In 1869, Hiram Lewis Leonard designed and built his first fishing rod of ash and lancewood in Bangor, Maine. A friend suggested he send it to a sporting goods house in Boston, Bradford and Anthony. They were so impressed with his work that they commissioned him to build four-strip cane rods for them. Leonard subsequently adapted the six-strip principle to his cane rods and thus was born the first commercially built six-strip cane rod as we know it today.
In 1881 the Leonard factory was moved to Central Valley, N.Y. Many famous rod makers learned their trade under apprenticeship to Hiram Leonard: Ed Payne, Fred Thomas, Billy Edwards, and the Hawes brothers.
From the heavier Calcutta cane from which Hiram Leonard's first rods were made, and with the introduction of Tonkin cane and dry-fly fishing, which Hiram did not live to see, the present-day light rods have been made on the same six-strip design, and on the same machinery he designed. Hiram Lewis Leonard undeniably earned the title of father of the modern fly rod.
In 1878, William Mills and Son, of New York, acquired an interest in the Leonard Rod Co. and after the death of Leonard in 1907, Thomas Bates Mills purchased the remaining interest in the Company. The Central Valley factory was operated under the direction of Arthur C. Mills III, the great grandson of the early Leonard partner.
It is our purpose at Leonard to link the old and the new - to offer our customers traditional excellence of workmanship plus efficient and personalized service. We hope you will help us to achieve this goal by letting us fill all of your fishing needs.