This page lists reel maker names alphabetically, along with a brief history and a few pictures of the different reels they made. We are always looking to add information and pictures. Contact the ORCA Webmaster if you have something to add.
AEROCAST PRODUCTS (Chicago) maker of Aerocast reels which are tri-knobbed reels with red plastic side plates. The July 2018 issue of the Reel News features an article on these reels written by Colby Sorrells (pages 17-18). (Photos courtesy of Colby Sorrells)
ALLCOCK & CO
ALUMINUM & PLASTIC PRODUCTS CO.
The first trade reels were made using Silky Oak for both spool and back (USA refer to as Lacewood) with a hand-filed, gunmetal cast star shaped piece fitted to the back and line guide. Charles’ son Ken, a qualified pattern maker joined the company in 1923 and together they decided to promote the Alvey brand, cease making trade reels and introduce an all metal back.1936 saw some spools made of Bakelite as well as an all alloy Game reel. (a radical change from Alvey’s standard) WW2 years 1939-1945 stopped production while the machinery went into use to help with the war effort . Charles Alvey passed away in 1945. In 1946 Jack, Charles’ grandson who was a fitter and turner joined his father Ken to boost production.
The use of Camphor Laurel timber for spools stopped in favour of Red Cedar. Output rose to over 30, 000 units by 1956 and they were Queensland’s largest reel manufacturer, although sales were poor in other Australian states. That changed in 1957 when a Queensland fishing team with members mostly using Alveys cleaned up the competition held in the neighbouring State of New South Wales, where overhead reels were used by other State teams as well as a New Zealand representative team.
The1960’s were tough times because of the drop in import tariffs allowing a flood of competition. Alveys now had an all stainless steel back.
1973 saw the passing of Ken Alvey and in 1974 the Brisbane River flooded . Alvey spools switched to fibreglass after 50 plus years of wood. Jack’s elder son Bruce joins the company after the completion of an engineering course.
1978 ushered in a change of business location along with different methods of production. In 1988 Jack’s younger son Glenn adept in computer and management entered the company .Time passed with spools being made with an Injection moulding process, metal backs gave way to graphite moulding, star drags became lever drags and Alvey’s 75th anniversary saw them still a family business. In 2001 Jack Alvey passed away.
It’s now 2013 and the reels are now light and strong with vented spools and backs with many different models to suit varieties of fish and the way you need to fish. A long way from the original materials but an evolutional progress of the basic design. Bruce Alvey now manages the daily running along with his brother Glenn and after more than 90 years, Alvey is still a wonderful Family business fast approaching a century of continuous service to all who love to fish.
Research by Ray Hodges from Australia. This is Alvey’s website. http://www.alvey.com.au
AMERICA-MEEK reels were manufactured by the American Company under the supervision of Sylvanus Meek, son of B.F. Meek. According to antique reel authority, Ron Gast, it is not known if Meek made these reels himself, or just supervised the production. These models are marked America-Meek. These reels are quite scarce.
AMERICA REEL CO.
AMERICAN CLASSIC SALES LLC
AQUA SPORTSMAN, INC.
AQUA SPORTSMAN, INC, Cincinnati, Ohio. This was an unusual casting reel with a “wand” that extended from the upper part of the reel forming a “Aqua Automatic Reel Control” that worked with the level wind to prevent backlashes.
ATKINSON, WILLIAM L. CO,
The Atkinson reel was a spring driven, automatic, multiplying reel. The drive spring was a long coil spring contained in the rod handle. To wind the spring initially, there was a folding crank placed at the end of the handle. Unlike many automatic reels
of the period, Atkinson’s reel was able to be put into a free spool mode to allow ease of casting. The spool was in the style of a casting reel with a spool that was wide and small in diameter, but the line fed through a guide in the side of the handle. In the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s many inventors attempted to combine fishing reels into rod handles. There were many applications for these angling implements to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office during the time of the United States industrial revolution. Among these efforts was the patent of William L. Atkinson in 1903. His patent, No. 769,142 was granted on September 1904. Although the concept was popular in the patent office, it appears that never became so with fishermen. Very few examples of these early built in reels have been found by today’s collectors and apparently no examples of Atkinson’s invention exist, if it ever was manufactured commercially. It really seems a bit unusual that a freshwater reel design like that of Aktinson’s would be developed in a Washington seaport. William L. Atkinson died sometime after 1915.
ATWOOD PATENT REEL CO.,
B & H TOOL CO.
BARTELS, ROBERT H.
BATE, THOMAS H., & CO.
BENJAMIN-SELLER MFG. CO.
BETTS & BODDEUS
BIVANS, ARNOLD D MFG
BLUE GRASS REEL WORKS,
BOGAN, STANLEY E.
BRADFORD & ANTHONY
BRISTOL MFG. CO.
BRONSON REEL CO.
BURLINGTON METAL PRODUCTS
BUTLER, HERB, ENGINEERING
aluminum.The interior of the reel is quite simple, with the gears being the only moving parts, The drive gear is located on a stud cast into the inside of the faceplate. There is an extra stud cast for conversion to left hand use. The reel was not capable of conversion from right to left hand use, however, without changes in the handle assembly. An angler who preferred to reel with his left hand had to purchase a left hand retrieve reel from Butler for $5.00 additional cost.
The reel was sold with two spools, which were available in aluminum or nylon during different periods of production. The anodized black spool in the polished bright frame was quite attractive.
As mentioned previously, the heart of the reel was the crank. Under the cone shaped crank nut is a coil spring and two washers. One washer is made of thin neoprene and is flat. The other is serrated on one side and made of metal. There are matching serrations milled into the crank handle. The drag is adjustable to any of four different types of drag settings, from very light to heavy, by placement of the washers. Complete instructions for these settings came in the reel brochure. Tightening the nut against the spring refined the adjustment within each washer setting.
A smaller cone shaped button is located alongside the crank nut. This one controls the click and anti-reverse. This button is attached to a spring laden pin that rides in a milled out portion of the face plate. When the crank is turned for the retrieve, the pin provides a slow click .. click, similar to that of the Pflueger Medalist, which was the aim of Butler according to his brochures. When reeled backward, the pin comes against the stops and provides an anti-reverse. This function can be deactivated by lifting the click button and giving it a quarter turn.
