On this page we will show only the Bronson trade reels that were made for numerous retailers, wholesalers and jobbers across the country, from the mid 1920’s until the late 1960’s. These will be marked with the retailers name or with a model name sold by them, rather than marked with the Bronson name. Some reels will have Bronson Reel Co. on their boxes, like the first reel (Allkast)pictured below, but that is the exception. Our goal on this page is to catalog as many Bronson trade reels as we can. There are many out there waiting to be discovered and documented on this site. Previously unknown examples seem to show up quite often, so if you have a reel that you suspect is Bronson-made and you don’t see it on the site, we’d like to see it. If we end up posting it here, we’ll gladly credit your name.
We have a separate page for Bronson reels made for and sold exclusively by Sears, Roebuck & Co. Use the link on the right-hand side. Please note that many reels sold by different companies carry the same engraved designs on the side plates. Starting in the 1930’s, Bronson salesman had a whole series of different engraved designs that companies could choose from. The Bronson factory simply had to add the company name and/or model to the reel. In many cases, we only have the model name of the reel and not the name of the retailer or wholesaler who sold them. If anyone has that kind information that we haven’t posted here, please let us know.
“Abbey & Imbrie ‘Broadway’ ” by Bronson
Produced by Bronson for and sold exclusively by Abbey & Imbrie Co. of New York, sometime in the late 1920’s to mid 1930’s. This “Broadway” model is the first we’ve seen and should be considered rather scarce. It was basically identical to Bronson’s regular “Biltwell” model from the same period. A nice example (with faceplate inadvertently inverted) is shown below, courtesy of Dee from eBay.
“Abbey & Imbrie ‘Ace’ ” by Bronson
Built for Abbey & Imbrie Co. of New York. Except for the branding, the “Ace” was identical to Bronson’s earliest No.100 “Modern” level-winding model from their regular line-up. From the late 1920’s to about 1930 or so. The superb example shown below, with the rare original box, is the only boxed “Ace” we’ve ever seen, so these are obviously quite scarce. Click on photos to see entire image.
“Abbey & Imbrie ‘Rex’ ” by Bronson
Built by Bronson for Abbey & Imbrie Co., New York, likely in the early 1930’s. The “Rex” was virtually identical to the “Lion” model from Bronson’s regular reel lineup. Shown below is the only example we have ever seen, so these should be considered scarce.
“A.L.& W.” (Allcock, Laight & Westwood Ltd.) by Bronson
This was produced by Bronson for and sold exclusively by Allcock, Laight & Westwood Ltd. of Toronto, from 1929 to mid 1930’s. It is identical to the “Biltwell” model from Bronson’s regular lineup. One of a number of trade reels that Bronson made for Canadian distributors. These should be considered scarce in this country, as it’s the first we’ve seen. Photos are courtesy of Paul Manuel.
“Allegheny” by Bronson
Bronson made two different “Alleghany” model reels. The earliest was an economy level-winding reel, likely made in the mid 1930’s. We show it below with the original box, marked with the “Allegany” model name and also “Grant”, which we assume was the name of the retailer/wholesaler. Only one photo of the reel and no other information on this obscure model.
The second model “Allegany” is another economy reel very similar to the first one. Built just before the war, it would have been sold through any number of retailers. The reel, with the scarce original green box, is shown below.
“Allkast” by Bronson
The “ALLKAST” was a post-war model that could have been sold by multiple retailers. It has the same engraved fishing scene as seen on the Gambles Stalwart No.366, as well as others. The original box, shown below with the correct paperwork, is one of the few “trade” boxes that carry the Bronson name. The last few pictures are of an ALLKAST that has the foot markings on top the of the foot instead of being on the bottom. We have never seen any other Bronson reel marked like this before. This would require a whole different die set up, something not usually done on a trade reel (which were generally produced as inexpensive as possible). Pictures are courtesy of Scott Truex.
“Ashland” by Bronson
Produced for an unknown retailer around 1930, the “Ashland” was nearly identical to Bronson’s “Peerless” model from the same period.
“Bascaster” by Bronson
One of the older Bronson trade reels, the “Bascaster” was a take-apart design produced prior to 1930. They were sold exclusively through Shapleigh’s Hardware of St. Louis. The reel is virtually the same as the regular No.3000 “Master” model from Bronson. These have large thumb screws on the faceplate and crank handle to easily take the reel apart.
