Ocean City reel company of Philadelphia, PA made many reels with their own brand and many for other companies, like major catalog companies, sporting good stores, tackle shops and hardware stores. You will find OC reels with names like JC Higgins, Sport King, Herter’s, True Temper and many more. On this page we will try to catalog as many as we can find, here again we need your help finding these reels that are still out there. We do not worry about condition. We love to see these reels as found, some of these reels do look better with some patina on them Some of the reels we will show are like this and many will stay that way to show how some of these tuff old door stops have served a lifetime of use.
What to look for if you have an unmarked unidentified reel
– Crank Knobs –
Here are some of the different color OC 100 yd. casting reel crank knobs. In the first picture you can see the inset crank knob pin with a washer. The pictures of the two reels together shows the difference in the shape. The reel on the left is an OC and the reel on the right is a Shakespeare. They almost look the same except for, the OC knob is beveled at the end away from the reel. So just try to remember these differences and you will be able to tell them apart from other crank knobs.
On these crank knobs over time some will shrink from age and heat and will not spin freely on their pins. If you run into this problem, try this trick. Grab a rag and some lubricate, WD-40, 3 in 1 oil, reel oil, etc. whatever you like to use and then run hot tap water on them individually for several seconds, use the rag and try to spin the knob, they will normally start spinning, (the hot water will loosen up the hardened oil/grease. The trick, is to try to get some new oil in there between the knob and the pin as fast as you can before it cools. Now as long as the nob pin itself is not spinning you should be good.
Some times if they have the baked on oil, grease, etc. you can try soaking the whole crank handle in some to “start with” hot water and good dish soap, not the Dollar Store kind. Do not use any harsh chemicals because that could melt your bakelite or celluloid knob. Another problem is sometimes the pin it self will be bent inside the knob, if that is the case, there is not much can do except look for a replacement handle or change out the
– Jeweled end caps –
The OC jeweled end caps are pretty easy to idenify, first picture are of two OC caps, next picture shows two other OC caps, but if you look hard you can see one is a little different than the other, this was mostly caused by different machinists making them.
The last picture shows 3 different common types of jeweled end caps. The one on the left is the OC one, next to the right is a Bronson one, and last one on the right is a Shakespeare one. Now that you have looked at all three different ones you can see that vertical lip around the jewel on the OC one, that is the dead give away between these common jewelled end caps. Also remember this, the OC cap will fit the Shakespeare, but not the Bronson. The Bronson will fit both the OC and the Shakespeare. The Shakespeare will not fit the Bronson, but it will fit the OC. You might want to write this down.
– Trade Reels of Ocean City –
Black Hawk No.311-49 and a No.311-94 Reel
These were sold by Sears, store item number 311-49. These versions have the stamped fishing scene. The reel is marked above the spool behind the head plate as not to get in the way of the ornate design. These came in two versions, a nickel finish or a satin chrome finish, both over metal. As shown in the picture of the two together. Last pictures show another one we have determined it was miss marked at the factory with the numbers 311-94 instead of 311-49. Pictures are courtesy of Edmund Taylor.
Black Hawk No.311.902 Reel
Sold by Sears, reel is marked No.311.902 on the bottom of the foot, yet the box is marked No.31/62. We still have not fully understood Sears store item numbers. On our Bronson website it took us years to accumulate what Bronson made Sears trade reels we have and still are baffled by some of their numbers. Box has a nice scene of a Native American Indian paddling a canoe. Pictures are courtesy of Daryl Rodenberger.
A red medallion reel made for R.H. Macy, this is a new one for us, we have never seen another red medallion reel sold as a trade reel. Reel is similar to the Ocean City Amazon. Pictures are courtesy of Jim Burwell.
Game Getter No.V7325 Reel
These were sold by Western Auto Supply, WA always started their reel item numbers with a V, Their other brand was Revalation, you will see that on many other reels. Also the Bronson reel company made this very same reel, but with their own features. We show this other version in the “Bronson Reel
” section of the ORCA website, in there you will see some of the most beautiful reels ever made.
