Bronson / J.A. Coxe Salt Water Reels
On this page we will list all of the Coxe salt water reels designed and sold by Bronson / J.A. Coxe under ownership of the Bronson Reel Co., from about 1936 until 1960. Prior to WWII, the Coxe reels were sold through Coxe catalogs only, as they operated like a separate division of Bronson Reel Co., although built in the Bronson factory under his supervision. After the war, the Coxe reels were combined within the Bronson/Coxe catalogs of 1947 to 1953, and then sold through the Bronson catalogs only after that. This page does not include Bronson’s own line of salt water reels sold only through the Bronson catalogs, even though some believe their designs were influenced by Coxe and the fact that many used the Coxe Auto-Mesh and Drag features. Those can be found on their own page of this website. In 1931, Bronson bought out the J.A. Coxe Reel Co. of Los Angeles, Calif. Coxe had been a reel maker for years, building what many consider to be some of the finest hand-made salt water reels ever produced. The two men who created “Bronson/Coxe” and made this sale happen can be seen in the photo below.
Bronson founder E.J. McMahon is on the left and Joseph A Coxe, holding one of his monster reels, is on the right. Up until WWII, Coxe’s finest Big Game reels were sold by Bronson. After the war, the Coxe line of reels was reduced considerably and the Big Game models were never seen again. By 1960, the last year Bronson offered salt water reels, only one Coxe reel remained in catalogs.
This page will be divided into two sections. The first will be the “numbered” Bronson/Coxe models that were basically mass-produced from about 1940 until 1960. The second section will be Coxe’s high-grade “Big Game” reels built through 1941.
Below is a photo of Joseph A. Coxe and many of the different salt water models he designed and produced.
Shown below are some of the reel features (the “Coxe Auto-Mesh”, “Coxe Drag” and “Crossbolt Take-Down”, etc.) that Mr. Coxe created that can be found on his reels, as well as on some of Bronson’s own line of salt water reels.
(A) THE “NUMBERED” BRONSON/J.A. COXE REELS (1940-1960)
J.A. Coxe “No.130” by Bronson
The Bronson/Coxe “No.130” was introduced in 1951, one of three new 250 yd. economy Coxe reels. This was the less expensive version, without a star drag or free spool function. The first two photos are from the 1954 Bronson catalog. The photo on the right is the original 1951 listing. These would be gone by the mid 1950’s. A well-used example is also shown below.
J.A. Coxe “No.160” by Bronson
Similar to the No.130, but with the new improved Auto- Mesh free spool assembly and no star drag. Same 1954 and 1951 catalog photos.
J.A. Coxe “No.190” by Bronson
Same as those above, but with the Coxe Star Drag and free spool. Reel photos courtesy of Wayne Benson.
J.A. Coxe “No.215 & No.215L” by Bronson/Coxe
The No.200 series of salt water reels was first introduced in 1940/1941. The No.215 and No.215L were the narrow spool 150 yd. versions. They were equipped with the Coxe free spool and came with the rod clamps in a separate small red box. The letter “L” suffix was for the model with a light Bakelite spool. The standard No.215 had the metal spool. The reels from the No.200 series were not seen in any post-war catalogs. Photos of all three 200 series reels are from the 1941 Coxe catalog.
J.A. Coxe “No.220 & No.220L” by Bronson/Coxe
Basically the same as the free spool model above reel, but in the 200 yd. capacity. They had a little wider spool than the No.215. These did not survive the war and were never again offered in catalogs.
J.A. Coxe “No.225 & No.225L” by Bronson/Coxe
Same as the two reels above but in the 250 yd. size and with a little wider spool. Not offered after the war.
J.A. Coxe “No.315L” by Bronson/Coxe
The No.300 series of reels was also listed as “new” in the 1940/41 J.A. Coxe catalog. These three models all were equipped with free spool, star drag, the lightweight Bakelite spools and rod clamps. The No.315L was the 150 yd. version. It was last offered in the 1947 Bronson/Coxe catalog. The instructions, hang tag and the box for the rod clamps were donated by Wayne Benson.
J.A. Coxe “No.320L” by Bronson/Coxe
The No.320L was the same as the reel above, but in the 200 yd. size. It too would only sell from 1940-1947. Reel photos courtesy of Jonathan Kring.
J.A. Coxe “No.320” by Bronson/Coxe
The 200 yd. No.320 was not introduced until 1949. It was the same as the reel above, but with a chrome-plated brass spool. The photos below are from the 1949 and 1951 Bronson/Coxe catalogs. These are last seen in our 1954 Bronson catalog.