Also pictured is an ad for the Diamond King “Bass Caster” (note the difference in spelling). “Diamond” was a trademarked brand name owned by Shapleigh’s.
Pictures are courtesy of Jim Garrett and Skip Brooks.
“Belmont” by Bronson
Sears brand name reel. See the “Bronson Reels Made For Sears” link at the top-right of the page.
“Blackhawk” by Bronson
Sears brand name reel. See the “Bronson Reels Made For Sears” link at the top-right of the page.
“Black Jack” No.5400 by Bronson
One of the economy level-winding models, but with the engraved geometric design end plates. “Black Jack” is stamped on the inside rim of the head plate. These could have been sold by any number of retailers. The last photo shows the scarce original box. Photos courtesy of Mark Williams.
“Brooklure” No.5, No.10 and No.100 by Bronson.
Bronson supplied at least 15 different models for Spiegel catalog stores, in the years before and after WWII. These can be hard to document, as Spiegel was notorious for changing model numbers in midstream, so that identical reels can be found with different numbers. The No.5, the No.10 and the No.100, for example, are thought to be the identical reel, with the same engraved fishing scene and the same components. However, we’re still looking for photos for the No.5 and No.10. These were earlier jeweled level-winds, likely all from the late 30’s to early 40’s. A nice example of the No.100, with original box and papers, can be seen below. Photos are courtesy of Daryl Rodenberger.
“Brooklure” No.15 and No.35 by Bronson
The No.15 is shown in the first photo. These were nice jeweled level-wind models with the anti-backlash control on the face plate. They were made prior to WWII and this example has “38” date code under the foot, for 1938. The next two photos show the No.35, which was the post-war version of the No.15, with the Lashless-style A.B.L. on the tail plate and chromed oil caps.
“Brooklure” No.16 by Bronson
The No.16 was supplied to Spiegel as a jeweled economy level-wind with a stamped foot and plain side plates. An example is shown below, with the original box and paperwork, courtesy of Dan Pope.
“Brooklure” No.20 by Bronson
This pre-war model for Spiegel had a different engraved “fishing scene” design than the others. This same engraving is seen on some trade reels supplied to other companies. This model is a very tough find.
“Brooklure” No.25, No.48 and No.250 by Bronson
Here’s another group of Brooklure models that are identical in design. It’s believed that they just represent different years of production, with Spiegel changing the model numbers on the fly. They all have the Art Deco “Leaf” design, the adjustable drag on the face plate and the A.B.L. bar. Shown below are all three for comparison. A very nice example of the No.25, along with it’s original yellow box, is shown separately in photos #3-#7. Individual photos of the No.48 and No.250 follow.
“Brooklure” No.36 by Bronson
Another post-war variety that had the same engraved “fishing scene” as the No.100, but with a chromed oil cap and Lashless-style A.B.L.on the tail plate. Sports some nice amber colored grips not often seen on Bronson reels. Newly discovered in 2018. Reel and photos courtesy of Glenn Smith.
“Brooklure” No.51 by Bronson
The post-war No.51 was a level-winding model with the A.B.L. on the tail plate and a plastic head plate spacer. The No.51 was unusual in that Spiegel offered to personally engrave the reel, at no extra cost.
“Brooklure” No.350 by Bronson
This was a lower priced post-war level-wind with the A.B.L. on the tail plate. It had plain side plates. A nice example is shown below.
“Brooklure Chief” by Bronson
This model for Spiegel is one of the hardest to find. It was an economy model level-wind (with A-B-L) and likely produced just before the war. Very similar to the Bronson “Comet”. Pictures are courtesy of Jonathan Kring.
“Brooklure” (Narrow Spool Version) by Bronson
This is the “narrow spool” version of the No.20 “Brooklure” for Spiegel, although it is not marked with a model number. We have only seen one of these pre-war models, so they should be considered somewhat scarce.
“Brooklure Precision Bilt” by Bronson
These were made by Bronson for Spiegel before WWII. These were made of nickel silver throughout and were very high quality. These had no model numbers, but the correct box (shown below) has a CG631 model number on the front label. Many have the feet stamped with Bronson’s two-digit date code (“41”, for example, means “1941”). The “Precision Bilt” reels can be a tough find for the collector. Polished reel in the last pictures are courtesy of Len Sawisch.
See below for several more Bronson-made Brooklure models.
