A Unique Start: Gibbs Tool & Stamping Works
Rufus Gibbs arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia from Peterborough, Ontario in 1908. By trade Rufus Gibbs was a tool and die maker, having served his apprenticeship with the Canadian General Electric Company in Toronto. The Gibbs Tool and Stamping Works was established in 1908 on Main Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
The Gibbs Tool and Stamping Works was destroyed by fire in 1912. Not one to give up, Rufus Gibbs soon had re-established business south of False Creek at 56 Dufferin Street. Once again the Gibbs Company was manufacturing in full force.
Because metal-working was his main business, Rufus Gibbs had a distinct advantage when it came to developing fishing tackle. Gibbs was able to focus on creating lure patterns and machines that made the lures, as his company was manufacturing other products such as pipe-hangers and metal hunting tags in the same plant.
As the Gibbs Company was a metal working business, inventors and patent-holders turned to Gibbs to manufacture their lures, and for partnership possibilities.
These partnerships succeeded in creating some of the most famous salmon lures on the West Coast. Examples of those spoons include: the Clendon-Stewart and the Stewart Spoons.
A Household Name
The Gibbs line of fishing tackle was soon well-known across British Columbia and in Eastern Canada. It was the success of the lures that made them famous. Fishermen on the fishing grounds were quick to tell Mr. Gibbs what worked, and what didn't. Modifications suggested by the fishermen who used the lures led to newer, better versions of the Gibbs Spoons. Rufus Gibbs listened to the people who used the lures, and took their comments seriously.
The combination of Rufus Gibbs' understanding of the properties of metals and his ability to work with metals, plus his knowledge of fishing produced what every fisherman wanted: Lures that catch fish!
A colorful fellow, Rufus Gibbs was a well-known figure in the outdoors community. Gibbs was one of Vancouver's best known and best loved citizens. He regularly donated a silver cup for the largest Chinook Salmon that was caught in the Cowichan area on a Gibbs Spoon. He also donated a set of seven Gibbs Spoons each month for the biggest salmon caught on any lure.
Gibbs also actively supported the Boys Club downtown.
Rufus Gibbs had countless friends and acquaintances. In 1941, he was named Vancouver's "Most eligible bachelor of the year". A thrifty man, Rufus Gibbs lived alone in the Hotel Patricia in downtown Vancouver. He occupied an entire floor for 42 years, with no car or television.
The passing of Rufus Gibbs on December 11, 1968, was a loss to all fishermen.
A New Era
George Whatley purchased the Gibbs Tool and Stamping Works in the late 1960's, from the Gibbs Estate (Rufus Gibbs left no heirs). Whatley had his own company, the Northwest Tackle Company, which had been successful out of Kamloops since 1962. Hence the new name: Gibbs-Nortac. Two of the most famous lures to come out of this company were the Koho and the Kit-A-Mat Lures. Under Whatley, Gibbs-Nortac prospered, becoming Canada's largest fishing tackle manufacturer.
Like Rufus Gibbs, George Whatley enjoyed experimenting with new fishing lures. He observed the actions of Steelhead, Salmon and trout as they hit spoons. Many of Whatley's spoons evolved from these observations.
George Whatley purchased the Clendon Metal and Stamping Works, and added the Wonder Spoon to the already lethal arsenal of the Gibbs-Delta Fishing Lures.
George Whatley was careful to preserve the history of Gibbs-Delta. Many of the old packages, dies, molds, metal presses are still in the plant today. The staff at Gibbs-Delta are careful to preserve the rich history that encompasses our company.
A Change of Hands
In the late 1980's, George Whatley decided to sell Gibbs-Nortac. It was a tough decision, but made easier because he was selling to Syd Pallister. Syd is the grandson of Len Thompson, of the Canadian Prairies famous Len Thompson Lures. Syd grew up with the manufacturing of fishing tackle, and although he had a successful accounting practice, he was always partly involved with the family business. The purchase of Gibbs-Nortac by Syd seemed a logical choice. The Len Thompson Lures company in Lacombe, Alberta, is still operated by famlily today. Fishing, indeed is in the blood.
Onwards and Upwards
The purchase of Gibbs-Delta brought Syd and his family out to the West Coast. Syd is committed to quality and excellence. This can be seen in the creation of new lures, colors and patterns as well as other fishing products. Syd is well prepared and ready to take Gibbs-Delta into the future.
From the Past...to the Future
The history of Gibbs-Delta is never far from Syd Pallister's mind. It's something that he greatly appreciates. "When I was a kid, I used to dream about someday making fishing lures, just like my Grandpa Thompson, and in my high school yearbook it said that my goal in life was to make thousands and thousands of fish hooks". Syd, indeed , has fulfilled this dream.
Gibbs-Delta is proudly celebrating over 100 years of Quality Canadian Fishing Tackle. Founded in 1908, we are a company rich in history and knowledge. As we have just entered the new millennium and our own 100 year anniversary, we re-affirm our commitment to producing the best possible quality fishing tackle for fishing enthusiasts.
Gibbs-Delta is now one of the biggest fishing tackle manufacturers in Canada, with a product line of over 7,000 lures, flashers, plastic lures, landing nets, sinkers and accessories available.
Chief Financial Officer Syd is the money guy. Good thing he’s an accountant. Syd knows his “Dollars and cents” and brings his strong financial background to Gibbs-Delta. As the grandson of the legendary Len Thompson, Syd was literally raised in the fishing industry.
Chief Operations Officer Rob is the guy who oversees the factory floor and makes sure that our tackle is made correctly. He also is the one who makes sure that we have the newest and hottest colors and lures around! A man of many trades, Rob has spent many years of his past as a Fishing Guide. His experience and ingenuity shine through with new products and concepts.