.  This lure also was hinged to hold the pork rind and had glass eyes on the sides.  Al Foss patented the Little Egypt April 30, 1918 and kept it in production until 1929. 
Al Foss Little Egypt
#3 - Oriental Wiggler
The Oriental Wiggler was Introduced in 1917 and patented by Al Foss on April 30, 1918. The lure was made of celluloid and had glass eyes. The innovative design of the Oriental Wiggler brought more Firsts to the marketplace:

First lure with celluloid (Pyralin) body.

First lure with stud to button flexible tail to.
First lure to really make a pork rind strip wiggle

Like many Al Foss baits, the Oriental Wiggler was produced in two sizes.  Number 3 was the larger size at 5/8 oz.  Early advertisements promoted it as Simply Scandalous in its wiggle and attraction to fish.  The lure shown on the top is the earliest version, having a hook molded into the body.   The design was soon changed to integrate a detachable hook rigidly attached to the body by the stud that was also used to button a pork rind strip to the lure. The hook rested in a channel in the middle of the lure body. The later style seen in the bottom picture also illustrates one of several colors of glass eyes sometimes found on the lure.

Al Foss #3 Oriental Wiggler

Al Foss #3 Oriental Wiggler

#4 - Baby Oriental Wiggler
Smaller size at ½ oz and practically weedless as the hook rides upright.  The first colors offered by Al Foss were red, white, or a combination of red & white.  In 1929 combinations of black & white and yellow & white were introduced. This bait is the later version with a hook that could be replaced. Ultimately, painted eyes replaced glass eyes. The Oriental was a hugely successful bait that was produced as late as 1958.  There are many variations resulting from the wide variety of production materials used over time. 
Al Foss #4 Oriental Wiggler
#3M - Oriental Wiggler Musky Size
An additional size of the Oriental introduced in 1918 according to the Al Foss family tree advertisement. The lure had a movable spinner shaft and was slightly heavier than the #3 Oriental. The standard 5/0 hook was reinforced by a wire wrap which anchored it to the lure body, another First for the Al Foss Pork Rind Minnows.
 
First pork rind lure to have "reinforced hook anchorage".

The Musky Oriental Wiggler was re-enforced and strengthened to use on Musky, Tarpon, Tuna and all large salt water fishes. Used in conjunction with our Musky Pork Rind Strips.
Al Foss Muskie Oriental Wiggler
#5 - Shimmy Wiggler
A composite lure combining all the good things that have ever happened in a successful fish lure-the spinner, the spoon, the fly and the deadly pork rind.  Colored bucktail streamers were added to the Al Foss product line with this bait from 1919.  The Shimmy Wiggler consists of a spoon and a cap with the hook held in between by a screw. This allowed the hook to be changed, which was listed as a First by Al Foss himself.
 
First lure with detachable hook rigidly attached.