Dr.Todd Larson has written a fantastic lengthly article on the Spiegel’s Catalog Store and the Brooklure reel history (“ORCA Reel News May, 2009”). Dr. Todd also has a wonderful website on old reels, http://fishinghistory.blogspot.com/.
“Brooklure Precision Bilt” (Engraved Version) by Bronson
This is the “engraved” version of the “Precision Bilt” model supplied to Spiegel. Similar to Bronson’s No.3650 “Commander”, having the Art Deco “leaf” design & “wave” design on the crank handle, but without the A-B-L switch. The reel carries no model number, but does have the “38” date code stamped on the foot (for 1938). Reel has the new wide head plate to accommodate the new wider and stronger LW drive gear. These model reels should be considered scarce.
“Buddy” No.3801 (A.L.& W.) by Bronson
This is another rather scarce Bronson-made Canadian trade reel built exclusively for Allcock, Laight & Westwood Ltd. of Toronto. It is identical to the “Altoona” model from Bronson’s regular reel lineup, right down to the “Made In U.S.A.” stamping under the foot. These would have been offered by A.L.& W. during the 1930’s are rarely seen in this country. Shown below with the equally-scarce original box, courtesy of ORCA member Paul Manuel.
“Cascade” by Bronson
This jeweled level-wind was made prior to WWII. It has the Art Deco “wave” design seen on many of the trade models. Could have been sold by multiple retailers or wholesalers across the country.
“Casta” by Bronson
This was another economy trade reel similar to the Bronson’s “Comet” model. Could have been sold by any number of outlets throughout the country. These were likely produced in the mid to late 1930’s.
“Caster” by Bronson
The “Caster” was built for and sold exclusively by the long-time Horrocks-Ibbotson Co. of Utica, N.Y. These were produced after the war, with the Lashless-style anti-backlash control on the tail plate. The first photo shows the original box and paperwork.
“Cedar Lake” No.V481 by Bronson
These jeweled level-winding models were sold by Western Auto Supply, likely just before the war. The side plates have the “swimming fish” pattern seen on other Bronson trade reels. The original box, shown below, is a tough find. The “Cedar Lake” is not a common reel, either.
“Chieftain” No.450 by Bronson
The “Chieftain” is thought to have been supplied to the Horrocks-Ibbotson Co. in the mid 1950’s. H-I also sold a pre-war Chieftain model made of Bakelite and possibly produced by Bronson, as well.
“Clipper” by Bronson
This reel, sold by N. Shure Co. of Chicago in the mid-1930’s, has always been a mystery. The only known listing is from an N. Shure catalog, which is shown below. The odd thing about the listing is that the image shown is clearly an Altoona model and it even states the mfg. number No.4200 (which was the Altoona’s model number). Doubtful it was marked as a “Clipper”, as one has never been seen and even the Altoona was an unmarked reel. But, on a catalog page where every other Bronson reel is referred to by the correct model name, it’s a mystery why they felt the need to rename this one. How Shure could sell it for 73 cents is yet another mystery. Click on first image to see the ENTIRE page. These are not to be confused with the “Montague Clipper” models.
“Coast To Coast” No.200 by Bronson
Built by Bronson for Coast To Coast Hardware Stores, sometime just before or just after WWII. This level-wind has the stamped foot, Lashless-style A.B.L. switch and a nice engraved head plate, with plastic spacer. Tough reel for the collector.
“Control Bilt” by Bronson
This post-war trade reel has the Lashless-style spool tension knob on the tail plate and two lines of knurling around the rim of the head plate. Dan Popp was nice enough to let us have his pics off of Ebay.
“Crest” by Bronson
There is an early and late version of the “Crest” trade reel. The earliest was a take-apart model very similar to the regular Bronson No.700 “Peerless”, but entirely plated. These were sold in the late 1920’s through the Thomas E. Wilson Co. of Chicago, the forerunner to today’s Wilson Sporting Goods.
A second version, sold through Wilson Sporting Goods around 1940, was a jeweled level-wind with the A-B-L bar and drag adjustment on the face plate. Pictures are courtesy of Skip Brooks, Jim Garrett and Jonathan Kring.
“Crestmont – Crown Quality” by Bronson
Another in the “Crown” series built by Bronson exclusively for Edward K. Tryon Sporting Goods of Philadelphia, who owned the trademarked “Crown” brand name of tackle. With the exception of the model name & stamping, these were identical to Bronson’s No.1800 “Lion” model from their regular lineup. Produced in the mid to late 1920’s.
