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Florida Artificial Bait Company
St. Augustine , Florida

In the summer of 1928 people visiting the beach at St. Augustine, Florida were treated to some strange sights as Captain George White of New York attempted to get airborne in a human powered flying machine. The celluloid wings of the bird-like ornithopter could flap seventeen feet as White pedaled his foot powered plane.
George R. White's Ornithopter George R. White's Ornithopter
Look closely at the picture on the right and you will see a rope attached to the front of the ornithopter. An automobile connected to the other end would tow the bird down the beach to get it airborne. On June 5, 1928 a local newspaper reported a successful flight: The car sped down the beach, the strange ship trailing and Captain White at the controls. Suddenly the contraption left the ground with Captain White working the controls that cause its wings to flap in the manner of a great bird, and for 200 feet the ornithopter flew along, gaining on the car below it. Success was short lived. Less than two weeks later the ornithopter flipped and somersaulted as it was being towed for another flight. Captain White was only mildly injured, but the ornithopter was damaged beyond repair.

The wrecked bird was bought by local dentist Henry Farrin. He and his brother in law, George Ettles, formed the Florida Artificial Bait Company and used the celluloid material from the onithopter's feathered wings to produce the Superstrike Shrimp.

George R. Ettles of South Jacksonville, Florida applied for a patent on a fish lure on August 7, 1928. A patent was granted in February 1931. He described a novel lure....composed of transparent material and an assemblage of parts made sufficiently in imitation of the natural shrimp to make the lure effective in attracting fish. One of his patent illustrations is shown here.

Superstrike Shrimp Patent Drawing
Florida Artificial Bait Company began making the Superstrike Shrimp in 1929. The lures were hand crafted and painted in several colors and patterns. They were made in several sizes and weights, and all featured black glass eyes. Many of the ones that are found today show evidence of use in salt or brackish water. These beautiful lures sure look like they could catch some fish.

The lures shown here are part of our collection. Click on the thumbnail pictures to see a larger image

Superstrike Shrimp
Superstrike Shrimp Superstrike Shrimp
Four body section Superstrike Shrimps
Superstike Shrimp Superstrike Shrimp
Five body section Superstrike Shrimps. The colorful lure on the left is probably the most common paint pattern for the Superstrike Shrimp. The lure on the right is a natural shrimp color with a dark brown head. It might not be as pretty as the one on the left, but it is somewhat harder to find.
The Superstrike Shrimp box has a nice graphic that illustrates the tasty treat found inside. Superstrike Shrimp Box

We are always interested in adding to this collection. Please send an email if you have any old Superstrike shrimp lures or boxes for sale or trade.
Visit my page about Antique Florida Lures to see other lure makers from Florida.

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