The Kosmic series of fly rods was created by the famous rod makers Fred Thomas, Eustis Edwards, and Loman Hawes, and later Ed Payne, who left the iconic rod maker Hiram Leonard to found their own company. The trio was backed by Albert Goodwill Spalding, the famed baseball pitcher for the Chicago White Stockings, who opened his own sporting goods outlet in Chicago, the A.G. Spaulding Brothers in 1876.
This rare Golden Kosmic bamboo fly rod, complete with gold fittings, was specially made for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, an event that covered over 600 acres in Chicago, where the Kosmic line won the Award of Highest Merit. The Kosmic rods were a big hit at the time, marketed in part through the Spalding company catalog pictured here, along with a selection of early Kosmic trout flies on cards, which were dressed on English hooks and made in England.
Steve Woit is the author of “Fly Fishing Treasures: The World of Fly Fishers and Collecting”, a book featuring profiles of 30 experts and collectors and over 800 photographs of rare and collectible fly rods, reels, flies, books, and ephemera.