“Crown – New Era” by Bronson
This was another of the take-apart versions of the No.100 Modern, like the Crest shown above and also sold during the mid to late 1920’s. These were sold by Edward K. Tryon Sporting Goods of Philadelphia, at the time one of the oldest sporting goods companies in America. The ad below is from a 1928 Edw. K. Tryon catalog. “Crown” was a trademarked brand name owned by Tryon. These should be considered scarce. Ad picture is courtesy of Jim Garrett and Skip Brooks.
“Daisy” No.9200 by Bronson
This is another example of a level-winding reel that could have been sold through multiple retailers. It has the same fishing scene as the Allkast and the Bronson-made Gamble’s Stalwart No.366. It has jeweled end caps and an adjustable brake on the face plate. Offered in the late 1930’s, early 40’s. The correctly marked box is shown below. Pictures are courtesy of Daryl Rodenberger.
“Defiance” – See “Star Reel Co.” by Bronson
“Dependon” by Bronson
Another model (see the “Imperial” listing) built for Canada Needle & Fishing Tackle Co. LTD. of Toronto. This example, nearly identical to Bronson’s regular “Lashless” model, was built after WWII. These are a tough find, especially in this country. ORCA member Paul Manuel was lucky to find this and supply us with photos of both the reel and scarce original box. Click on the photos to see the full image.
“Eppinger, Lou J.” Model 750 “Notangle” by Bronson
This pre-war (1940-1941) level-wind was built for Lou J. Eppinger Co. of Detroit , Mich. The Model 750 was short-lived model from Eppinger’s “Notangle” series of reels and should be considered scarce. It was equipped with an unusual A.B.L. assembly (see below), jeweled oil caps and the two-piece crank nut seen on many of Bronson’s higher-grade models. A very nice example can be seen below, courtesy of Scott Truex.
“Fairmade” by Bronson
The “Fairmade” was another model supplied to Edward K. Tryon Sporting Goods of Philadelphia in the mid to late 1920’s. These models were identical to the regular Bronson No.100 “Modern” reels. These were offered in Tryon’s 1925 catalog, shown below. Ad pictures are courtesy of Skip Brooks and Jim Garrett.
“Game Getter” No.V-7325 by Bronson
These were supplied to and sold exclusively by Western Auto Supply. They were post-war models, with the Lashless-style A-B-L control on the tail plate. The correct box for this reel is shown below.
“Gold Bond” by Bronson
A recently discovered pre-war economy model, with engraved “wave” design side plates, much like the later Commander models. Comes with a riveted frame and a stamped foot. “Gold Bond” is stamped inside the face plate, above the spool. These could have been sold through any number of retailers. Photos are courtesy of Larry Stivers.
“Great Lakes” No.4102 by Bronson
This “Great Lakes” model is an early trade reel made for Great Lakes of Lexington, MI. These jeweled level-winding models were produced in the early 1930’s. To date, it is the only known Bronson-made reel produced for Great lakes. An example is shown below, with the scarce original Art Deco box, marked as No.4102.
“Great Lakes” No.312.9200 by Bronson.
These were made for Sears by Bronson. See the “Bronson Reels Made For Sears” Link Above.
“Hawthorne” Model 22 by Bronson
Produced by Bronson in the 1960’s for and sold exclusively by Montgomery Ward & Co., who owned the trademarked “Hawthorne” brand name. This reel is identical to the earlier No.22 “Sport King” model, which can also be seen on this page. This level-wind model with the A.B.L. switch and bar is shown below with the original box, which also carries the (No.60-6313) store/catalog stock number.
“Hawthorne” Model 233 by Bronson
One of a series of reels made by Bronson for Montgomery Ward & Co. throughout the late 1950’s and 60’s. “Hawthorne” was the trademarked brand name owned by Wards. This example, the Model 233, was likely built in the mid to late 1960’s, with the Lashless-style A-B-L switch and redesigned level-wind cover. This reel is identical to Wards’ earlier No.233 “Sport King”.
“Hawthorne” Model 352 by Bronson
Another level-winding reel made for sale through Montgomery Ward & Co., probably from sometime in the early to mid 1960’s. Equipped with the cheaper stamped foot, Lashless-style anti-backlash control switch, plastic head plate spacer and dual handle grips. Has an engraved “shoreline scene” on the face plate and is also stamped “60-6309”, the store/catalog stock number.
