Daniel Cellar: Pennsylvania Musky Lure Folk Artist

Daniel Cellar: Pennsylvania Musky Lure Folk Artist

Jodie Paul February 06, 2023

While delving into the depths of musky information to provide our ever-growing audience with content, I stumbled into a single bloggers collection of Lure Folk Art.  If you aren’t familiar with folk art, it can be described as typically handmade items that can be decorative or utilitarian that reflect a communities’ cultural or traditional history.  In this case, we’re talking about folk art consisting of hand made lures created and designed with the intention of enticing the mighty muskellunge. 

Before mass production and injection molds, musky lures were typically hand carved wooden lures adorned with natural features, like feathers and fur.  Some of the more exquisite examples were then lovingly painted to resemble baitfish or other lake targets.  While conducting research and delving into the topic, I was fascinated by what seems to be lost information about a man who seemed to really represent an era of expansion and industrial growth with his hand carved creations.

Daniel Babst Cellar, born in October 20, 1887, was a forward-thinking creative mind that handmade some fascinatingly detailed musky baits.  His story is likely similar to many of his era where catching giant muskies would have garnered great attention in the greater Pittsburg Area of Pennsylvania.  Cellar studied engineering at Yale Sheffield Scientific School and became an Engineer for the PA Railroad, an occupation not far removed from his father who retired as the Superintendent of Telegraph for the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Though not much can be found about Daniel Cellars, his time at Yale was noted with his membership to Phi Gamma Delta, a prestigious fraternity naming not only Calvin Coolidge amongst it’s more notable members, but also more recently VP Mike Pence.  As his own brother proceeded him to Yale, making it seem obvious that education was a prized priority in the Cellar family.  Quoted in his Yale pages, “men of few words are the best men.”

Daniel Cellar’s life is not well known, but a majority of it he mainly lived in the Pittsburgh region, so we can imagine the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers led him on many musky hunts.  Cellars would have only been in his late 30’s when Lewis Walker Jr caught a whopping 57”- 54lb 3oz behemoth musky, Pennsylvania’s state record, that continues to boggle the minds of musky anglers.  I can only imagine what kind of further inspiration that provided in producing ever more detailed hand carved lures inspired by such a unbelievable catch in hopes to be the next to break it.

(Lewis Walker Jr 1924)

Not much more can be detailed of Daniel Cellar other than hopes that he led a fulfilling life as a engineer and musky lure craftsman.  His work is still admired and collected.  Hopefully his family carries on his love of the sport in some manner tradition.  It seemed important for this blog just to highlight his great achievement as a folk artist and creative musky mind. 

Follow this link for the blog that led to Daniel Cellars lures operated by Chance Dunlap.