History of Rome Specialty Company, Inc. (ROSCO Terminal Tackle)

John Howard Butts and two partners, Ernest E. Spriggs and Harry Hayes, bought out the VanDauber Company in 1926 and changed the name to Rome Specialty Company, Inc. The VanDauber Co., specialized in the production of box fishing swivels, reels, and landing nets.

In 1933, the partners bought Knight Archery Company, a local manufacturer of bows and arrows who had previously been buying arrow points from Rome Specialty Co. In 1942, The Rome Sporting Goods Company was purchased. They were fabricators of leather products including archery and fishing accessories. J. Howard Butts and Ernest E. Spriggs bought their partner Harry Hayes out soon before their deaths in 1945 (they died a few months apart). Jerry Butts and Jack Spriggs, the partners’ sons, took over the business and began the second generation of ownership.

In 1951, Rome Specialty Co. bought the Pix Manufacturing Company of Newark, NJ. Pix was a wire-forming firm that made barrel swivels. The production equipment was relocated to a Rome Specialty Co. facility in Forestport, NY and then eventually to the main factory in Rome, NY. Some of the Pix machines are still in use at Rome Specialty today!

In 1957, Jerry and Jack bought the Sampo Company from Oney Johnson, who invented the ball bearing swivel. In addition to his patents, Johnson had manufacturing plants in San Francisco and Puerto Rico. After the acquisition, all of the production equipment was relocated to its current facility in Barneveld, NY. Nassau Tackle Company was purchased in 1958. This company manufactured different kinds of hooks exclusively for the Sears Roebuck Company. Part of the Art Wire Fishing Department in New Jersey was purchased in 1970; Dewitt Plastic was acquired in 1971; and the Sevenstrand Leader Division was purchased in 1975. After the acquisition of Sampo in the 50’s, it was decided by Jack and Jerry that they would split Rome Specialty Co., Inc into two different divisions. The Sampo division would manage the ball bearing swivel line, leather goods, leaders, gaff hooks, and retail packaging of all products. It would be based at the facility in Barneveld, NY and be managed by Jack Spriggs. The newly created ROSCO division would be managed by Jerry Butts and would include the barrel swivel, snap (interlock, safety, coastlock) swivel, leader sleeve, and ring production and the OEM bulk packaging from the Rome, NY factory.

In 1980, Jerry Butts agreed to buy Jack Spriggs out over the next 5 years. Jerry Butts died in 1984, and his sons Brian and John took over Rome Specialty Co, starting the third generation of leadership. Brian ran the Sampo division and John ran the ROSCO division until 1997 when they decided to split the divisions into two separate corporations. Brian Butts continued to operate Sampo, Inc. and John remained president/owner of Rome Specialty Co., Inc (ROSCO) until John’s untimely death in 2004.

The company entered the fourth generation of family leadership when John’s son, John H. Butts III (Jack), took over as president/owner of ROSCO on January 1, 2013 then bought the assets of Sampo Inc. in September of 2016. 


Quality American-Made Tackle Since 1926

Rome Specialty Company, Inc., 501 W. Embargo St., Rome, NY 13442-0109

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