James Heddon and Sons
When people think of fishing lures they probably picture a Heddon bait in their mind. Whether that be a 100 year old beautifully crafted wood lure or a 1960's plastic River Runt. Heddon, according to their literature, has been around since 1894.
It started when James Heddon started carving frog lures out broom handles and actually caught a fish with this new and strange creation. Soon after the Heddon bait company was born. Heddon was located in Dowagiac Michigan and there it housed some of the largest and most state of the art factories of it's time. They made everything from fishing lures to rods, reels, fish decoys, and a host of other products. Heddon was a family run company until 1955 responsible for hundreds of patents and innovations in their field. Talk to any fisherman and I guarantee they have caught fish with a Heddon.
Heddon like most companies started out with wood lures, painted with many layers of thick paint and equipped with glass eyes. These are some of the most sought after lures of collectors today. An original Heddon wood lure from their early years in its original wooden box can bring hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars at auction from collectors. In 1932 Heddon introduced "Spooks" (plastic) lures. These lures were made from early forms of plastic (some tenite). A lot of these original lures were made of unstable mixes of plastic and no longer survive today. However, the "spook" led the way in plastic lures, and as the years went by they became a more stable plastic and are now what you know today as plastic lures.
Heddon lures are very collectible and can range in value from $5 all the way up to a few thousand dollars for the really rare and mint bait. In 1963 Heddon was sold to Daisy Mfg. followed by a series of ownership changes and is now owned and operated by Pradco. Pradco continues to make some Heddon plastic baits and the occasional wooden collectors series. The days of Heddon's glory are long gone though.