Wish I had better news for you - I am originally from Utica, born there in 1934. H-I rods were the rods of my youth. Why? Well, it was the great depression - no one had any money or jobs, so might as well go fishing!
They were cheap, reasonably serviceable low-cost rods. If I (as a kid) broke one, no one cared.
H-I did NOT make good, high end (even medium end) rods - only the "cheapies" under their own brand name. They did produce many very high quality rods for others - I think it was South Bend or Heddon or one of the other rod companies of the time - and those sell today for big bucks.
As a kid, during the dark days of WWII, I used to make my own using bamboo "sticks" (as they were called) from the factory, making them from scratch, starting by gluing six together and wrapping with heavy twine to clamp them together to make each section, then sanding, adding the reelseat, cork handle and ferrules, and wrapping the guides, etc. and finishing with several very thin coats of spar varnish. They were great rods, too, and I made them for the family. A few are still in use today.
I for one am not a fan of bamboo. As soon as I got my first glass rod, I never looked back, and now use graphite. There was something about the old slow actions that I hated, even though I cast them well, and they are very pretty.