J.A. Coxe “No.325-L SURF CASTING Reel” by Bronson/Coxe
This was the more popular 250 yd. version from the No.300L series above. These would sell from their introduction in 1940 through 1954. Reel pics courtesy of Wayne Benson.
J.A. Coxe “No.325 SURF CASTING Reel” by Bronson
Identical to the No.325L above, but with a lightweight metal spool and unlike the chrome-plated spool of the No.320. The No.325 was introduced in 1954, probably one of the last of the “new” Coxe models. It would only sell for a couple years. Photo is from the 1954 Bronson catalog. A nice example with its original box is shown below, courtesy of Wayne Benson.
J.A. Coxe “No.415L” by Bronson/Coxe
The No.400 series, also introduced in 1940/1941, were slightly higher grade than the above models. The No.415L was the 150 yd. version made of reinforced frame construction, with free spool function, star drag, lightweight Bakelite spool and rod clamps. The photos below are from the No.41 Coxe catalog. These would last be offered in the 1947 Bronson/Coxe catalog.
J.A. Coxe “No.420L SURF CASTING Reel” by Bronson/Coxe
The No.420L was the same as above, but in the 200 yd. size. It must have been a little more popular, as it sold through 1950. The photos are the 1940/41 and 1950 catalog listings. An example, with original box and papers, is also shown below.
J.A. Coxe “No.425L” by Bronson/Coxe
Same as above, but in the 250 yd. size. The No.425L is not found in any post-war catalog, so they should be considered somewhat scarce.
J.A. Coxe “No.525 & No.525L” by Bronson/Coxe
The No.500 series, also introduced in the 1940/1941 Coxe catalog, was a quality series of reels. The No.525 was a 250 yd. size. Built with a German silver reinforced frame, heavily chromed, with free spool, star drag, standard metal spool and rod clamps.
The No.525L (with the letter “L” suffix) was the same reel, except equipped with a lightweight Bakelite spool. No reels from the No.500 series would not survive the war, not appearing in any post-war catalogs. These are extremely rare and never seen.
J.A. Coxe “No.530 & No.530L” by Bronson/Coxe
The No.530 and No.530L (with the lightweight spool) were the 300 yd. versions of the reel above, only selling for two years. These are also quite rare.
J.A. Coxe “No.540” by Bronson/Coxe
The No.540 was the 400 yd. version of the series above. It too would only sell for two short years. Any of the 500 series are very rare. They are simply never seen.
J.A. Coxe “No.625” by Bronson/Coxe
Like the other series of reels above, the No.600 series was introduced in the 1940/41 Coxe catalog. They were a mid-grade model, equipped with a just a single reinforcing band, free spool function, star drag and rod clamps. The No.625 was a 250 yd. reel, with the standard metal spool. One of Bronson’s most popular Coxe reels and holds the distinction of being their longest-selling model. It would be the last Coxe salt water reel offered in Bronson’s 1960 catalog, a 20-year run. A nice example is shown below, with its original box. The two catalog photos below are the original from 1940/41 and the last listing from 1960.
J.A. Coxe “No.625L” by Bronson/Coxe
The No.625L, with the “L” letter suffix, was the same as the reel above but with the lightweight Bakelite spool. Another casualty of the war, they do not appear in any post-war catalogs. Being available for just two short years, they should be considered scarce.
J.A. Coxe “No.630” by Bronson/Coxe
This was the 300 yd. version of this series, introduced in 1940/41. Also a popular-selling model, it would sell through 1959. The two catalog listings are from the 1940/41 and 1959 catalogs. The original box and clamp kit are also shown below. Reel photos are courtesy of Arne Soland.
J.A. Coxe “No.630L” by Bronson/Coxe
Same as above, but with the lightweight Bakelite spool. The No.630L would not be produced after the war.
J.A. Coxe “No.640” by Bronson/Coxe
This 400 yd. size from the No.600 series would only sell for a couple years, not showing up in catalogs after the war. Scarce.
J.A. Coxe “No.725” by Bronson/Coxe
This 250 yd. economy free spool reel was introduced in 1940/1941. These were without the star drag. It had a narrower spool for that size (capacity) than other Coxe models. These were never seen again after the war and should be considered scarce.