Herb Butler’s “Fish” reel came with one extra spool, and additional spools were available for $2.00 each. The spool would hold 50 yards of backing behind any fly line. The brochure stated that the reel would hold 100 yards of 18 pound test lead core line, and/or 300 yards of braided Dacron line, if you intended to use the reel for trolling.An undated brochure lists the reel at $25.00 including shipping direct from the factory. A dealer price sheet dated January 3, 1979 states that “our planned retail price for the coming year is $30.00 for the Right Hand reel and $35.00 the Left Hand version.” The reel was available to dealers for $20.00 with an order of ten reels; $15 each in quantities of 50; or $12.50 each if you ordered 100 reels.Butler also offered his concept to other manufacturers, stating “other manufacturers may incorporate this designs and engineering advances in their product for a very nominal royalty. The royalty for copying the design and/or engineering is 2%. The royalty paid to Herb Butler Engineering will be used to improve fishing in those various parts of the country where the reels are sold”. Apparently this offer was not accepted by any other manufacturers, for we are unaware of any other reels of similar design.Two brochures list different addresses for Herb Butler Engineering. One shows the address to be W. 821½ Riverside Avenue, and the other lists S. 2112 Manito Blvd. Both addresses were in Spokane, Washington. The former address was a shop where the reels were manufactured, and the later address was apparently his residence at the time. The Herb Butler “Fish” reel was only manufactured for a few years and no references to the reel are found in the 1980s.Herb Butler believed in his reel. Each one carried a printed guarantee – I guarantee the “Fish” Fly Reel for as long as I live. If you are not satisfied regardless of reason – return the reel and I will refund your money in full. Yours for good fishing, Herb Butler. By Phil White.
CARPONE AND PONS CO.
CASTMASTER FISHING REEL CORP
Cenataure, “The French Water Pipes Company” of Paris, France made spinning reels from 1947-1971. The Pacific is a well-known model name from the company. The reel was imported by Booth Export and Imports of California. For more information, see Ben Wright’s Spinning Reel Reference.
CHAMBERLIN CARTRIDGE & TARGET REEL CO.
CHAMPION SPORTS EQUIPMENT
CHAPMAN & SON
CHUBB, THOMAS H. CO.
CLARK, HORROCKS & CO.
CLERK, ANDREW & COMPANY
CLERK & BURKE
CLERK, BURKE & BAKER
CLERK, GREEN & BAKER
CLINTON, CHARLES M.
COLGROVE TACKLE CO.
J. CONROY MAKER
J. & J.C. CONROY
J.C. CONROY & CO
CONROY & BISSETT
CONROY, BISSETT & MALLESON
THOMAS J. CONROY
Conroy – John Conroy was working as a machinist on Fulton St., NYC, at least as early as 1830 (the date claimed as his company’s founding), and possibly as early as 1824. He was making reels by the late 1830s (roughly the same time as the Meeks began to make reels). The early reels were marked “J. Conroy/Maker.”
John C. Conroy joined the firm in the late 1830s, and the company was renamed “J. & J.C. Conroy” about 1843. The reel markings were changed to “Conroys/Makers.”
The founder retired, and J. & J.C. Conroy was dissolved in 1864. A new partnership of J.C. Conroy, Thomas Bissett, and Francis Allen was organized and named “J.C. Conroy & Co.” Their reels were marked with the company name.
In 1875, a new partnership consisting of Bissett, Frederick Malleson, and Thomas J. Conroy was formed and named “Conroy, Bissett & Malleson,” and their reels were so marked. Malleson left the firm in 1881, and the name was changed to “Conroy & Bissett.”
The company was renamed “Thomas J. Conroy” in 1883. By this time, it had become a general sporting-goods store, and probably was no longer manufacturing its own reels, though it continued close business associations with Malleson, who was making reels on his own. (Timeline provided by Steve Vernon.)
Pictures of reels marked Conroys Makers and J.C. Conroy & Co. (modified with clamp foot) courtesy Paul Manuel
COSGROVE TACKLE COMPANY
Coxe, J.A., There are two facets to J. A. Coxe Reels. First was the wonderful hand made big game reels manufactured by Coxe in his California workshop, and second were those mass produced reels manufactured by Bronson Reel Co. of Bronson, Michigan. Who bought out J.A. Coxe. Bronson needed a salt water designer to help them get into the SW reel market. They were 10 years behind in this market. Companies like Ocean City and Pflueger were way ahead of Bronson. Joseph A. Coxe stayed on with Bronson for years designing some of the best salt and fresh water reels ever made. Check out the “Bronson Reel” section of our website to see some of the J. A. Coxe and Bronson made J.A. Coxe reels.
Cozzone Corp., (John A Cozzone & Co in 1922 and 1923). Newark, NJ. 1924-31. This company mainly manufactured a line of quality salt water reels. However, they also manufactured a quality fly reel. All are sought after by collectors today. The company was owned by John A. Cozzone, a Newark machinist and friend of the Meisselbach brothers and Pliny Catucci. John’s father came to Newark in 1890 and became a U.S. Citizen. The two-year-old John and his mother would follow a year later. John showed some ability in mechanics and became a machinist. He set up shop in 1917 , but none of the products were reels. It wasn’t until the early 1920’s that John and his friend Pliny Catucci decided to make a go at reels. They created different companies but agreed that Pliny would produce freshwater casting reels while John would try his hand at larger trolling saltwater reels. Surprisingly, fly reels appeared by both companies as well. Here is a great site with pictures and info on the Cozzone’s and other brand salt water reels. http://myfishingreels.weebly.com/cozzone-reels.html Research by Brian Purrone and Phil White. The picture below is the Cozzone fly reel from the KC Show. The camera flash really brings out the color in the marbleized Bakelite. According to Phil White’s book, the Ogden St. address was the earliest and the reels were made between 1922 and 1924. Also see more Meisselbach reels below! These were some of the most beautiful reels made! For more information on specific reels, see Phil White’s article in ORCA’s Reel News back issue Winter of 1998.
Photos/information obtained with permission from Ron Gast’s website… https://luresnreels.com/cozzone.html
CREEK CHUBB BAIT CO.
CROOK, J. B. & CO.
Crook, J. B. & Co., (New York, NY) Jabez B. Crook was an English immigrant who opened a machine shop in the 1830’s that would become a part of huge tackle center on Fulton Street before 1900. Eventually, John Conroy would set up a shop virtually next door with names like Thomas Pritchard, J.J. Brown, and Alfred Woodham all selling tackle on the avenue as well. After a partnership in 1940, the company name was changed to Jabez B. Crook & Co. As the company expanded James Berry was added in 1846, and master rodbuilder Jerry Falvey came aboard as well in 1848. The company thrived for a time earning several awards for its offerings of fishing tackle. After a line of partners came and went ( some very quickly at times), the company was able to survive (barely at times) all the way to 1920. Relatives of both J.B Crook and James Berry kept the business in the family. It was a great legacy for a small machine shop that opened over eighty years earlier. As for Crook reels, historian Steve Vernon doubts they were made at all in their shop after 1875. Many of the later marked Crook reels have characteristics of other companies. However, Mr. Vernon attests that Jabez Crook deserves the honor of being “one of the earliest Identifiable reelmakers in the U.S.” When looking closely at Crook reels, there are a number of general identifying features that Mr. Vernon has shared (although there is much more diversity in the earliest reels):
-He made brass and German silver reels with ball-handles with S cranks.