“Hawthorne” No.60-6316 by Bronson
Easily the most sought-after post-war trade reel produced by Bronson, the No.60-6316 “Hawthorne” was built for Montgomery Ward & Co. during the 1960’s. With the exception of the color, they were virtually identical to the Bronson and/or Coxe No.26 “Invader” from the same time period. These are harder to find than the Invader and are more desired by collectors. They should be considered Scarce. Shown below is a beautiful example, complete with the box, case and instructions. Notice the numbering system for these is a carryover from the earlier “Sport King” models offered by Wards. Photos are courtesy of Bill Braasch.
Heddon “Indian Chief” No.3 and No.3AB by Bronson
The “Indian Chief” models were produced for James Heddon’s Sons from 1927-1929. These quick “thumb screw” take-apart reels were made of Duraluminum and were virtually the same as Bronson’s regular “Master” reels. They were made in two versions. The No.3 was the standard level-wind, seen in the first four photos. The No.3AB had the anti-backlash control adjustment on the face plate, with the A-B-L bar at the level-wind. Like the Master reels, these can be a tough find in nice condition, as the Duraluminum did not hold up well. Of historical significance, is the fact that both Charles and Will Heddon hated this reel after using it down in Florida. As a result of this model not holding up cosmetically or mechanically, Bronson would lose the Heddon contract (to Shakespeare) after 1929 and would not produce another reel for Heddon for another 18 years. The last photo below shows the original listing for both reels from Heddon’s 1928 catalog.
Heddon “Pal” No.P-41, Walter Willman’s Prototype made by Shakespeare
Here are some prototypes that Walter Willman had Shakespeare make first, before taking the design to Bronson. After more research by Bob Garner, he found another one of these reels in Live Auctions from Langs in April, 2007. This reel is missing some of its original features, like the end caps, crank nut and clicker button. The tail plate level wind end cap were the same design as the A-B-L knob on the face plate.
The reel shown below has a crank handle off of a South Bend No.1250 Mod.E. It’s hard to see in these pictures, but the head plate is much wider on this reel than on the regular first Bronson version of the P-41. The drive gears are hollowed out for less weight. Also, there is an H stamped on the face plate at about 3:00 if the reel is sitting properly on its foot. It has standard Shakespeare drive gears and “#2” is etched in two areas on the inside of the head plate. Pictures are courtesy of Bob Garner.
The next two reel pictures are courtesy of Langs Auctions. The next photo shows a standard drive gear and a drive gear that has been hollowed. This process reduces the weight of the gear by 1/10th of an oz. Last pictures are of a Shakespeare version and two Bronson versions, courtesy of Ron Gast.
Heddon “Pal” No.P-41 (Silver Version) and No.P-41S by Bronson
Bronson supplied James Heddon’s Sons with the lightweight take-apart, Walt Willman-designed “Heddon Pal” P-41 Series of reels. which was easily their most successful line of the post-war era. These jeweled models were built in several versions, from 1947 to 1959. The first P-41 offered was what is referred to as the all-“Silver” version. These were produced only from 1947 to 1948, yet would still be illustrated on all of the boxes for the entire 13-year run. These had a natural aluminum finish and came with a cork arbor. These also had the screw-down face plates. It can be seen below in the first three photos, with the original box and instructions. The P-41S, seen in the next three photos, was a chrome plated brass version for heavy duty or salt water use. They were only available from 1949 to 1950 and can be a tough find for the collector.
Heddon “Pal” No.P-41 (Black Version) and No.P-41N by Bronson
The P-41 “Black” version was completely redesigned in 1949, with black anodized side plates and can be found with black plastic, marbled white plastic or cork arbors. Bronson did away with the screws on the face plate and used the newer pillar extensions as alignment pins. It was much easier to disassemble, simply by unscrewing the head ring and was now a true tool-less “take-apart”. These would sell unchanged through the end of production in 1959. A beautiful example, with the original box, can be seen in the first five photos.
The next model was the No.P-41N, also introduced in 1949, which was simply a narrow spool version of the regular model. Being even lighter, these were used by many in tournament casting competitions and are still desired by collectors. These can be found with the one-piece “featherweight” balsawood arbor. They would also sell through 1959. A nice example can be seen below.