J.A. Coxe “No.840″ & No.850” by Bronson/Coxe
The No.800 series, also introduced in the 1940/41 Coxe catalog, consisted of just two models. The No.840 was the 400 yd. size and the No.850 was the 500 yd. version. These were big reels and were quality-made. Neither would be available after the war, however, and should be considered scarce.
J.A. Coxe “No.940 & No.950” by Bronson/Coxe
The No.940 is a 400 yd. reel and the No.950 is a 500 yd. reel, both introduced in 1940/41. They were economy reels for their size. They are last seen in our 1954 Bronson catalog. Below is a nice example of the No.950, with original box and paperwork. The listings are from the 1940/41 and 1954 catalogs. The No.940 is shown in the last three photos. Box for the No.950 was donated by Jerry Scharfenberg and the reel was donated by Chuck Gano.
J.A. Coxe “No.1115L” by Bronson/Coxe
One of a whole new group of Coxe salt water models introduced in 1948. The No.1155L was a 150 yd. economy free spool reel without the star drag. It had the dual handle grips and the letter “L” suffix in the model number, which meant it had the lightweight Bakelite spool. These would sell through 1953. Shown below is a nice example and the original box. The last photo shows the original Bronson/Coxe 1948 catalog listing.
J.A. Coxe “No.1215L” by Bronson/Coxe
Also new in 1948, the 150 yd. No.1215L was similar to the No.1115L above, except for the addition of a Coxe star drag and a counterbalanced handle with a single grip. These would only sell through 1950. The 1948 catalog listing is seen in the first photo. A nice example is shown below, courtesy of Wayne Benson.
J.A. Coxe “No.1215” by Bronson/Coxe
Identical to the No.1215L above, but with a chrome-plated brass spool. These were not introduced until 1949, but would go on to sell through 1959. A nice example, with original box and instructions, is shown below. The last photo is the 1959 catalog listing.
J.A. Coxe “No.1315L” by Bronson/Coxe
The 150 yd. No.1315-L, also first appearing in 1948, was the first and only salt water level-wind Coxe reel. It came equipped with the free spool function, star drag, level-wind, lightweight Bakelite spool and a separate spool drag on the tail plate. These would sell through 1953. The original catalog listing is from 1951. The nice example shown below is courtesy of Wayne Benson.
J.A. Coxe “No.1415L” by Bronson/Coxe
This high-grade 150 yd. “Cross Bolt Take-Apart” model was also introduced in 1948. Equipped with Coxe star drag and free spool, lightweight Bakelite spool and a counterbalanced handle with a single grip. These would last be seen in our 1954 Bronson catalog. Reel photos are courtesy of Eric Swarbrick. Also shown below is the original 1948 catalog listing and a photo of the take-apart feature.
J.A. Coxe “No.1420L SQUIDDING REEL” by Bronson/Coxe
This is the last of the “new” models for 1948. The No.1420L was a 200 yd. high-grade model similar to the reel above, but with a wider spool and a single torpedo grip. Coxe referred to these as “Squidding” reels, with “Squidder” stamped under the foot and the box marked as such. They also came with an extra spool. These were seen last in the 1954 catalog, shown in the last two photos. A nice example can be seen below with the original box and accessories.
(B) BIG GAME, CRADLE & DEEP SEA BRONSON/COXE REELS (1936-1941)
All of the following are extremely high-grade models. Information has mostly been taken from the No.37 (1936/1937) and No.41 (1940/1941) J.A. Coxe catalogs. None of these models were produced after WWII.
J.A. Coxe 2/OBC or 2/0C “FREE SPOOL” by Bronson/Coxe
The 2/0 was the smallest size free spool, star drag example, at 250 yds. The 5th photo shows a full-page ad for the Coxe 2/0 size from June, 1936, the earliest known mention of Bronson-owned Coxe reel, followed by three photos of the original 1937 and 1941 J.A. Coxe catalog listings. The only noticeable change is the addition of the “torpedo” grip in the later listing. This reel was priced at $30.00 in 1941. A mint example, with the original box, is shown in the last four photos.
J.A. Coxe 3/0BC or 3/0C “FREE SPOOL” by Bronson/Coxe
The 3/0 was the next size free spool model, rated at 300 yds. A beautiful example of the earliest model is shown below, with the last photo showing the scarce original box for the 3/0C. The mounted 3/0 reel in the first photo, a later model with a torpedo grip, is courtesy of Wade Patton. These would be offered in 1941 for $40.00.
