Due acknowledgement should be given to my friend Duncan Francey for the "All Roads Lead to Svangsta" image
Little did I realise I would travel the same roads to the home of ABU just a few years later.
The short introduction to ABU HISTORY via a utube video is here
A second very interesting video is here showing the 1967 manufacturing process
....An ABU documentary
50 minutes based upon 35 hrs filming
In 2013, Abu Garcia will re-launch its iconic Swedish made round reels with newly updated editions of its original Record, C4, C3, Pro Rocket and Mörrum Swedish-made round reels. With upgraded performance and style, the new line of round reels embodies the trusted durability and engineering that generations of anglers have come to expect.
To mark this occasion a poignant and beautifully shot documentary has been produced that traces the history of one of the most revered fishing brands in the world. The film captures how from the banks of the Mörrum river in Svängsta, Sweden a watch maker emerges to develop the world’s most sought after reels. Discover how “Allting Går Igen”, Everything Comes Round. “For Life, The Story of Abu Garcia” was filmed in 14 locations from Sweden to the United States and reveals perspectives from 13 individuals about the company’s humble beginnings in taxi meters to memoirs from anglers that underscore the way fishing shapes defining moments in our lives.
“Chronicling the history of one of the world’s most legendary fishing brands was a huge task and we are very excited to give an insider’s look at how this company started,” said the film’s Director, Dustin Hoye. “The stories were so genuine and provided many different points of view for a great perspective of the lives influenced by Abu Garcia.“
Highlights in the film include Lennart Borgstrom, former Abu Garcia owner, and Henning Karlssom who began working in the factory in 1940. Henning was just 14 years old when he started with Abu Garcia and to this day, still volunteers as curator of the museum in Svangsta, Sweden. Everyday anglers provide their heartfelt stories which underscore the way fishing shapes some of the most memorable and defining moments in their lives.
Hair raising, goose-pimple inducing , with an inspiring soundtrack
So proud to be friends of ABU, more power to you all, For life..... Len, Henning, Jan and Patrik in Sweden and Andrew in USA and the innovative team of Quek and Ming in Malaysia!
Trailer teaser and Full film Released 10th July 2013
Another recent accolade bestowed upon ABU is the series
of postage stamps released by the Swedish Post Office
to commemorate their ever- lasting contribution
to the worldwide Sport-fishing movement.
Before saying a word, all the information here is based upon facts and ideas provided by my friend Lennart (Len) Borgstrom.skilled fisherman and family man, he in his own right, he could teach us lots about fishing equipment and techniques.
The 1880 Halda watch factory,
on the banks of the Morrum River at Svangsta,
bought by Carl Borgstom in 1921 in order to create taximeters and Meter for Telecommunication like the Teleur. After his untimely death in 1934, his son Gote, took over the reins.
WW II in 1939, saw Gote's dream fail, and to our benefit the choice between creating Anniversary clocks or Fishing Reels was sound and the rest is History!
to reel manufacturing, Halda made worlds best practice Pocketwatches
and more....See the video and note the Morrum River and
similarities to our passion, A.B.Urfabriken products.
Taximeters from both A.B.Urfabriken's Halda and Record eras
Grandson of the the original owner Carl Borgsrtrom (and son of the late Gote Borgstrom (left), Lennart continued to build the ABU dynasty for many years after his father's death in 1974. I have been privy to a new English translation and it will immensely reward anyone who cares to open its soon (2006) to be printed pages. Why ? All information from original sources has to be most accurate. Perceptive comments in the Forward by Bertil Torekull are an excellent overview to his easy to read historical study in management..
Classical Multipier generously
written in Dutch and now translated to English by the
author Hans van der Pauw
Interesting image at left
courtesy books.google.com .
Click to read article
Although A.B.Urfabriken eventually made 9 styles of reels, it was originally and ultimately in my mind the precision and quality processes involved in research and development as well as the Ambassadeur baitcaster which was the cause of ABU's world-wide success.
Having never seen either the technically advanced Modern ABU Factory or indeed the historic 40's era Old ABU Factory, the present ABU Museum or The House of Salmon a fea few kilometres away, I am indeed in a great debt to my friend Uffe Edefuhr who has lived in the vicinity and is a great source of knowledge and photographs to me. It has recently been supplemented by the ABU General Manager Jan Sjoblom and I hope in the not too distant future, I will be able to make this pilgrimage with both gentlemen to Svangsta and experience the associated delights of all things ABU that I have heard of for 35 years or more.