-Most were multipliers, some single-action.
-The top surfaces of the curved, cast, one-piece reel feet usually were lower than the flat cross-bridges.
-The feet sometimes had arrays of dots underneath.
-The nuts securing he pillars to the headplate usually had two flat sides.
-The reels usually had a spring brake controlled by a sliding lever that extended through the headcap rim.
-The grasps often were unusually long, compared to the grasps used by other contemporary makers.
-He produced some German silver quick-takedown reels, and he appears to have experimented with a freespool clutch in at least one of them. -Some of his reels included housings or bridges over the pinions, and these had bearings for the spool journal.
(The above information is courtesy of Steve Vernon. For pictures and much more information, see Steve’s two articles in the January, 2009, issue of the ORCA Reel News magazine.)
DAME, STODDARD & KENDALL
DAME, STODDARD & COMPANY
See also Merman Versijveren’s article in the Reel News, Winter, 1997.
DEALLY JAMES & CO.
KENTUCKY CASTING REEL
Diamond, (Japan) Spin Master Series sold by US distributor.
(Photo Courtesy of Lang’s Auction.)
EDWARDS MANUFACTURING COMPANY
ELECTRIC REEL COMPANY
ENGINEERED PRODUCTS AND RESEARCH CO
ENTERPRISE MANUFACTURING COMPANY ( FOUR BROTHERS, PFLUEGER)
With the exception of a simple wooden device that doubled as a line dryer Mr. Pflueger had patented in 1896, Enterprise did not manufacture reels until at least 1900. The earliest reference to reels offered by them is 1902. Most of those early models bore the Pflueger name which had became trademarked by 1908.
By 1914 reels were offered by Enterprise under three trademarks: Pflueger Bulldog, Four Brothers (named for the four sons of E. F. Pflueger), and Portage, a trademark previously used by one of those brothers, E.A. Pflueger and used by him during a brief period beginning in 1906 when he resigned from Enterprise and formed his own E.A. Pflueger Company.
Enterprise remained a leader in reel manufacturing into the 1960s, offering a great variety of models over the years, ranging from tiny fly reels to large saltwater models and including some of the most popular casting reels ever made. In 1965 the company name was changed to The Pflueger Corporation. The following year it was purchased by The Shakespeare Company. Pflueger reels are still manufactured by the Pflueger Sporting Goods Division of Shakespeare. By Robert Miller.
Production of his “Patent Applied For” reel is far, far less. His wide spool reel is unique in that it rests on a gear driven level wind housing. It is unclear by the “Pat Apl’d For” marking if this was ever submitted to the patent office, as no patent has been found for this mechanism. The first known patent for a level wind device on a reel was granted on Feb. 28, 1860 to Mark S. Palmer of New Bedford, Mass.
Fasoldt’s design differed greatly from Palmer’s, with an oscillating level wind system that was driven by a gear in the head plate. With an outgoing click that activated a “twitching” head plate mounted indicator, and twist knob drag, this is a marvel of engineering for its time.
Photo Courtesy of Lang’s Auction
FALCH/FENNER, CHICAGO ,IL.
FIN-NOR / TYCOON
FLINT REEL CO.
FLIP IT SPINNING REEL COMPANY
FOSS, AL FISHING TACKLE
FOSS, AL FISHING TACKLE (Cleveland, Ohio), The company, mostly know for its lures and pork rinds, did also sell reels. Al Foss was a dedicated tournament caster who often modified reels from other companies to suit his own purposes. The company went through several buyouts after Mr. Foss’s retirement in 1929. To see the timeline of the progression of Al Foss Company, American Fork and Hoe, True Temper, American Tackle and Equipment and Weber refer to Joe Yates’ page on Al Foss History
FOX, A. H. GUN
FOX, A. H. GUN, a gun maker from Philadelphia est. 1906, maker of some fine shotguns, who also made or had made some reels, normally there is always one on eBay for sale, so check there until we can get some pictures here! They always seemed to square off their designs, like a tear drop shaped reel that also has flat areas around it!
GARCIA, CHARLES & CO.
GOOD-ALL MFG. CO
GRAHAM REEL CO.
GREAT LAKES PRODUCTS
GULF REEL CO.
GYRATORY REEL CO.
GYRATORY REEL CO. This unusual reel was patented and first produced by Henry Crandall of Milwaukee, WI in the early 1900s, The Gyratory reel was patented on 1/7/1908 by Henry F. Crandall of Milwaukee. This was patent #875,694. It was an odd contraption with an eccentric oscillating spool. The reel was also able to free spool for casting. In 1908 Crandall patented (#892,137) another version of the reel integrated into a rod. The Crandall versions of this unusual reel are very rare.
The reel was apparently revised and renamed c1916-17 by the GUY-RA-TORY REEL CO. of 316 Fifth Street in Racine, Wisconsin. This version was widely advertised in the leading outdoor magazines of the time. An ad from the May 1917 issue of Outers shown below. When the reel was reviewed by O. W. Smith, Fishing Editor of Outdoor Life in the October 1916 issue he commented:
“The gyratory reel was brought to my home by the traveling representative of a certain hardware house, as ‘special’ he was then pushing. We tried it out on the street to the great amusement of a crowd which soon gathered, and they were not all fishermen either. The illustration gives a good idea of the reel, its rather odd name referring to the eccentric action of the spool, wobbling from left to right like the lodge goat with each revolution, laying the line from end to end of the spool. The lever, shown in the illustration, frees the spool from the crankshaft, so it is a free spool. It will be noticed that it is built in the handle of the rod – is a part of the rod. The crank is of a peculiar shape. All in all, I consider it one of the strangest creations ever produced for winding a line or casting. It certainly would handle a line in a manner to surprise the doubting Thomases who saw it perform, but a man would need to be possessed of more than a little courage to take the arrangement out in company on a bass lake.”
This type of review, along with the onset of World War 1, undoubtedly hastened the demise of the Gyratory reel and contributed to its rarity. By Phil White. (For more information, see Reel News back issue Spring 1996.) Reel Photos Courtesy of Lang’s Auction
HARDY (England) Makers of the famous Hardy Perfect. Visit the Hardy site at the link for company history. http://fly.hardyfishing.com/en-us/about-us/.