Again, baits in two sizes were made and the number 5 is the larger at 5/8 oz.   Found in more tackle boxes than any other bait
Al Foss #5 Shimmy Wiggler
#6 - Shimmy Wiggler
All combined in a unit that is a pleasure to behold as it wiggles through the water.  The action of the bait as it wiggles produced it's name.. This is the smaller size at ½ oz and the lure was another Al Foss design with a 1923 patent.  Manufacturing was moved to Anderson South Carolina in 1955. Lures made in Anderson can be easily identified by a single quotation mark that appears on the blade. The Shimmy was ultimately bought by Weber Tackle of Wisconsin in 1968, having been in production the entire interval. Found in more tackle boxes than any other bait.
Al Foss #6 Shimmy Wiggler
#7 - Shimmy Junior
A second use of the number 7, as this bait dates from 1954 by True Temper.  New spinning lure with the famous shimmy action – Famous killer for over half a century. This version is lighter at ¼ oz and modifies the Shimmy to a flatter shape with a spinner blade. It was followed by the #8 Shimmy Spin Tail.
Al Foss #7 Shimmy Junior
#7 - Shimmyette Fly Rod Wiggler
The lure was introduced by Al Foss in 1922 as a miniature Shimmy Wiggler. It was packaged in its own small box.   This bait the larger at 1/16 ounce was the second version.   Without a fly, it is made for use with a pork rind.  Plain for pork rind.
Al Foss #7 Shimmyette Fly Rod Wiggler
#7A - Shimmyette Fly Spinner
Introduced by Al Foss in 1922 as a miniature wiggler packaged in individual , lithographed metal box. This bait, the larger at 1/16 ounce, was the second version and is a Spinner with a bucktail fly.  A lure for bass, trout and other game fish.
Al Foss #7A Shimmyette Fly Spinner
#8 - Shimmyette Fly Rod Wiggler
The 1922 introductory bait from Al Foss in a 1/20 ounce size.  These baits are truly a miniature Shimmy Wiggler with a tiny figure four blade.  They are elongated and lack the Shimmy’s metal cap on the spoon.  Plain for pork rind.  
Al Foss #8 Shimmyette Fly Rod Wiggler
#8A - Shimmyette Fly Spinner
Miniaturized lure and figure four blade in the 1922 introductory size of a1/20 ounce. The design varies from the Shimmy Wiggler, as these are elongated and lack the metal cap on the spoon.  This bait is a Spinner with a bucktail fly.  Lifts off the water with perfect ease.
Al Foss #8A Shimmyette Fly Spinner
#8 - Shimmy Spin Tail
Another case with a lure number repeated at a later date and was introduced with the Shimmy Junior in 1954 by True Temper.  The Spin Tail is lighter at 1/8 oz.  A deadly combination for spin casting of yellow miller fly and spinner.
Al Foss #8 Shimmy Spin Tail
#9 - Shimmy Spoon
A repetition in the lure numbering with the Shimmy Spoon  introduced in the 1955 True Temper catalogue.  This is the larger version at ½ oz. A spoon with a novel design for spinning or bait casting. This bait has the yellow miller fly.
Al Foss #9 Shimmy Spoon
#9 - Jazz Wiggler
Al Foss introduced this die cast bait in 1923 & 1924.  According to his introductory advertisement the Jazz Wiggler was made with two purposes in mind:  A Pork Rind lure that is the last word at effectiveness as a fish-getter and through simplicity in manufacture can be sold at an affordable price.  Al Foss produced the Jazz Wiggler in two sizes and this is the larger size at 5/8 oz. 
Al Foss #9 Jazz Wiggler
#10 - Jazz Wiggler
This is the smaller size of the Jazz Wiggler at ½ oz.  It was weedless yet had no wire guard to ward off the strike. Al Foss also touted the Jazz Wiggler’s low center of gravity that prevented it from turning over.  These baits were initially packaged on this orange card.  Al Foss was issued a patent for the Jazz Wiggler in 1926.
Al Foss #10 Jazz Wiggler
#10 - Shimmy Spoon
Another repeat in the lure numbering with a bait introduced in the 1955 True Temper catalogue.  This Shimmy Spoon is the smaller version at ¼ oz for spinning and also has the yellow miller fly.  Both sizes also available with any of the bucktail streamers.
Al Foss #10 Shimmy Spoon
#11 - Frog Wiggler
Al Foss introduced this bait in 1926 and was issued a patent in 1929.  This is the larger size at ¾ oz.  The Frog Wiggler could be rigged in eight ways and the pocket catalogs offered detailed instructions.   An eight course Table d’Hote fish dinner for any kind of fish. 
Al Foss #11 Frog Wiggler
#12 - Frog Wiggler
Al Foss made the Frog Wiggler in this smaller size at ½ oz.  As seen here, the Frog was made in a natural copper finish, as well as nickel plated.  Natural brass finish lures were also made.  The Frog Wiggler came with a bucktail and pork rind strips added to the legs made it look like a natural frog, or the lure could be rigged solely with pork rind in multiple arrays.  It’s a Frog-It’s a Pollywog-It’s a Minnow.
Al Foss #12 Frog Wiggler
Sunny Bucktail
The Sunny Bucktail is a lure that no one has ever seen. Several copies of a colorful box catalog for the Sunny Bucktail have been found and at least one two piece cardboard box for the lure exists in a private collection. Some Al Foss collectors speculate that the Sunny Bucktail is the same lure as the Dixie Wiggler with the name changed. A patent for a lure resembling the Sunny Bucktail and the Dixie Wiggler was submitted by Foss employee Charles Schlipp in 1929 and granted in 1932.
Al Foss Sunny Bucktail
#13 - Dixie Wiggler