Great Lakes Reel
Sold by Sears, reel is just marked Great Lakes with no numbers, we found this reel in this box, box has No.3114 on it, we need to find out if this is the correct box for this reel? Reel has a stamped fishing scene, which on the tail plate one of the fisherman is being covered up by the clicker button.
Great Lakes No.311.67 Reel
Sold by Sears, reel has the single fisherman in a boat fishing scene stamped on the side plates. It has the standard OC jeweled end caps, spool tension nob on the face plate and the blue gray marbled crank knobs. Reel has the Sears store item number stamped on the bottom of the foot.
Great Lakes No.311-803 Reel
Reel is the same as the No.311-67 above in the next window, we do not see any difference?
Herter’s No.18 Reel
Herter’s Sporting Good Catalog Company of Waseca, Minnesota had Ocean City make many reels for them. Reel shown has a tear drop shaped design, chrome finish, white crank knobs. Reel is similar to the OC No.1500, yet with a chrome finish. Ad is from a 1964 Herter’s catalog.
JC Higgins No.3104 Mod.470 Reel
Sold by Sears, head plate oil cap, spool tension knob on the tail plate, white crank knobs.
JC Higgins No.311.3183 Reel
Reel is cast aluminum with an Art Deco design in a tear drop shape, you will see these with other store brand names on them.
JC Higgins No.311-3198 Reel
Tear drop design similar to the reel above in the other window.
JC Higgins No.47B Reel
Pea green in color bakelite side plates, squared off tear drop design with white crank knobs, spool tension knob on the tail plate.
JC Higgins No.311.31/3 Tournament Reel
Reel has anodized forest green side plates, with orange crank knobs! large line saver spool arbor. This is similar to the OC No.1850 which is brown in color. These were designed for tournament casting. The main drive gear is hollowed out to save on weight! Reel pictures are courtesy of Arne Soland
JC Higgins Mod.482 Reel
Red anodized reel with spool tension knob on the tail plate and white crank knobs.
Kastrite No.3807 – Allcock , Laight & Westwood, L’td.
These photos are compliments of Paul Manual, ORCA member from Toronto. The company is
Allcock, Laight & Westwood from Canada. Click on pics to enlarge.
Mohawk Zephyr Wate Mod.37 No.311.79 Reel
These were sold by Sears. It was their example of a light weight reel to keep up with the other reel makers versions of the time. weight is 5.8 oz. with no line. The ivory and coral color marbled crank knobs were the only ones we have ever seen that were made especialy for this Sears sold reel. Sears had Bronson also make these Mohawk Zephyr Wate’s, (as seen in the pictures below of the two reels side by side, the Bronson version is the one on the left and the OC version is the one on the right.) The Bronson Sears store item numbers were way higher. So we believe that OC was making these first and then Sears asked Bronson to make these also? The OC versions are not dated, where as the Bronson ones are, we have 3 Bronson versions in our collections and they are all dated 1937, so we think the the OC versions are older, maybe only by a couple years that we can determine. You can check out the “Bronson Reel”
section of the ORCA site to find out some more info on these.
Revalation No.V7344 Reel
These were sold by Western Auto Supply, Revalation was WAS’s brand name for fishing reels, you will find many reels with just this name. Reel shown was gold anodized over aluminum, we had one of these several years ago before we started collecting the OC reels, have not seen another until this one popped up the Bay. When new or in good condition these are a very beautiful reel, once the finish starts falling off, there goes the looking good. Hopefully later we can find a better example. WAS would always start their reel numbers with a V.
Sears No.311.29 Reel
Brown bakelite squared off tear drop design, white marbled crank knobs, similar to the St. Cloude No.30. also having a spool tension design on the tail plate with the spider washer and a jeweled end cap?
Pictures are courtesy of Kip Gomez.
Shapleigh’s “Keen Kastor” No.DR4 Reel
Trade reel for Shapleigh’s Hardware of St Louis, MO a very early and large hardware supply company. Reel is a standard OC fresh water 100 yd. casting reel. Notice the tag is just held on with two pillar screws. Not sure why OC tagged some of their reels, could be it was easier for them to manufacture these rather then stamping the reel itself, it would also make it easy to change out a name or number?
