A.B.Urfabriken: A mini History
the beginning there was....
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!
ABU establish Zebco link in USA in 1954
Before saying a word, all the information here is based upon facts and ideas provided by my friend Lennart (Len) Borgstrom, who has at present his own published book in only the Swedish language, but soon to appear in English. A much travelled and extremely skilled fisherman and family man, he in his own right, he could teach us lots about fishing equipment and techniques. Here Annika Borgstom , Len's wife, tackling up for the 1957 N&N cover shot and after having caught 2 fine brown trout, shows prowess in angling.
Grandson of the the original owner Carl Borgsrtrom
(right) and son of the late
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
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 60, 61,63,64,65, 69, 92,94 issues) as well as N&N. Look here for a page of interesting links. Aways looking for a Russian, French , Spanish copy too!
Len himself is such a trusting, considerate and sharing man, with such technical expertise, vision and persistence and that one could not help believe his words as gospel. 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. Significant years for A.B.Ufabriken are here.
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!
See his personal Ambassadeur here
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 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. My early ABU Correspondence Letters 1, 2, 3, 4
|All fishermen need a
sense of humor; here a great story from the past, recently
submitted by Len Borgstom and documented in British
CLASSIC ANGLING Magazine.
Keith Elliot , editor (approval granted)
|Here is of 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.|
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.
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!
|Having never seen either the technically advanced Modern Abu Garcia Factory, or indeeed the 40's era Old ABU Factory the Abu Garcia Museum or The House of Salmon, a 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 Jan Sojblom 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.|
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!
Old/Modern ABU Factory in Svansta Sweden supplied by ..........Jan Sjoblom GM