Heddon “Pal” No.P-41L and No.P-41LN by Bronson
The next version was the No.P-41L, a special lightweight and beautiful version that first appeared in the 1951 catalog and would sell through 1959. These came with anodized antique gold foot, level-wind assembly & cover, crank handle and head ring. They would sell for twice the price of the standard P-41. The last version is the No.P-41LN, which is the narrow spool model and likely the most sought-after of all the versions produced. It made a late appearance in the 1957 catalog and would only be available for three years, making it a very rare reel. Photos are courtesy of Bill Sonnett and Jim Madden. Other different colored examples of the P-41 have surfaced from time to time. A red version can be seen in the last photo, which sold through Lang’s Auction on October 22, 2015. Gold and blue examples have also been reported. Because there is no documentation on any of these different colored models, it can only be assumed that they are prototypes, or simply examples that have been re-anodized.
Heddon “Dowagiac” No.P-51. Made by Bronson?
The origins of the No.P-51 reel from Heddon has been an on-going mystery. The jury is still out on the maker, but because the Bronson Reel Co. is certainly one of the possibilities, we’ve included it here. These were only offered in the 1952 and 1953 catalogs. They were of lesser quality than the P-41 model and cheaper too. In 1953, the standard No.P-41 sold for $13.75, while the No.P-51 sold for $9.75. Although quite similar in design to the P-41 take-apart, there are even more differences. Some believe Bronson built them. Some Shakespeare. Others believe they were outsourced to Japan, or even Sweden. No one has been able to provide ANY documentation regarding the maker. We even asked the Heddon Museum in Dowagiac, Michigan if they could shed some light on the origins. Their answer was:
We have been trying to track down people who might be able to help and have not been able to find any information…that was a long time ago for employees and no one can remember that far back…or there isn’t anyone we know that worked then. We have examples of both the P-41 and P-51 in their respective boxes. When examining the two reels closely, it’s obvious that their components came from different tooling, even though they are superficially similar.
Since all of the parts are similar, yet different, it would make no sense for Bronson to have tooled a completely different set of similar parts. There would have been no cost savings by doing that. If anything, it would make the P-51 more expensive, not less expensive. In 1952 the msrp (manufactured suggested retail price) for the P-51 was $9.75 and $13.75 for the P-41. It’s interesting to note that the P-51 box says “Built by the makers of America’s most famous bait.”
Since Heddon had not built a casting reel since about 1930, it seems to be a reasonable assumption that they imported the components from a low cost provider and “built” the reels in Dowagiac from those imported components. We have no documentation for any of these presumptions nor do we have any documentation for a country of origin for these parts. They could well have come from Japan but Heddon was also importing some early spinning reels from Sweden, so that should probably be considered as well.
We hope this has been helpful, Don
Heddon Museum, Don & Joan Lyons
We would like to thank Don and Joan Lyons of the Heddon Museum for all their help with this information. Photos below are courtesy of Mark Williams.
Heddon “Pro Weight Pal” Model 25 and Model 26 by Bronson
The Heddon Pal “Pro Weight” models were first supplied by Bronson in 1964. They were both quality reels and today are highly desired by collectors. These were very lightweight level-winding reels built of gold anodized aluminum and came equipped with an aluminum spool and Bronson’s Lashless-style A-B-L switch on the tail plate.
The first series of photos below show the No.26, which was the standard spool 100 yd. version. The last photos show the No.25, which was a narrow spool 75 yd. model designed for tournament casting. Besides the narrow spool, it has a large aluminum arbor and hollowed-out gears to reduce weight. The No.26 would sell through the 1969 season, while the No.25 would last be seen in catalogs in 1967. The pictures are courtesy of Picker Jim and Wayne Benson.
“Hiawatha” No.6565 Reel by Bronson
The “Hiawatha” No.6565 reel was supplied to and sold through Gambles Hardware and Auto Supply of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Gambles was a large conglomerate that ended up buying out Western Auto Supply. The reel has engraved side plates with two fishermen in a boat fishing. These jeweled level-winds were built shortly before and/or just after WWII.
“Hiawatha” No.6526 by Bronson
This second model “Hiawatha” is their level-winding economy version, with stamped metal unpillared foot. Does have the A-B-L switch on the tail plate. Sold through Western Auto Stores.
“Hiawatha” No.6515 by Bronson
A third version of Western Auto’s Bronson-built “Hiawatha” has been found. This post-war level-wind, with pillared foot, is much like Bronson’s “Lashless” model. It doesn’t have the ornate engraving and the model and number are stamped on the face plate. The original box is also shown below.