J.A. Coxe 4/0BC or 4/0C “FREE SPOOL” by Bronson/Coxe
The 4/0 was the same as the two reels above, but in the 500 yd. size. The first two photos below are from Coxe’s No.37 and No.41 catalogs, showing the two styles of grips. This reel sold for $50.00 in 1941. A very nice earlier model 4/0BC is shown below, with the rare original box, again courtesy of Brian Purrone. A later model is shown in the last three photos.
J.A. Coxe 4/0BCW or 4/0CW “FREE SPOOL” by Bronson/Coxe
Same as the model 4/0 above, but in the 600 yd. size and with a wider spool. These were priced at $60.00 in 1941. A nice later example with the torpedo grip can be seen below. An earlier wooden knob model, an absolutely pristine example with the scarce original box, can be seen in the last four photos (courtesy of Paul Manuel).
J.A. Coxe 4/0CLT “TROLLING” by Bronson/Coxe
The 4/0CLT was a 500 yd. light trolling reel that was similar in appearance to the larger 6/0 model. It was without a free spool, but was equipped with the Coxe star drag. It only appears in our 1937 Coxe catalog, shown below. It likely was short-lived, as it was not included in Coxe’s August 1,1940 price list. It was, however, included in the March 1,1938 price list, selling for $50.00.
J.A. Coxe 6/0BC “TROLLING” by Bronson/Coxe (1st Version)
The first version of the Coxe 6/0 was an 800 yd. (300 yd.-#24 line) size “trolling” reel without the free spool. Just a larger version of the 4/0CLT above. These would be offered for $75.00 in 1938. The 1937 catalog listing is shown below.
J.A. Coxe 6/0C “FREE SPOOL” by Bronson/Coxe (2nd Version)
The 6/0 was redesigned sometime in 1939 or 1940, with the addition of a free spool function and torpedo grip. The 1941 catalog listing can be seen below. The reel was now offered for $90.00. A beautiful example is shown below, courtesy of Brian Purrone.
J.A. Coxe 9/0BCW or 9/0CW “FREE SPOOL” by Bronson/Coxe
The 9/0 was a 1725 yd. (400 yd.-#39 line) free spool with the Coxe star drag. These would be the first size equipped with a harness attachment. The earlier 9/0BCW, with the wooden grip, would sell for $95.00 in 1938. The later 9/0CW, with the torpedo grip, was offered for $110.00 in 1940. Photos below show the 1937 and 1941 catalog listings.
J.A. Coxe 9/0BCR or 9/0CR “FREE SPOOL” by Bronson/Coxe
Same as the 9/0 reel above, but a 1325 yd. (500 yds.-#24 line) reel. $85.00 selling price in 1938, $100.00 in 1940. An early example is shown below.
J.A. Coxe 9/0 “FREE SPOOL” (w/o Free Spool Lever, Transitional) by J.A. Coxe Co.
These 9/0 reels without an external free spool lever are now believed to early “transitional” models built sometime in 1936, just after the move from Los Angeles to Michigan. These do not appear in ant Bronson/Coxe catalog. Further info on this is forthcoming, including the original model number, if any. A beautiful example is shown below, courtesy of Brian Purrone.
Genuine J.A. Coxe 12/0CN “BIG GAME – DEEP SEA TROLLING” by J.A. Coxe Co.
These models were available from Bronson/Coxe as early as 1936. They were of tremendous quality. The 12/0CN was a 2150 yd. (500 yds. of #39 line) reel, with Coxe “Auto-Mesh” free spool, Coxe Star Drag, Cross Bolt construction, harness attachments, rod brace and a torpedo grip. The photos below show the 1937 and 1941 catalog listings. The 12/0CN sold for $165.00 in 1938 and $200.00 in 1941. These are very scarce.
Genuine J.A. Coxe 12/0CR “BIG GAME – DEEP SEA TROLLING” by J.A. Coxe Co.
Same as the 12/0 reel above, but with a 2600 yd. capacity (600 yds. of #39 line).
Genuine J.A. Coxe 12/0CW “BIG GAME – DEEP SEA TROLLING” by J.A. Coxe Co.
Same as the two 12/0 models above, but with a 3000 yd. capacity (700 yds. of #39 line). A pristine example, with its rare box, can be seen below.
Genuine J.A. Coxe 12/0 (Without FREE SPOOL, Transitional) by J.A. Coxe Co.