Pictured is a variety of Hardy reels including an 1897 brass faced Perfect with early check (top right), a Silex bearing the “D” mark indicating it was made by (or under the supervision of) the famous Walter Dingley (top center), a circa 2012 Cascapedia designed by Hardy in the UK but manufactured in Korea (bottom center). Image courtesy of ORCA member Paul Manuel.
Patented June 19th, 1866, Anson Hatch of New Haven, Connecticut was awarded patent number #55,653 for his “Improvement In Fishing Reels”. Photo Courtesy of Jim Schottenham
HAWKS & OGILVY
HAWKS & OGILVY New York, Ball handled reels marked with the company name will be pre-1895. Most reels sold by the company were made by the Vom Hofe family of reel makers. Photos Courtesy of Lang’s Auction
In his book “A Treasury of Reels,” ORCA member and author Jim Brown writes that Haywood first appears in Chapman’s Birmingham Directory in 1800 as a brass founder and manufacturer of brass lamps and chandeliers at Morris’ Court, Hill Street. Andrew Race, owner of Reuben Heaton Ltd. in England and an authority on British reels, says Haywood started the foundry business in 1797 at 102 Hill Street, Birmingham.
According to Brown, Haywood “is first mentioned as a fishing reel manufacturer in Wrightson’s New Triennial Director of Birmingham (1815),
where he is described as a maker of brass fishing reels, ferrules for angle rods, walking sticks, etc. “His last appearance is in Pigot and Co.’s National Commercial Directory for 1828-9 (1829),’’ Brown writes. Mary Haywood, James’s widow, ran the business from 1829 to 1839, after his death. Mary lived from 1763 to 1846.
Haywood reels are found stamped either Haywood Maker or Haywood H [star] R. In most cases the stamping is on the front plate of the reel but in at least one case, included in my exhibit, Haywood Maker is stamped on the rear plate of a large salmon fly reel, photos of which are included with
this article. Reels are generally stamped Birm’m, for Birmingham, England. Although no documents or advertisements have surfaced to clear up the mystery about the H [star] R stamping, both Jim Brown and British fishing tackle historian and author Graham Turner theorize the letters came about when Mary Haywood and William Henry Ryder formed a business partnership. Brown writes, “Ryder appears to be the successor to Haywood. He began operations at the old Haywood address and advertised himself as a reelmaker, remaining in business at least until 1900 (joined by his sons about this time).”
Brown points out problems with that theory about the business relationship. Many of the H [star] R reels do not appear old enough to be
products made before Mary Haywood’s death in 1846. In his book “Fishing Tackle, A Collector’s Guide,” Graham Turner lists the Haywood firm operating from 1801 to 1839.Like Brown, Turner writes that Haywood’s business is first listed as operating on High Street, Birmingham but by 1803 he had moved to 71 Hill Street, which is when he was first listed as a reelmaker.
Writes Turner, “He made clamp foot winches in the early years, and later, ones with the modern type straight bar feet. He was one of the few early makers to stamp his name on winches, many of which must have been exported as they often turn up in America. “In 1823 he was trading from No. 102 Hill St. and extended his activities to making brass ferrules and walking sticks.”
After James died, Mary ran the business and was listed as a fishing reelmaker at 101 Hill St. By 1839 she was selling reels and brass ferrules
from a new address at Bath Row, Turner writes. She died Sept. 26, 1846, at the age of 83. Graham Turner makes no mention of Ryder or the possible Haywood and Ryder “H [star] R” connection in his book, published in 1989. However, Andrew Race says the H [star] R stamp dates a Haywood reel to between 1855 and 1858 in terms of sale at least.
According to Race, after James died in 1829, Mary continued as the reel maker at the same premises until around 1839 when she moved to 137 Bath Row and again in 1855 to 13 Wrottesley Street, Birmingham. Between 1855 and 1858 William Henry Ryder appears in business with Mary,
the company still at the Wrottesley Street premises and now listed as Haywood and Ryder (H & R). By 1862 Ryder is listed as a reel and tackle maker on his own. Ryder continued until 1903 when his sons are also listed as being in the tackle business. Information Provide by Richard Lodge. (For more information, see the July, 2014 issue of ORCA’s Reel News)LARGE & MEDIUM Versions are pictured below.
HAYWOOD MANUFACTURING COMPANY (ALSO SEE HUMPHREY’S)
HEARD & WILSON
The first reels to carry the “Heddon” name were the No.1 and No.2 “HEDDON’S DOWAGIAC” casting reels, supplied from 1912-1914 by A.F. Meisselbach & Bro. of Newark, N.J. The No.1 was identical to Meisselbach’s No.580 “Tripart”, with the single grip, while the No.2 was the same as the double-gripped No.582 “Tripart”.
In 1916 Heddon made a major decision to create their own reel making operation, hiring former B.F. Meek & Sons co-owner William Carter in 1917. He would help design a series of four precision Kentucky-style reels bearing Heddon’s name. They were the No.30, No.35, No.40 and No.45, which were only offered from 1918-1919. In 1919 Heddon hired Jack Welch to run the reel department. He had also worked for B.F. Meek & Sons, as well as W.H. Talbot. His collaboration with Heddon over the next 12 years would result in the creation of some of the finest reels ever built. They were the No.3-15 (built from 1920-1927), No.3-24 (1920-1924), No.3-30 (1920-1924), No.4-15 (1922), No.4-18 (1923-1925), No.3-35 (1922-1926) and the
Around 1926, Heddon again dabbled with selling reels supplied by other makers. The No.31AB “Waltonian” model would be supplied by Meisselbach-Catucci Mfg. Co., also of Newark, N.J. and the No.3 & 3AB “Indian Chief” models built by the Bronson Reel Co. of Bronson, Mich. These reels were never well-received by fishermen, much less James Heddon’s Sons and were discontinued after the 1928 season. It should be noted that two model fly reels, the No.26 “Little Rivers” and the No.125 “Imperial”were also available around this time. The No.26 would be short-lived, but the Imperial would sell for another 25 years. The famous No.105 and No.108 “Winona” trolling reels were also developed during this period, with both selling into the 1960’s.
Heddon would sign one of their most important contracts in 1929 with the Shakespeare Company, who would supply Heddon with virtually all their reels continuously until WWII. Among the popular Shakespeare-built Heddon models were the No.4 “Chief Dowagiac”, the No.215 “White House Angler” and the No.206 “Lone-Eagle”. During the 1930’s Heddon also unveiled three models of Automatic fly reels and the No.30 “Great Lakes” trolling reel (which would only last until the war).