Horrocks-Ibbotson No.103 by Bronson
The No.103 from Horrocks-Ibbotson Co. of Utica, N.Y. was simply Bronson’s No.2700 “Junior” side mount reel sold in an H-I box. Likely indistinguishable from the Bronson version, as these were never originally marked with a model number. The original listing shown below is from the 1932 Horrocks-Ibbotson catalog. Just like Bronson’s, these were sold by the dozen for 15 cents each.
Horrocks-Ibbotson No.233 by Bronson
Identical to the No.2500 “Bronco” single action utility reel from Bronson’s regular lineup, be renumbered for sale through Horrocks-Ibbotson. The photo below is the original listing from Horrocks-Ibbotson’s 1932 catalog.
Horrocks-Ibbotson No.235 by Bronson
Another single action utility trade reel that Bronson supplied to Horrocks-Ibbotson Co., this one identical to Bronson’s regular No.2600 “Trout” model. The original listing for this reel, from the 1932 Horrocks-Ibbotson catalog, can be seen below. So far, none of these three reels supplied to Horrocks-Ibbotson has ever been identified. One would have to find them in an H-I marked box to know for sure, as none of these three examples was ever stamped with either a Bronson or H-I model number.
“Huckleberry Finn” No.4340 by Bronson
The No.4340 “Huckleberry Finn” was an economy non level-winding model that would have been sold through numerous retailers across the country. These have an non-pillared foot and some colored knobs made of hard rubber that we have not seen before on any other model. Shown below is the scarce original box, which carries a 1937 patent assigned to Bronson for an internal gear design. These can be a tough find for collectors. We also show a Bronson “Huck Finn” Fishing Combo on another page of this website, under the “Closed Face Spinning Reels and Unispins” link.
“Imperial” No.806 by Bronson
The No.806 “Imperial” models were supplied to and sold exclusively by the Canada Needle & Fishing Tackle Co. LTD of Toronto, Canada, who owned the registered “Imperial” brand name. These jeweled level-winding reels are a tough find, especially with the scarce box shown below. These were made prior to WWII. Pictures are courtesy of Arne Soland.
Jamison “Practical” No.800 by Bronson
These were built by Bronson for the W. J. Jamison Co. Made in the “tear drop” shape, jeweled and with aluminum side plates. Has the adjustable A-B-L knob on the face plate and is stamped with numerous drag settings all around the dial. Mottled plastic head plate spacer and satin finish. These are very unusual, as well as beautiful and should be considered quite scarce. Produced in the mid to late 1930’s.
Jamison No.850 Reel by Bronson
Another mid 1930’s “tear drop” example supplied to W.J. Jamison Co. of Chicago., the No.850 model is similar to the No.800, but without an A-B-L switch or plastic spacer head plate spacer. Chromium plated. Not near as scarce as the “Practical” model above.
“JayaR” No.33 and No.20 by Bronson
These jeweled level-winding reels were produced for J & R Auto, likely just before the war. They have the same fishing scene as the Spiegel’s No.20 reel and a few other trade reels. Equipped with the face plate-mounted A-B-L switch and a cheaper stamped (un-pillared) foot. Shown below is the original box, a very tough find. Photos are courtesy of Anne Cavenar.
“JayaR” No.22 by Bronson
This is the plain (un-engraved) version of the reel above.
“J.C. Higgins” by Bronson
Sears brand name reel. See the “Bronson Reels Made For Sears” link at the top-right of the page.
“Kast Master” by Bronson
These would have been supplied and sold through any number of retailer. This jeweled level-wind has the Art Deco “leaf” design seen on so many of Bronson’s reels. All examples we have seen so far have the “39” date code stamped under the foot (1939). The scarce original box is shown in the last photo.
“Keystone Crown Quality” by Bronson
This is another model supplied to and sold exclusively by the Edward K. Tryon Co. of Philadelphia. Very similar in design to the common No.2800 “Biltwell”, but a very tough find for the collector. Circa early to mid 1930’s. Pictures are courtesy of Arne Soland.
“King” by Bronson
This is another level-wind reel with an engraved “fishing scene” seen on other Bronson trade models. It was built in 1941, as evidenced by the “41” date stamp under the foot. A nicely jeweled reel with a pillared foot and could have been sold by multiple retailers. Probably produced for only one year and should be considered scarce. Photos courtesy of Scott Truex.
