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We often get asked if we can identify when a "vintage" Len Thompson was made. The best we can do is provide a ballpark by having a look at the packaging.
Carded Len Thompson lures were the norm until 1983. Cards printed "Made in Abernethy" indicate lures made in Saskatchewan before the factory was moved to Alberta in 1958. Cards printed "Made in Lacombe" indicates lures made after 1958.
In 1983, foil packaging was introduced. In historical documents, former President Richard Pallister, admits that the change to Multivac packaging machine caused a fair share of frustration. I love this story of how family friend Tolson Russell came to the rescue...
"Tolson showed up one day. I’d known him as a carpenter and a printer. I didn’t know of his millwright skills. He asked me to explain what was happening. I flushed, raised my voice a half octave and proceeded to tell him this bloody machine will never work! He relied confidently, “Sure it will, it’s just a f&%ing machine.” Tolson was known to spread the hockey word around liberally.
He suggested we start at the beginning. I told him the problem was in the sealing area, not the plastic feeding area. He calmly suggested it’s best to start at the beginning. He watched the machine run paying particular attention to the pick-up chain, hit the emergency stop button, fiddled with the pick-up for a few minutes, re-set emergency and asked Ron to run the machine. Voila, the plastic went smoothly and obediently into the Multivac for the first time in months. "
The foil packaging wasn't the prettiest package, but it was functional. Universal Product Codes (UPC barcodes) were the next challenge as more retailers were requiring this. After receiving our Manufacturer’s number, we soon began stapling header cards on top of the plastic package to identify items.
In the 90s, plans to launch the Platinum Series were on the horizon and the Multivac machine was retired in favour for blister/card packaging. By 1998, all packaging had switched over to the new style.
Although the card designs have seen a few tweaks over the years, this is still how Len Thompson Lures are branded on store shelves today.
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