Pictures are courtesy of Mark Williams.
Sport King Mod.1 No.60-6358 Reel
Sold by Montgomery Wards, red plastic squared off tear drop shaped side plates, white marbled crank knobs.
Sport King Mod.3 No.60-6360 Reel
Sold by Montgomery Wards, reel shown has a chrome finish, white marbled crank knobs and the spool tension knob on the tail plate. Pictures are courtesy of Mark Williams.
Sport King M3 Reel
Pictures are courtesy of Daryl Rodenberger.
Sport King Mod.9 No.60-6338 Reel
Reel has a beautiful Art deco design. Ad pic and description are from a early 1950’s MW catalog.
Sport King Mod.21 No.60-6362 Reel
These were considered “Dime Store Reels” nickel/chromium plating over tin construction. Nickel was more expensive than chromium, so most later or post war reels were plated with chromium. Most of these less expensive reels were not marked, the stamping cost more too! Ad pic and description are from a early 1950’s MW catalog.
Sport King Mod.66 Reel
Sold by Montgomery Wards, has a squared off tear drop shape.
Sport King Mod.104 No.60-6359 Reel
Ad pic and description is from a early 1950’s MW catalog
Sport King Mod.163 Mod.60-6363 Reel
Ad and description are from a early 1950’s MW catalog.
True Temper No.1750 Reel
Tear drop shape, bakelite side plate inserts, free spool and star drag? True Temper had OC make lots of reels for them. TT eventually bought out OC out around 1960? and continued making OC designed reels up into the 1970’s?
Walgreens – Mastercraft
Below is a Mastercraft reel sold by Walgreens. This reel was identified as an Ocean City St. Paul model 54. Pictures courtesy of Dr. Todd E.A Larson. Dr. Todd is a huge contributor to the Reel News, ORCA magazine, and writes and publishes many articles on old fishing reel history in print and on the web. This reel can be found in the January 2016 reel news along with the complete story of Walgreens and its history of fishing tackle sales.
Xpert Reel No.40 Mod.311-5 Reel
These were sold by Sears, only the Xpert No.40 were made by OC, reel shown has the stamped fishing scene, jeweled end caps, star drag and a anti-reverse lever. Now you will notice on the stamped fishing scene on the face plate the anti-reverse lever is blocking the head of the fisherman, now there was some poor planning. This anti-reverse lever does not put the reel in free spool, it only prevents the crank handle from spinning backwards, while you have a fish on and the drag is set properly.
There was a saying back in the old days regarding these direct drive reels, that you would have to thumb the spool for braking, you did not want to get your hand in the way of the crank handle when a fish starts running away, the crank would spin back wards very fast, it was called a “knuckle buster” Not sure if this box came with just this reel with the anti-reverse, or did they come with all the Xpert No.40’s? Sears also had Bronson make many other Xperts for them. The numbered Xperts such as the No.20, the No.30. and the No.50 were all made by Bronson.
Now on the reels that were not numbered, Ocean City could have also sold these separately to anyone by their salesmen, just like Bronson did.
Xpert Reel No.311-75 Reel
Sold by Sears, reel shown is almost the same as the No.311-5 except it does not have the anti-reverse lever on the head plate. One thing we have learned, is on these the crank handle screws are left handed,
that’s why, sometimes you will see these crank screws all buggered up.
X-pert Reel with no Numbers
Here is a reel that is only marked X-pert and has no numbers, so like Bronson, this reel could be sold to anyone by a OC salesman. Reel shown has a dial instead of a star shaped drag at the crank handle. Last is a find that we had been chasing for awhile found this reel in this box below, it has a 4 digit number on it what matches with some of Sears store item numbers of No.3115, the box papers probably had the first prefix numbers of 311 or 312.3115, this reel and box are courtesy of Mark Williams.
X-pert Forty Reels
OC made these X-pert Forty / No.40 reels, now most were sold by Sears, yet some were not marked so they could be sold to anyone by an OC salesman. Click on the picture to enlarge.