In 1897 the William Shakespeare, Jr. Company was founded in Kalamazoo, Michigan. By 1915 the company name was changed to Shakespeare Company. During world war 1 the factory was converted to produce mortar fuses and automobile carbs. By 1920 over 5000 dealers specialized in Shakespeare products. Shakespeare’s Floating Bait was first advertised in 1908. The lure was Shakespeare of Kalamazoo Michigan, model series number 41. This wooden glass eyed antique lure measured 3 1/4″ inches in length. Shakespeare would be the lead maker on this one, although they would fall short on the market. Heddon, would take Shakespeare’s idea and run with it, in 1910 creating a Heddon floating minnow in 800-900-850 series & also create a campaign for it, known as “It Swims”. Shakespeare’s lure was only made for a small number of years with a small amount of paint scheme colors. Shakespeare’s earliest lure first introduced in in 1902 was the Evolution Lure. The early Shakespeare lure catalogs showed very few lures less than a dozen. The company like others used different materials to make lures. The Shakespeare Revolution, and Floating Spinner lures made of metal, the Rhodes Frog, Weed less Frog, & Evolution using rubber. Under water Minnows, Kazoo & Surface lures being made of wood. Many of the early Shakespeare lures are found in a black picture box made specifically for the lure. The Shakespeare lure Company was purchased by the Creek Chub Bait Company in 1952.
First appearing in a 1924 catalog the Swimming Mouse is one of Shakespeare's most successful lures after WWII. This Swimming Mouse is the 6570 Glo-Lite Version from the early 1950's. Unlike many found by collectors ours has an intact tail and an Official stamp on the belly of the lure.