Al Foss introduced this lure in 1928 & 1929 and the Dixie is the first lure based on a design that was not his own.  The Dixie lure was designed and patented by Foss employee Charles Schlipp. During this year Al Foss also sold the company to American Fork and Hoe.  This lure is the larger version at 5/8 oz. Casts right to the spot like a bullet.
Al Foss #13 Dixie Wiggler
#14 - Dixie Wiggler
Here is the smaller size at ½ oz introduced by Al Foss.  This is another bail with a low center of gravity that would ride upright and cannot turn over. The Dixe Wiggler was Al Foss bait that was hugely successful, with production lasting into the 1950’s. 
Al Foss #14 Dixie Wiggler
New Egypt
The New Egypt is the last of the Al Foss baits and was introduced in 1929 as a replacement for the Little Egypt.  A button for attaching the pork rind replaced the hinge on the older lure.  This bait has a similarity of appearance to the Shimmy Wiggler and weighs ½ oz.  True Temper assigned it the model number "2" in later catalogs.  
Al Foss New Egypt Wiggler
#15 - Mouse Wiggler
American Fork and Hoe introduced this bait in 1931. Foss said that big fish were harder to deceive and a mouse often proves the downfall of these battle scared veterans. This bait weighs 5/8 oz.
Al Foss #15 Mouse Wiggler
# 1 Bucktail Fly Spinner
Lightest fly spinner made was the description of this spinner.  American Fork and Hoe assigned it number 1, which places its introduction to 1930 or 1931.  Strong short music wire shaft. 
Al Foss #1 Bucktail Fly Spinner
#16 - Minnie The Moocher
An introduction from American Fork and Hoe in 1932.  This bait is a jointed two piece spoon with a concave disk  on the shaft.  This disk called the dislocator  set up a rippling motion when the bait is pulled through the water. A patent for this lure was issued in 1936.   The Minnie was available painted, as shown here.
Al Foss #16 Minnie The Moocher
#17 - Little Minnie
The smaller version of the Minnie with a single spoon was introduced by American Fork and Hoe in 1932.  This lure also has the dislocator that gives the baits a a wiggling motion to attract fish. 
Al Foss #17 Little Minnie
#18 - Fan Dancer
A bait introduced by American Fork and Hoe in 1936.  Larger at one end, the bait pivots so either end may be used as the line tie. The choice regulates the depth at which the bait travels.  It has a small spinner on the hook. 
True Temper #18 Fan Dancer
#19 - Sheik
A second introduction by American Fork and Hoe in 1936, this bait is the larger size at 5/8 oz.  Another bait made for easy casting.  Casts like a bullet. The Sheik lure was designed and patented by Merlin Mitchell of Orlando, Florida.
Al Foss #19 Sheik
#20 - Sheik
The smaller size of the 1936 introduction by American Fork and Hoe with a weight of ½ oz.  Statically and dynamically balanced.  The Sheik lure was designed and patented by Merlin Mitchell of Orlando, Florida.
Al Foss #20 Sheik
#21 - Super Lure
An American Fork and Hoe salt water bait introduced in the 1937 catalog. This lure is the largest version at 4½ inches long. May be used with or without pork rind. The Super Lure was designed and patented by William Maynard of Coral Gables, Florida.
Al Foss #21 Super Lure
#22 - Super Lure
The middle size that American Fork and Hoe introduced in 1937 for salt water trolling at 3½ inches long.  A control fin which may be set … to give the bait its most effective motion. The Super Lure was designed and patented by William Maynard of Coral Gables, Florida.
Al Foss #22 Super Lure
#23 - Super Lure
The smallest of the salt water baits that American Fork and Hoe introduced in 1937.  It is 2½ inches long and lacks the control fin of the larger sizes.  Highly chromium plated for extreme resistance to corrosion.  The Super Lure was designed and patented by William Maynard of Coral Gables, Florida.
Al Foss #23 Super Lure
#24 - True Temper Flitter Fly
Sized for Bass and Large Trout.  This bait is the largest size at 3 inches long and weighing 1/20 oz. It was introduced by American Fork and Hoe in 1940.  Packed with action.
True Temper #24  Flitter Fly
#25 - True Temper Flitter Fly
Sized for Bass and Trout.  The middle size is 2 ¼ inches weighing 1/24 oz.  Introduced in the American Fork and Hoe 1940 catalog for 38 cents. 
True Temper #25 Flitter Fly
#26 - True Temper Flitter Fly
Sized for Trout, Bluegills and Panfish.  The smallest size of the Flitter Fly, this bait is 1½ inches long and weighs 1/36 oz.  Introduced by American Fork and Hoe in 1940.  A lure with a polished blade and bucktail fly.
True Temper #26 Flitter Fly
#27 - True Temper Hell Cat
Another new American Fork and Hoe bait from the 1940 catalog made for casting.  Not new to those master fishermen native to the Ozarks. This lure is the large size of the Hell Cat spoons at 5/8 oz.  Naughty word tells how good they are.
True Temper #27 Hell Cat Spoon
#28 - True Temper Hell Cat
Introduced in the 1940 American Fork and Hoe catalog and this bait is the smaller Hell Cat spoon at ½ oz.  Now manufactured under True Temper patents under the original Ozark Mountain name of Hell Cat Lures. A patent from 1943 exists for this lure.
True Temper #28 Hell Cat
#28S - True Temper Casting Spoon
Not seen in any True Temper literature, the #28S Casting Spoon was advertised as New For 1942 in the 1942 Gateway Sporting Goods Catalog. The lure body is a Hell Cat Spoon and the line tie has been moved to the narrow end. Has a flashing, darting action in water and most perfectly resembles an escaping minnow.