“Kingfisher” by Bronson (Type 1)
This was a trade reel supplied to Edward K. Tryon Co. of Philadelphia and also virtually identical to Bronson’s No.2800 “Biltwell”. Tryon owned the trademarked “Kingfisher” brand name. Also from the early to mid 1930’s. Reel is shown in Karl White’s book of reels, volume 2 page 176. Pictures are courtesy of Karl and Beverly White.
“Kingfisher” by Bronson (Type 2)
Another early version of the “Kingfisher” model, this one a level-wind, built for Edward K. Tryon Co. This one is virtually identical to the “Lion” model from Bronson’s regular lineup. A nice example can be seen below.
“Kingfisher” by Bronson (Type 3)
Another “Kingfisher” model built for Edw. K. Tryon Co. These were also from the early to mid 30’s and, except for the branding, were nearly identical to the earlier No.3600 “Commander” from Bronson’s regular line-up. A jeweled level-wind of much better quality than the “Kingfisher” listed above. These should be considered scarce, as the example below is the only one we’ve seen.
“Kussnomore” by Bronson
This was supplied to the Edward K. Tryon Co. of Philadelphia, probably around the late 1920’s. Very similar to the Bronson Modern No.100, except it has a pillared foot. These should be considered quite scarce. Tryon’s ad is shown below, along with the only example we’ve ever seen. Ad pictures are courtesy of Skip Brooks and Jim Garrett.
“Lakeside” No.585 by Bronson
These “take-apart” trade reels were produced by Bronson for the Abbey & Imbrie Co. of New York. Produced from the mid 1930’s until WWII, the “Lakeside” can be found with both an engraved and plain tail plate, both of which can be seen below. These were economy level-winding reels, very similar to the Bronson “Comet” from their regular line of reels, with coin-slotted screws on the face plate for quick take-down without any tools. Also shown below is the original box.
“Latno” No.3620 by Bronson
A beautiful trade reel built by Bronson for Cullum & Boren Sporting Goods, Dallas, TX. These were virtually identical to Bronson’s “Commander” No.3600, with the engraved Art Deco “wave” design on the side plates and crank handle. These were produced in the mid to late 1930’s. These should also be considered scarce.
“L.L. Bean” by Bronson
Bronson produced these trade reels for the venerable Maine sporting goods retailer. They were quality level-winding reels and have some different jeweled end caps that we have not seen before. It also has the Art Deco “wave” design on the crank handle and around the head plate rim, as well as a face plate-mounted A-B-L switch. The leather thumb brake shown on the example below was a fisherman’s add-on. The reel is stamped with the “37” date code on the bottom of the foot, for 1937.
“Longfellow” No. CR 2000 by Bronson
Bronson produced this trade reel for Longfellow Products Inc. of Fraser, Mich. These were post-war reels, probably early to late 1950’s, with the Lashless-style anti-backlash control switch on the tail plate. A beautiful example, with the original box, is courtesy of Scott Truex.
“Meadow Brook” by Bronson
Sears brand name. See the “Bronson Reels Made For Sears ” link at the top-right of the page.
“Miles Bay” No. V-7355 by Bronson
These were economy reels built for sale through Western Auto Supply, sometime after WWII. The first three photos are courtesy of Larry Stivers. The last photo shows the original box.
“Mohawk” by Bronson
This is the earliest version of the “Mohawk” trade reel produced by Bronson, this one from around 1932 or 1933. They were virtually the same as the jeweled Commander No.3600 from the same years and would have been sold through any number of retailers. They were housed in the beautiful Art Deco box, shown below. These pre-dated the later Mohawk models that Bronson would supply to Sears.
“Mohawk Zephyr Wate” No. 312.3600A Model 37 by Bronson
Later Sears brand name version. See the “Bronson Reels Made For Sears” link at the top-right of the page.
“Montague Clipper” by Bronson
Made for Montague Rod & Reel Co. in the mid-1930’s. These were virtually identical to Bronson’s “Aetna” model from their regular reel line-up. Reel carries Montague’s oval logo stamped into the tail plate. Photos courtesy of Mark Williams.
“Montague Favorite” by Bronson
Another example built for Montague Rod & Reel Co. This reel, with Bakelite side plates and A.B.L. switch on the face plate, was virtually identical to the earliest No.2100 “Gladiator” model from Bronson’s regular lineup. If unmarked, it would be nearly impossible to identify without the original Montague box. Shown below is the listing from Montague’s 1939 catalog.