After WWII, Heddon would again be supplied by Bronson, this time with the No.P41 “Pal” casting reel, which was offered in several standard and tournament variations. It was a big seller and would be joined in 1952 by the P51 “Dowagiac”, which our own Robert Ellis has determined to be a reel outsourced to Japan for manufacture. These were followed in the 1960’s by the No.25 and No.26 Heddon Pal “Pro-Weight” casting reels, also built and supplied by Bronson and which have become very sought-after by collectors. Heddon would go on to offer a line of nice quality salt water reels, among them Heritage series in four different models, with most being outsourced to either Japan or Sweden.
Starting with the No.240 and 250 “SpinPal” models in the early 1950’s, Heddon would offer a wide range of quality spinning reels for the next couple of decades. They are much too numerous to mention here! (Research by Mark Williams.) Images of Heddon 3-35 courtesy Paul Manuel.
HENDRICK, AUGUSTUS D.
Augustus D. Hendrick and his brother, George W. Hendrick, opened Whiting & Hendrick Brothers in 1884 in New Haven, Connecticut, as partners of Henry B. Whiting, an established rod maker. When Whiting left the firm about a year later, it was renamed Hendrick Brothers. “A.D. Hendrick, Manufacturer of Fishing Reels and Guides,” carried on alone after George left by 1887. A local businessman, Isaac J. Boothe, acquired the business and moved it to Birmingham by 1890, renaming it Star Reel Works. Hendrick remained an employee there until it was sold around 1898 and moved to Waterbury. He continued to work for his new employers until his death in 1901.
Hendrick specialized in reels made for the mass market, and his products competed with those of Andrew B. Hendryx, the better-known tackle manufacturer in New Haven. His single patented reel even lacked a spool. Its one moving part was a just a rod (arbor) on which the line was wound. Nevertheless, his reels were featured in the catalogs of such giants as Sears, Roebuck Co. and Montgomery Ward & Co.
Although some early Hendrick reels were marked “Whiting & Hendrick Bros.,” most of the reels made after Whiting left were probably unmarked. However, some or all had arrow-shaped levers on the tailplate to operate the click and brake. Soon after his brother left the partnership, Hendrick created the Mascot brand for his fishing reels. The name was trademarked by Isaac Boothe, but not until 1890.
Hendrick and his two sons were employed by Boothe at his Star Reel Works in Birmingham. Charles F. Loomis, a machinist at a nearby shop, patented a reel with a perforated, well-ventilated spool in 1890. In 1892, Hendrick received his only patent for what may qualify as the cheapest reel ever made in a factory. Star Reel Works manufactured reels employing both patents, a line of “Mascot” reels, and a variety of other reels. The company advertised regularly in national sporting magazines. See also Star Works Company.
(Information from Fishing Collectibles Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall, 1992, pp. 4-13) Courtesy of Steve Vernon.
HENDRYX, ANDREW B. CO.
Hermann, Paul – Maine
Regarding Dr. Paul Hermann’s reels, it is unfortunate that there are many who will never have the opportunity to see or handle one in person since there really aren’t that many total that were made. Reel making was not Paul’s livelihood but rather as he best put it “a labor of love”.
His shop was located on his and wife Kathy’s homestead property in the beautiful and historic town of Castine Maine. Paul started working on the design for his first Salmon reels in the early 1980s when he was unable to locate a Bogdan reel for his own use for Atlantic Salmon fishing. He spent several years on his design and on trying to come up with a unique drag system. He came to the conclusion that there was no salmon drag better than the Bogdan drum and shoe mechanism. Instead of using what he thought would be an inferior design, he decided to use the drum and shoe drag concept, similar to a Bogdan. Over the years his design evolved while going through 5 or 6 minor changes and 3 major “generations”, with the final generation being produced since the mid-1990s. The First Generation reels had delrin side plates, while all reels since, with the exception of the Large Trout models have aluminum side plates. In addition to his standard Salmon Model, along the way he added his trout model to the mix (commonly referred to as Baby Hermann), as well as, a few limited runs of special finish reels and also a few small batches of large trout /salmon reels with narrower frames for lighter fly lines.
For Salmon reels, Paul had initially planned to make 200, but at the end of production there were an estimated 213 total Hermann Salmon Reels made that include: approximately 5 with delrin side plates (these were the first reels), approximately 18 with nickel silver plated rims and pillars, 12 that were a narrow version “Dry Fly Salmon”, about 5 or so standard salmon that are in the white un-anodized that I refer to as the “Silver Salmons”, 5 or 6 that are a bit narrower than the Dry Fly and best suited for 6 wt or 7 wt lines referred to as “Sea Trout” models, and 2 reels that were wider than the Standard Salmon models that were intended as an experimental Tarpon reel. All of the Standard Salmon, Dry Fly and Sea Trout reels are multipliers and have a 7 position drag. The bulk of the reels which were the Standard Salmon models were available over the years with either silver anodized rims, or highly polished rims, and black anodized side plates, with a fairly even split between reels made as RHW or LHW. Paul designed his reels so that the serpentine handle and the internal drag mechanism impacting the direction of the drag adjuster knob was turned for greater tension were specific to RHW and LHW models.
For small fixed check trout reels, Paul had initially thought he’d make 100, but when he ceased making this model there were an estimated 112 total Hermann small trout reels or “Baby Hermann Reels” as they are sometimes referred to. Of this total number there were a few of the early reels that had nickel silver plated rims, but most have highly polished rims with black or in some cases deep plum colored aluminum side plates. Toward the very end of production Paul made 3 trout reels that were left “in the white. These are a very special reels.
A few years before Paul’s passing, he decided to build a small batch of 20 reels he called his “Large Trout”. These reels are the same basic dimensions as the “Sea Trout”, but are single action with a 7 position double brake shoe drag similar to that of his Salmon models. To lighten the overall weight of this model, Paul made the side plates of Delrin instead of aluminum and also made several of the internal drag components with Delrin instead of naval bronze.
Added together Paul made about 345 total reels spanning approximately almost 30 years of production as a hobby, or “labor of love”, which is pretty amazing when you consider he was a Doctor in his “Day Job”. Paul’s reels were always delivered in a bright colored soft pouch that were hand made by Kathy. Over the years, Paul & Kathy donated several reels to be auctioned or raffled for fund raising efforts in support of Maine’s Atlantic Salmon fisheries. Paul passed away in late 2016. Thanks to Mark Baker for the information and photos.
HOLMES, L. W.