We need an example of this lure for our collection.
True Temper #28S Hell Cat Spoon
#29 - True Temper Tom
A Hell Cat top water lure from American Fork and Hoe introduced in 1940 at ½ oz.  The Tom is a skipper and is described as Hell Cat’s kitten.
True Temper #29 Tom
#30 - True Temper Jerry
The American Fork and Hoe fast-sinking Hell Cat lure from 1940 at ½ oz.  The Jerry is a diver and is described as Hell Cat’s kitten.  A patent from 1943 shows this bait.
True Temper #30 Jerry
#31 - True Temper Bass Pop
New lure from American Fork and Hoe in the 1941 catalog.  A combination of wobbling spoon and rubber frog chunk.  It weighs 5/8 oz and was patented in 1941.

True Temper #31 Bass Pop
#32 - True Temper Flitter Spoon
Another American Fork and Hoe addition for 1941 is this deep running bait, a combination of our Flitter Fly spoon with a wire leader and casting weight.  As pictured in the catalog.

We need an example of this lure for our collection.
True Temper #32 Flitter Spoon
Frog Trailer
A painted wooden trailer with glass eyes usually found with the #31 Bass Pop.  Its history is not known. Since True Temper did not manufacture wooden lures in this time period, it is reasonable to think that the wooden frog trailer was made for them by someone else.
Al Foss Glass Eye Frog Trailer
#33 - True Temper Pork Frog Chunk
Numbered and cataloged, the trailer was introduced by American Fork and Hoe in 1941 for use with the Bass Pop.  Mottled green and white finish.   A trailer, not a bait, missing its extended rubber legs as is common. You will not find one of these that looks as nice as the patent drawing.
True Temper #33 Pork Chunk Frog
#34 - True Temper "Doc" Pattern Fly Spinner
An American Fork and Hoe introduction from the 1941 catalogue.  This lure is the larger version with a number 3 Sneck hook for bass.
True Temper #34 "Doc" Pattern Fly Spinner
#35 - True Temper "Doc" Pattern Fly Spinner
An American Fork and Hoe introduction in the 1941 catalogue .With a number 6 Sneck hook, this bait is the smaller version for trout.  Will spin with a minimum of motion. 
True Temper #35 "Doc" Pattern fly Spinner
True Temper Crippled Shad
A True Temper  introduction for 1941 as a New Winner.  The Crippled Shad is a floater for surface feeding fish.  This bait with a weight of 5/8 oz is made of molded tenite and painted. The Crippled Shad was available in six standard colors, and a number of special colors such as the one seen here. A 1943 patent shows the lure and the metal lip.
True Temper Crippled Shad
True Temper Speed Shad
Introduced by True Temper in 1941 as a New Winner.  The Speed Shad weighing 5/8 oz is an underwater bait that goes down where the fish are. The Speed Shard was available in six standard colors, and a number of special colors. Like the Crippled Shad, this bait and metal lip were patented in 1943.
True Temper Speed Shad
True Temper Speed Shad, Jr.
A new size introduced by True Temper likely in 1951 at ½ oz.   At that time True Temper described its line as the Lures of Experts and this size was for spinning.
True Temper Speed Shad, Jr.
True Temper Screwball
A True Temper introduction for 1956 at ¼ oz.  When the bait is found on a card the nose is pinched. The 1956 catalog picture shows an open nosed bait that resembles the Treadtail from the following year. Spinning Lure with a treaded tail. The Screwball is not shown in the 1957 catalog..
True Temper Screwball
True Temper Threadtail
A Spinning Lure introduced by True Temper in the1957 catalog also at ¼ oz.  Tubular metal threaded tail.   Maximum effectiveness at a slow retrieve.
True Temper Threadtail

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