By Lovel Tippit
So a couple of days ago we uploaded the “Aquatic Life ” magazine article containing the first recorded spawn of Angelfish in America. If you have not read that I will include a link to that blog in this article. Today we are going to talk about selling that spawn and the difficulty involved in transporting them. The Aquarist in the picture was very important to the hobby, in fact he is responsible for the introduction of Betta splendens to the American Aquarium Trade. His name was Frank S. Locke, and by trade he was a mechanic from San Fransisco. Although an above average income in 1915 was about $650.00 per year, Mr. Locke paid the Breeder of the first Angelfish spawn $75.00 for a pair of un-sexed, quarter-sized fish, which as he wrote :”came with positively no guarantee whatsoever of their condition on arrival.” So how did it work out? They Died!
His second attempt was made a year later as he personally traveled East in search of angelfish. All Paullin’s Angelfish were now mature, and no one who had possession of the fish would part with them. It would be many years until the next recorded Angelfish spawn in 1922 by Franklin Barrett. So “what-to-do?” He learned that shipments were now being received in New York City from Germany at $200.00 per 100 fish. Retail these fish were selling at $10.00 – $15.00 per young pair. Compare that price with a box of Corn Flakes in 1919 which sold for 14 cents a box, a big box! Shipping charges alone on Express Locomotive were $35.00 – $40.00 dollars a shipment. Locke said this: “The mortality in the shipments of Angelfishes transhipped from New York to San Francisco was terrific. It was not unusual to have an entire shipment of one hundred, divided twenty to a can, arrive a complete loss.”
In my own mail order business I ship everyday to the “West Coast” and it gets there often in two days. The charge for shipping a box to the “West Coast” is about $15.00, and it renders a 3% D.O.A. That quick service came with the use of air travel, but once upon a time ……….
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