Of course no trip to Svangsta, would be complete
Fishing the fabled Morrum River
My friend Duncan Francy from Scotland has had me very envious of his recent opportunity to fish the Morrum River in southern Sweden, on the banks of which sits the ABU factory and Museum.
Duncan shares these personal pictures from his trip to Morrum River fishing at Svangsta, showing the (bronze) Maid of the Morrum, accomodation for fishers, a tranquil fishing pool beneath the Borgstrom home as well as the old fish trap.
A place of dreams or Mecca for so many ABU deciples, I'm sure.
He has kindly presented me with a book from Morrums Kronolaxfiske where they claim fishing history has occurred from the year 1231
I do hope all ABU fans and fishers in general enjoy my sharing this info on the Morrum here. If you are fortunate enough to be able to plan a trip here to fish, then please contact here morrum at sveaskog.se Their website is www.morrum.com Current prices can be determined for Day Cards etc as these are from 2011.
Sample pages are below from their fine 24 page brochure with informative educational images and finely detailed maps of pools along the Morrum River.
Map not linked at high resolution as one should buy this for the pocket!
and after fishing , an ABU fisher must never leave without seeing ...
The ABU Factory (click each image for old and modern)
the old ABU Factory circa 1940's
The ABU Cottage (or Fiskestugan)
and the nearby
Len here is shown in the 1962 Garcia Annual, catching Atlantic salmon on the Morrum river, which would be my dream place to fish. He has been fortunate enough to travel far and wide to indulge his love of fishing with ABU.
Here an Australian article from Modern Fishing August 1980 , (27 years after the release of the first Ambassadeur), which brings newcomers to appreciating the quality of the ABU marque in our part of the world.
Also without doubt, the almost complete, sequenced and fascinating source of information for ALL things ABU has to be from 1948 with the Napp och Nytt catalogs! These come in many languages issued at different starting times. I collect the English Tight Lines version (missing earlier than and 56, 57, 58. 60, and 63 issues) as well as N&N. Look here for a page of interesting links. Aways looking for a Russian, French , Polish and Spanish copy too!
Unfortunately the old ABU is no more. Why ? Read on (soon) in his delightful text and understand the failings of government and if you are in management, learn from his visionary techniques.
Carl's Borgstom's Prototype Casting Reel
|(passionate fisherman, dev't late thirties)|
In my mind, four of the the major milestones for ABU were 1. Carl Borgstrom's decision to build fishing reels evolving from his first attempt at a casting reel shown here; 2. the fore-thought to fill gaps in product lines by Outsourcing; 3. the hiring by Gote Borgstrom of Ake Murvall who designed the Ambassadeur itself and 4. the taking on the Japanese on Television with respect to patent violation by Len Borgstrom!
Murvall: The Record Ambassadeur Prototypes and
Test Colour Reels. Once
See his retirement Ambassadeur here
Further to the above reference to patent violation of the Ambassadeur my good friend Len Borgstrom actually shared an interesting story about catching unscrupulous persons/companies out. This was done by a devious but effective means whereby a small hole was drilled in the Abumatic which had no purpose whatsoever other than to see whether it would be replicated by copists. Sure enough it was done, and in court it was a very good means to demonstrate the copying of intellectual property rights on the Abumatic. There is a reference in Len's book ABU and Garcia What happened? See pages 78/79 for more in depth recollection in Len's words.
A chance encounter with Swedish (now e-mail friend) Anders Täpp who works at an Ad Agency www.idebild.se was discussing copyright with a friend, drew my attention to the story which I had long since forgotten and consequently failed to place here. Thanks for the compliment and reminder here Anders and also the kind offer of some assistance with a website issue!
The primary reason IMHO, that ABU reached this position of dominating the world angling scene is because they had multiple facets to the brand name. Not only did they produce the world's best tackle over a very long time period, revered by both the ordinary common fisherpersons such as ourselves as well as film stars, business leaders and heads of state, Swedish and Finnish royalty (and Len even taught the prospective Queen of Sweden to fish)
They were the first company to take a holistic approach to the marketing of fishing beyond the commercial sense of the word. The Golden reels are testiment to the position, ABU's reels should be held up to. My personal connection, whilst beginning in the 60's as a child saving his pocket money to buy ABU Killer, Hi-Lo and Toby lures, became more more two way when I began writing tot he company in Sweden, UK , USA and Australia.
Len and Sten Wilhelmsson and Sten Stenberg. The ABU export managers.
Note, fashionable Len, flaired Safari suit no less!
