I’ve always wanted to write a piece on the history of Humminbird but I haven’t been too successful with the folks at Techsonic. Seems most people forget that Tom Mann was not only the figurehead of the original organization – but one of the guys that started the company those many years ago. I’ve been accumulating old ads in hope of putting together a complete piece on the subject but I’m not sure when or if that will ever happen. So, until I can find someone who wants to talk about the entire history of the famed electronics company, I’m going to take this opportunity to post this short piece on some of the ads I have from the early years of the company.
The first ads are from the 1973 time frame and nearly all feature Tom Mann in one way or fashion. To open up (the lead-in photo) there’s the 1973 ad featuring the Super Speed depth sounder. The ad states that the unit will read “even the smallest targets” at “Speeds up to 55 mph.” The flasher was also touted to be readable with the sun at your back. Incorporated into the ad was the Fisherman’s Prayer and the opportunity to buy the print in a number of different forms.
The second ad features another interesting concept that Allied Sports was using to promote the flashers – Tom Mann’s Hawg Pen Club. Just send in a picture of you with an 8-pounder or better and you become a member of the Tom Mann Humminbird Depth Sounder Hawg Pen Club. Did anyone of you out there do this and do you still have the certificate? That would be a piece of memorabilia we’d love to share here on the Bass Fishing Archives.
The third ad, also from 1973, talks about the construction of the unit and actually compares itself to the VW stating “Like a VW All of our quality improvements can’t be seen from the outside.” To me, that’s an interesting ad campaign – considering that in the early 70s, foreign cars were not too popular in the South. The rest of the ad states the ruggedness of the unit and how it was made.
The fourth ad is pretty much a rerun of the first three (also run in 1973) but this one has a picture of Tom Mann fishing. Mann was an avid proponent of the spinning rod and in this ad you see him sporting the Garcia Mitchell reel – one of the most popular reels of the time.
The fifth ad features Tom Mann and Bill Dance and goes into detail how back then, most anglers were fishing the ‘Bird on the Bassmaster Trail. It’s a pretty cool look back into who was using what in the day.
The next series of ads is from 1977 and finally we get a look at the most famed unit of ‘Birds’ existence – the Super Sixty flasher. I can say from experience that at this time ‘Bird had the market share amongst anglers, at least in the West. The unit was bullet proof and its little brother, the Super Thirty was a close second for shallow water units. One caveat about the Super Thirty, though, was in order to get better definition in the shallow water, they sped the frequency of the unit up 100 percent. If you ever fished in a boat with one of these units, you know how noisy it was and, on a calm day, the vibration from the spinning bulb would actually transmit through the hull and into the water, creating rings or waves away from the boat. Imagine 100 spectator boats around a Classic angler and the noise that would create? This past week anglers were asking spectators to turn off their present day units if they were close – and the units of today are 100-times quieter than the units from even 20 years ago!
The final ad is also from 1977 and talks about the coaxial connections ‘Bird used. It’s another cool ad that shows to what depth (pun intended) the companies were going to in order to drive sales their way.
At some point I hope to get a complete history of the company together and when I do, I’ll be sure to share it. Until then, we’ll probably dribble out old ‘Bird ads from time to time so you all can relive them.