HOLMES, L. W. L.W. Holmes fishing reels. Holmes was a reel-maker in Oronoque, Conn., from after WWII to the early 1950s. His reels are well machined but were designed to fit into the mid range niche of the market. Leslie W. Holmes, according to the city directory, was listed as a reel maker in 1945. He made 4 models or reels, with variations in most of the models. There was one non-level wind casting reel that had a sandblasted aluminum frame and may have been the best made of the lot. The reels were sold by Abercrombie & Fitch for a time, but the company’s demise came about by Hardy’s patent infringement lawsuits. Evidently, the reels resembled some of Hardy’s designs. Also, the post-war competition in the mid range was considerable. Although it appears the reels were made for five years, they are awfully hard to find. (For more information on the reels and the company see the Reel News back issue, Fall, 1999, by Richard Lodge.)
Pictures below, courtesy of Wayne Benson.
The E. (Ernest) Holzmann reels were made by him in Brooklyn, NY in the early 1900’s. He was born in New York City on January 17, 1859 to his two German parents. The 1880’s and 1890’s New York City Directories show his occupation as an Electrician and Instrument Maker. In the 1905 Brooklyn, NY Census, his occupation is still listed as an “Electrician.” It wasn’t until 1910 when his occupation was listed as “Fishing Reel Manufacturer” in the NY US Census. The 1915 New York City Census also shows his occupation as “Manufacturer of Reels.” Ernest died on December 8, 1919 in Brooklyn, NY.
Ernest was an avid surf fisherman. He received his first reel patent on March 4, 1890 and assigned half to August H. Dirkes. It included quick-apart features and a drag design. One listing of his accomplishments in surf casting can be found in the July 1893 edition of “The American Angler” magazine and reported by A.H. Dirkes. Using an “improved reel, a 8 foot, 8 inch rod and a 2 1/2 ounce sinker” he made 10 casts measuring from 240 to 272 feet. The “improved reel” was probably a version of his 1890 patent reel. A.H. Dirkes is later shown in a 1909 ad as being the selling agent for the Holzmann reel which was marked “The Wolf.”
Ernest received his second patent on October 9, 1900. It included a free-spool and a automatic drag designs. His third reel patent was granted on October 31, 1905 and improved upon his previous patent design. His fourth reel patent granted on April 16, 1907 provided further improvements to the drag design.
Since Holzmann was an avid surf caster, improvements in casting reels was not his only area of interest. He received a patent on March 26, 1907 for a surf rod design. The features of the design were a long tapered butt section to add to the rod’s elasticity and adjustable line guides. His second casting rod related patent was granted on October 15, 1907. It was for line guides that were adjustable and had features to prevent the line from tangling on the guide during a cast.
There are at least four basic Holzmann reel designs that have been found. The first resembles Holzmann’s first patent in 1890. The second resembles the design shown in the 1900 patent and marked “Surf King.” The third version resembles that shown in the 1905 patent with a free-spool lever. These models are larger reels used for surf casting. The fourth version is similar to the 1905 patent, but a smaller reel and intended for tournament or bait casting rather than surf casting. There have also been found variations of the four basic models. This includes jeweled bearings, mother of pearl end plates, Julius vom Hofe star drag, tournament reel modifications and unmarked reels. One interesting thing to note is that Holzmann’s 1900 patent “Surf King” reels have a Mother of Pearl patent date and name medallions. The name medallion has Holzmann’s name misspelled and missing is the last “N” in his name. Information by Ron Gast https://luresnreels.com/holzmann.html. Photos Courtesy of Lang’s Auction
HORROCKS & IBBOTTSON CO.
Picture of early “key wind” “Horrocks-Ibbotson Co.” automatic reel and box courtesy Paul Manuel
HUMPHREY’S (ALSO SEE HAYWOOD MANUFACTURING CO.)
INGLIS, JOHN- SHAKESPEARE, Inglis Reels of Canada: As with most reel companies of pre-world war era, John Inglis was one of the largest suppliers of war ordinance of the British Empire making ship engines and Bren machine guns just to name a few. Sales of the reels started prior to the war, but do to all the hostilities before the war, no contracts were signed until later. After WW2 they started making household goods including sporting goods and around 1947 they signed an agreement with Shakespeare to start producing reels and lures. With the precision machinery that they were already experts at using, they were quickly able to copy and produce most of the existing lineup of Shakespeare reels to the exact specifications and tolerances of Shakespeare. 6 models and a few rods and some line were the 1st to be added to the lineup and later models were added over the years. The boxes were and exact match to the Shakespeare boxes and along with the famous Shakespeare logo. Inglis proudly stamped every box and reel with their famous Inglis logo and stamped Made In Canada. Reels were made right into the 1960s and production was stopped to concentrate on making large appliances. Today Inglis is owned by Whirlpool and manufacture large appliances for the Canadian and USA markets, yet their reels still exist thanks to the high quality of their craftsmanship. Research and pictures are courtesy of ORCA member Tony Malatesta.
Pictured below from left to right are John Inglis Shakepeare reels, first is a boxed Criterion No.1960 Mod.GE (1946), a boxed Ultra 1984 Mod.GE (1946), a boxed shallow water diver lure, a Wondereel No.1922 Mod.GE (1946).
You may click on the pictures to enlarge.
Johnson (Dennison-Johnson) Mankato, Minnesota. Refer to the Johnson Reel Collectors Association website. Also, click on the following link for an article on Johnson Demonstrator reels written by Dick Braun (The Zebco Guy) and posted on Dr. Todd’s Blog Spot: http://fishinghistory.blogspot.com/2010/08/johnson-reels-marketing-genus-by-dick.html. Research by Dick Braun.
Here is a Johnson article by Dan Uchity:
The Johnson 100B was first seen in catalogs in 1963, so to answer your question, the first 100B’s were made as early as 1962. They continued on until 1979 in catalogs by the Johnson Reel Co. They were made in various shades of green and also a Century 100B Princess was made in Pink for the ladies. Prior to the 100B’s they were called 100A’s and Prior to this just Johnson Century 100’s. 1955 was the year of introduction of the Johnson 100.discontinued by 1979. After a hiatus of several years a 40th year Anniversary issue was provided for 1995. Production probably began in about 93′ for this 100B issue. This one was a dark green issue. From about ’95-’97, a lighter green 40th Anniversary issue was also issued. This green was a close match to the old original Johnson Century’s.
Also at this time was introduced the Johnson Century 100B Deluxe in a silver color. This version sported ball bearings and 2 pickup pins and infinite anti-reverse features. For more information, see the Johnson reel collectior’s site. http://www.johnsonreels-online.org/index.php
All the reels spoken of above were manufactured in the USA. It appears the USA manufacturing ended in 1997. After this the 100B’s were manufactured in China until sometime around 2000. Two 45th Anniversary versions were issued then. One was a dark green and the other was a gray color. Also, a silver 100B Deluxe version was also made there. The finish was not as nice on this one as on the American made versions. It appears that no more of these fine reels are made in 2010. It will be interesting to see if they are ever manufactured again.