Like the 9/0 “transitional” model listed above, these are believed to be the earliest 12/0 versions built under Bronson ownership. They are without the free spool seen on all 1937 and later 12/0 models and were likely produced sometime in 1936. The identical reel is seen in the earliest ad known for Bronson/Coxe, shown again below. ORCA member Brian Purrone was kind enough to supply photos of a very nice example. These should be considered rare.
Genuine J.A. Coxe 14/0C “BIG GAME – CRADLE REEL” by J.A. Coxe Co.
The 14/0 Cradle reel (what Coxe called “Saddle Suspension”) was of the finest quality available from the J.A. Coxe Reel Co. These, and the larger 16/0, were extremely powerful reels, with a capacity of 1000 yds. of #39 line (over 2 MILES of #9 line). Made of German silver and what was termed “Duralumin”, with free spool, “double” star drags and designed to accept a tip section (sold separately) built by the Tycoon Tackle Co. The wood and nickel silver but section came with the reel. Shown below are the two catalog listings from 1937 and 1941. The 14/0 would sell for $300.00 in 1938 and $360.00 in 1941. These are rare.
Genuine J.A. Coxe 16/OC “BIG GAME – CRADLE REEL” by J.A. Coxe Co.
Here is a gorgeous JA Coxe Cradle in 16/0, this is a huge reel, notice the dual drag feature on it. The second to last photo shows the size comparison with an EVH 3/0 reel. The EVH measures 3 3/4″ across and the 16/0 measures 8 1/2″ across. The 16/0 had a capacity of 1500 yds. of #39 line, over 3 MILES of #9 line. The catalog listing is from the 1940/41 JA Coxe catalog. These sold for a staggering $480.00 in 1941. Reel photos are courtesy of Butch Carey. These are very rare.
Genuine J.A. Coxe 20/0C “BIG GAME – CRADLE REEL” by J.A. Coxe Co.
The only known catalog listing for a Coxe 20/0 “cradle” reel, under Bronson ownership, can be seen below. It’s taken from the earliest edition of the No.37 Coxe catalog (printed in 1936), but was omitted from later printings of the same catalog. It’s not known if any were produced for sale by Bronson/Coxe. Only a single example is currently known to exist. That reel is shown below in the second photo. Photos of an earlier example being held by Joseph Coxe himself, as well as Zane Grey holding this reel can also be seen below. It would have been a massive and powerful reel, with a capacity of 2000 yds. of #39 line, close to FIVE MILES of #9 line. These were intended to be sold for a staggering $750.00 in 1937 (over $12,800 in 2015 money!). Photos courtesy of Ed Pritchard.
TIP SECTIONS For Genuine J.A. Coxe 14/0 and 16/0 Cradle Reels by Tycoon Tackle Co.
These were the tip sections supplied By Tycoon Tackle Co. to Bronson/Coxe for their 14/0 and 16/0 “Cradle” reels. They were offered in both Hickory and Laminated Wood versions. They ranged in price from $50.00 to $150.00 in 1938. These, like the cradle reels themselves, are quite rare.
Some Interesting Info On Earlier Coxe Reels…
J.A. Coxe 6/0 & 9/0 Screwed Version, Made In Los Angeles, Pre-Bronson Reel Co.
J.A. Coxe 6/0 and 9/0 reel (reel shown below is the 9/0 version) made when he was still in business in Los Angeles
(circa 1915-1932; “LA Coxe reel”). Construction is referred to as the “screwed” model because the faceplate is held onto the frame with 5 screws and thus is not easily opened for lubrication and maintenance. This reel also has Coxe’s patented spring-loaded drag control (patent #1,495,676, 1924) Free spool is instituted by loosening the drag star and locking it into position with the patented mechanism; the drag is engaged by releasing the spring action, which causes the drag star to tighten the drag. The fisherman then adjusts the drag tension as he sees fit. Last two pictures show the drag open and in the closed position.
Pictures and info are courtesy of John Elder
Reel on the left is the free spool version of a 4/0 Bronson Coxe reel the right is a 4/0 Deep Sea Fishing Reel Co. Coxe reel, apparently made in El Cajon, CA. No evidence has been found of a Coxe subsidiary company in El Cajon, other than the indication on the reel handle shown here. Note marked similarities in these two reels. Differences in the handle grasps are like variable. Last view shows that El Cajon Coxe reel disassembled. Some differences are apparent in the bayonet mechanism for putting the reel into free spool between these two models.
Pictures and info are courtesy of John Elder