"The pictures were taken in the 70's when we had a sales meeting in Sweden for our most important customers in Japan. "
Japanese guests of ABU at Svangsta with Anita Borgstrom assisting
After enquiring with Len for accurate dates and job titles, for our All About Abu day Award certificate, the following response was received from Len Borgstrom.
( Wayne, I first joined the company 1954 and was then in charge
of export and product development. 1960 I was appointed Vice
President. 1971 in connection with the 50 year celebration, I
was appointed President. Since we acquired Haldex 1969 I was
also president of that company. Here are some pictures from that
celebration. The last larger picture shows how I got a medal of
honor from the city of Halmstad for saving Haldex and hundreds
of jobs. One picture shows our Japanese agents (small right
middle) at that time (Yoshi Tamura and Mr Yamashita). One
picture (small left middle) shows our agent in Chile Mr Carlezi
and Tom Lenk. Let me know if you have questions.
Keith Elliot , editor (approval granted)
The truly wonderful Ambassadeur after 25 years! An article from ABU Tight Lines 1979 by Homer Circle, Angling editor from Sport's Afield Magazine
Treasured memories with mates in Northern Iceland 1978
Ralph Lafferty, CO Ericson, Johnny Morris and Len. JM individual
Len is being inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in USA, for his contribution and outstanding achievement in Freshwater fishing.
My journalist friend Patrik Tjornmark wrote a great story (in Swedish) about Len Borgstrom and ABU and it is linked here...
As Len told me in his words...
Patrik was my guest at the ABU Cottage to make the
story. I did not fish because I wanted my guests to
have the first chance. I had invited Jan Sjöblom and
Len Borgstrom, ex owner and CEO of A. B.Urfabriken presenting the beautiful twin reel 50th Anniversary set of reels (Morrum and Record 5000 replica) to His Royal Highness King Carl Gustaf, King of Sweden.
Patrik's Photo Essay
Who else but ABU, produced such diversified catalogs that considered conservation, youth education, rewards for record captures, personal health, biology and environment of the target species, fishing techniques and so on, in Napp och Nytt and Tight Lines? No company that I know of! Many of the wonderful articles from the ABU catalogs, Tight Lines and Napp och Nytt will be brought back to life to you here, as time permits. Just a sample from 1959 eg Can fish really see colour? Angling , Fine Medicine, and lots more with kind thanks to ABU's policy of permitting reprinting given due acknowledgement of the source of the material. (Please keep producing these wonderfully educational catalogs ! ) To keep the fishing public informed and aware of not only new and evolving product but also business data, newsletter updates were released regularly, such as these from the 70's. Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
This child looks excited at a Swedish fishing competition! ABU saw the fishing education of youth as being important to their core business of selling tackle as well as the loftier goal of giving a lifelong healthy interest to kids. The involvement of families in fishing, rather than merely men, was an early ABU goal.
Catalogs with special thick cardboard inserts and spirally bound, to help the dealers get to know new and emerging products were also produced. A typical example was this 1970 Tight Lines drawing attention to selling points of all ABU products such as reels, rods, lures, lines and all sorts of accessories including gaffs, nets, smokers, ice fishing augers etc.
|The ABU Song was
noticed by me in the English Language "Tight Lines" ABU
Catalog of 1959.
An interesting time trip back to a very simple and enjoyable and non -politically correct world !
Download of tune here sometime?
Perhaps some musical ABU fisher person might be willing to play or sing it and record it for posterity as an .mp3 for me to upload here as I am quite certain it is not currently published anywhere ???
This has to be a Gem!
The Borgstrom family have indeed left an indelible mark on the fishing landscape and the Sports Fishing world, even before the word was coined. We are all the richer for their persistence in pursuing the concepts of quality and innovation in face of the face of insurmountable difficulties. My world changed because of them and I am an unashamed Abuphile of long standing. Len represents our last living link with the management from the glory days of the Classic ABU fishing reel. Long may he live to pursue his new new activities!
Len Borgstom's 80th birthday
In 2011, Management at the Svangsta ABU factory saw fit to celebrate both Len's birthday and the 90th Anniversary of ABU factory on the banks of the Morrum River, with the production of a magnificient boxed set , comprising chrome Ambassadeur 5000 C accompanied by watch, cuff links and tie bar. Fittingly Len was presented with #1 of only 60 created for the special occasion. It is my fervent desire to acquire one of these sets.
Len kindly shared photos of his treasured presentation and recent Newspaper article.