Original Caption: Fish Finding - Checking location of Percy Priest's fish are these two suppliers to the BASS Classic. Left is Carl Lowrance of Oklahoma, pointing out a school of fish on his new convertible 'foot 'n fathim' Lo-K-Tor to Dick Herschede, head of Motor Guide, compact electric fishing motor. The Tennessean, October 1972. Staff photo by Bob Steber.

Today’s Throwback Thursday historical photo takes us back to the 1972 Bassmaster Classic that was being held on Percy Priest Reservoir, Tennessee, and features a couple of the men behind the manufacturer’s products being used at that event.

The first person in the photo (front) will be very familiar, Carl Lowrance.  Per a John Phillips’ write-up:

“Carl Lowrance of Claremore, Oklahoma, always had been a businessman since graduating from high school in 1935 when he started his own produce hauling business.  Later after being a flight instructor in WWII, he started a banana distribution business and raised 40,000 quail per year for Ralston Purina.  Long an avid fisherman, Lowrance and his son Darrell also loved to skin dive in inland lakes, which gave them a vast knowledge of fish – but not how to locate them from surface.  From his experiences in WWII, Carl Lowrance knew about sonar and hoped to adapt these bulky and fairly-primitive units – the transducers were 4-8 feet long – to locate fish.  He then used newly-developed transistor technology and with Darrell, a math and physics major in college, reduced the size of the sonar unit and the pulse length to 1 foot – small enough to identify a fish.  The Lowrances produced their first unit in 1956 and named it the Fish Lo-K-Tor, revolutionizing the sport of fishing.”

The other gentleman featured in the boat along with Carl was Dick (Robert) Herschede.  But first a little back story on another gentleman, Robert. G.H. Harris.

Harris is generally credited with developing the foot-controlled trolling motor.  However, the feature didn’t immediately gain traction in the market, that was until Mr. Harris met and befriended Robert Herschede.  Robert, who had been the Vice President of Sales, became the last family member to be president of the Herschede Hall Clock Company, primarily known for their grandfather clocks.

With a desire to expand upon their clock business, Herschede agreed to build and sell Harris’ foot-controlled, electric motors known as the “Guide-Rite.”  Shortly after, the name was changed to “Motor-Guide.”

Because of this, Harris’ invention reached the masses.  Later innovations to the motor, like rack-and-pinion steering in the mid/late-1960s, helped make them a prominent name in fishing circles, culminating in Motor-Guide becoming the official trolling motor of the Bassmaster Classic at the time. A little historical note, the name was again changed from two separate, hyphenated words to the one-word spelling, ‘MotorGuide.’

For more details and an old ad related to the MotorGuide story, see this piece on our website: Motor-Guide 1964.