An interesting piece of info for those who are into collecting these reels: The Century 100 reels from near the beginning to end of production
were also made for other companies who used their own Brand name on them. The color range goes from one that is tri-colored in black, tan and yellow, and color spectrums consisting of red, various shades of green, pink, gray, silver, copper, brass and gold. Dan
To some of your other questions: The Johnson Century can be found with names like Shy Poke, Ward’s, Ace, Hawthorne (another name used by Ward’s), Cook’s Premier, Revelation (Western Auto product) and Johnson, of course. I may be forgetting some others.
The Citation is a larger version of the Century with a larger line capacity. Besides Johnson, there is a version made by Johnson for the St. Croix rod company. It is a copper color. There may be other brand names on the Citation model, but I am not familiar with them. Altogether, over the years, I know of about 60 or so variations of the Century reels. They sit on my shelves.
The Pink Princess reels were not anodized and neither were the Shy Poke reels. I think the rest of the models were anodized. Research by Dan Uchity. What follows are reel names and dates from the catalogs as posted on Reel Talk, Jan 2, 2016:
Sidewinder 10 1949 10A 1950 20 1951 40 1951 40A 1952 60 1952 80 1953 22 1954 44 1954
Century 100 1955-1956 100A 1957-1962 100B 1963-1979 115 1981-1982 135 1981-1982 225 1983-1988 100B Dlx 1995-1999 2000 1994-1999
Century Light 105 1982 125 1983-1988
Century Pro 345 1982-1984
Century II 101 1979 111 1979
Chairman 820 1979-1981 830 1979-1981 840 1979-1981 850 1979-1981
Challenger 730 1979-1980 740 1979-1980 750 1979-1980
Charter 620 1979-1981 630 1979-1981 640 1979-1981 650 1979-1981
Charger 530 1979-1980 540 1979-1980 550 1979-1980 620 1979-1980
Seville 170 1979=1980
Chevron 35 1979-1983 ?135 1979-1983 ?230 1979-1983 ?
Citation 110 1956-1957 110A 1958-1962 110B 1963-1979
Citation II 111 1979 Commander 150 1969-1971 150A 1972-1976
Skipper 125 1971-1978
Crappie Pro 230 1987-1992
Country Mile 6 1988-1994 10 1988-1994 15 1988-1994 20 1988-1994
Magnetic Fly Reel 5 1958-1965 3 1962-1971
Single Action Fly 7 1965-1971 9 1965-1971
Scout 145 1979 95 1981
Sprite 200 1978-1979
Spirit 85 1981 90 1979-1980 111 1983-?
Cisco 65 1981 127 1979-1980
Strike 415 1981 435 1981
Force 315 1981 335 1981 320 1982 340 1982 525 1983-1988
Sprint 205 1981-1982 215 1981-1982 235 1981-1982 445 1983-1988
Champ 430 1979-1981
Research by Dan Uchity.
KALAMAZOO REEL CO.
The painted black and silver cans are for Kalamazoo’s factory standard reels, any can with a paper label is a trade reel and normally worth more! The Deschutes is for the Deschutes River on the California/Oregon border The Portland can only popped up on ebay last year and sold for $250.00 Two months later it was relisted at a Buy it Now for $20.00? In 1940 Kalamazoo and Shakespeare came out with the bell shaped crank knobs and post war no more reel cans! The ornate reel in picture No.9 does not have any markings on it and has hexagon jeweled end caps, it is the only one that has these end caps, I have seen several over the years. I set it next to a can I found by it self with no label, like to find the original can!
The Cast Pal No.35 reel w/can that just sold on the Bay for $210.00, Pictures are courtesy of Tony Laws from Northport, AL R.E.
KEENE VALLEY ENGINEERING
KEWELL CO., INC
KIEST, HENRY A.
KILLIAN TACKLE COMPANY
KLEIN, C. R
The first reel patent described a means of covering a metal headcap with a disc of hard rubber. Half of the patent was assigned to Thomas B. Mills, of William Mills & Son, the New York tackle retailer. Mills catalogs featured single-action and multiplying reels made with the disc.
The second patent described a reel with a one-piece frame formed by folding a single piece of sheet brass into a U-shape to form two sideplates with an integral foot. Half of this patent also was assigned to Mills, and the invention became the basis of an extensive line of Mills “Eureka” reels, both single-action and multiplying.
Half of Kopf’s third reel patent was, again, assigned to Thomas Mills, and this reel was perhaps Kopf’s greatest legacy. He described a simple freespool clutch that employed a lever to swing the main gear toward or away from the pinion of a multiplying reel. Versions of his clutch were used by various reel manufacturers for decades, though few could match the beauty of the reel that Kopf made for Mills & Son.
The fourth patent was unassigned, and it described what is probably Kopf’s best-known design, for a sheet-brass reel foot that was corrugated to fit over the two bottom pillars of a reel. The foot was used on many inexpensive single-action and multiplying reels made by the inventor, many for the Boston retailer John S. Trowbridge & Co.
Around 1891 or 1892, Kopf moved his reelmaking to a factory in Whitestone, Long Island, owned by U.S. Net & Twine Co., which became the sole agents for Kopf’s reels. Nevertheless, he was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1893.
Kopf returned to Brooklyn, where Kopf & Ottmann sold tackle for a couple of years. When Ottmann left the partnership by 1896, Kopf established Kopf Reel Works, where he was joined by William Kopf, his brother or cousin. At the turn of the century, Kopf was still making fishing tackle, but he probably no longer was making reels. He declared bankruptcy again in 1900.
Kopf made reels with hard rubber, plain or plated brass, and German silver. He was one of the earliest reelmakers to use Celluloid for sideplates. Some of his later reels were made of aluminum. Few reels were marked with Kopf’s name, and even then, some were marked inside. Many Kopf reels, lacking maker marks, patent dates, or recognizable patented features, often remain unidentified.
(Information from Reel News, Vol. XVI, No. 1, January, 2006, pp. 4-14). Koph link and information courtesy of Steve Vernon.
L & S,
LANGLEY CORP (San Diego, California) The Langley Corporation was incorporated in 1939 to make dental equipment. The outbreak of WW II transformed the company into an aircraft parts manufacturer under the guidance of Henry Mandolf., a renowned aircraft designer and inventor. When WWII ended, Mandolf transformed the company into a national producer of fishing equipment with reels made of lightweight aluminum. Langley’s line of fishing tackle produced between 1946 and 1962 grew to 15 models of bait casting reels, 10 models of fly reels, 9 models of spinning reels, 5 models of spin casting reels, 59 models of fishing rods, a couple of lures and the famous De Liar scale. Improvements were always being made in each line as time went on, providing collectors numerous versions of Langley products to collect.
Langley’s flagship baitcasting reel, the Streamlite, weighed just 5 ounces and incorporated a perforated spool arbor to reduce backlashes. Other early reels included the narrow spool Lurecast and the freespool Target for tournament casters. All of these reels were made of anodized aluminum and became very popular. They had many features invented and patented by Henry Mandolf, a master at economizing in the production process. The Gearbox Control reels, introduced in 1948, used a Mandolf invention to allow the gears to be cleaned and lubricated without completely disassembling the reel.
After the Korean War, Langley introduced a very successful line of spinning reels, from ultralites to a large surf-casting model, the Spinator. New management took the company more and more into aircraft and aerospace work, with the tackle business waning in popularity. In fact, in 1962 Zebco Corporation, then a division of Brunswick Corp. purchased the tackle part of Langley Corp. specifically to produce Langley’s line of spinning reels, which they did into the early 1970s.
There is something for every collector in the fishing tackle Langley produced, some are common and some are quite rare, but all are colorful and built with precision. For more information on this great California company contact ORCA members Colby Sorrells, Nello Armstrong or Alan Baracco or write to firstname.lastname@example.org for information on ordering the book these authors wrote on the company (Langley Field Tested Tackle) that discusses the company in detail.
Top three pictures and research above are courtesy of Alan Baracco; left to right – Rare blond Streamlite and the early blue Model 310A . Langley Ultralite spinning reels. Colorful small Langley De Liars and boxes. Last two pictures courtesy of Jim Madden.
LAWRENCE TACKLE MFG. CORP
LAWSON MACHINE WORKS
LEWIS, R & L
LIBERTY BELL, CO
LITE MFG CO.
LONG, JOHN E. & CO.,
LONGFELLOW, a company that was in Fraser Mich. looks like they made a couple spinning reels, 1948 to 1955, according to patent # 2546465, and # 2712419, these patents were picked up by Shimano in the 1970s. They also had Bronson make a couple of casting reels, a No.CR2001 and a No.CR3001, for them. pictures are coming. To view one of their spinning reels look in this site: http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-longfellow-spinning-fishing-219271800
LOOMIS PLUMB & CO.
Image of nickel plated brass Loomis & Plumb automatic reel courtesy of Paul Manuel
MAGIC FISHING REEL COMPANY,
MANSFIELD, G. H. & CO.,
MARTIN REELS, INC
MCVICKAR & SON
MEEK & MILAM
Image of Meek & Milam No. 3 (dot), Frankfort, KY with 12 o’clock unbalanced handle, ivory grasp, possibly coin silver option, courtesy of Paul Manuel.
MEEK, B.F. & SONS
MEEK, J.F. & CO.
MEEK, J.F. & B.F.
MEISSELBACH, A.F. A. F. Meisselbach, the son of German immigrants, designed his first fishing reel in 1885. At the tender age of 20 he received a patent on this reel and then convinced A.G. Spalding & Bros. to sell the reel for him. This reel was a simple single action reel, that we call the Amateur. Demand was brisk, and “Gus” soon convinced his brother, William, to go into the business with him and their Newark, NJ garage was soon humming with machine work. In 1888 they expanded their line rapidly and moved into a larger machine shop. That year they added the Expert Reel, the Universal Rod Holder and their famous line of Spring Bow nets.
In 1896 more innovative reels were added to their inventory, with the Allright and the raised pillar Featherlight fly reels. At this time they also moved into a new three story factory. Sales boomed and soon A.F. Meisselbach & Bro. was one of the largest manufacturers of fishing reels in the country. However, the boom was yet to come. From the beginning, their products were of the finest quality, but very inexpensive. They were all aimed toward the average working man.
In the early 1900s, the Meisselbach brothers patented their most famous product, the Takapart reel and shortly thereafter its smaller brother, the Tripart reel. The initial Takaparts were called “Take-Apart” and were not the familiar tube frame reel that we usually think of when talking about Takaparts or Triparts.
A.F. Meisselbach & Brother finally incorporated in the state of New Jersey in 1906. Until this date they had not stamped their own name on any of the reels or accessories that they were selling. Many of the reels were stamped with model names or patent dates and these are the only identifying marks left to identify your early reels. Sales boomed from 1900 to 1917. There were over 75 employees in their factory and their products were sold all over the U.S. and Europe. They were also in the general machining business and were one of the largest manufacturers of phonograph parts in the east.
In 1917, the A.F. Meisselbach & Bro. Corporation was sold to the Otto Heineman Phonograph Supply Co. of New York City. Heineman changed the name to A.F. Meisselbach Mfg. Co. and moved the company headquarters to NYC. Gus and William retired to the NJ coast and spent their time
surf fishing. William died in 1919, and Gus died in 1927 at 61 years of age. Heineman trimmed the Meisselbach reel line to the basic models and in 1921 the reel tooling and production was moved to another factory in Elyria, Ohio. In 1925 the parent company name was changed to General Industries. Some collectible reels came from Ohio, most notably the Okeh series. However, the great depression of the 1930s brought about a lowering of quality and the great old reels of A.F. Meisselbach & Bro. disappeared from the lineup one by one.
With the advent of World War II, General Industries turned their production to war materials and all fishing reel production was stopped in 1941 and was not resumed after the war. This was the end of the Meisselbach name on quality fishing tackle. It was also the end of the name Meisselbach in the U.S. since Gus, married late in life, had no children. William was a life-long bachelor, so there were no descendants left to carry on the name.
[White, Phil. 2005. “Meisselbach & Meisselbach-Catucci Fishing Reels – Their History and Values.“ Lakeshore Press, Nampa, Idaho]
Research and pictures provided by Roger Schulz with permission of the author.
MEISSELBACH-CATUCCI COROPORATION The Meisselbach-Catucci Corporation was founded in 1910 by A. F. Meisselbach and Pliny Catucci. Catucci, immigrated to the U.S. in 1890. Shortly after 1900 he went to work for the Meisselbach brothers and his talent was immediately recognized. He was a great inventor and held many of the patents on Meisselbach reels. He also held many patents for phonograph designs and parts.
The Meisselbach-Catucci Corporation was started to do the custom machine work business (mainly gear manufacturing) for the Meisselbach’s. The Meisselbach-Catucci Corporation also built and sold the Meisselbach-Catucci Gear Hobbing machine. This company was located in Newark, NJ in a building back to back with the A. F. Meisselbach& Bro. facility. Meisselbach-Catucci was not engaged in reel manufacturing until after the sale of A. F. Meisselbach & Bro. to the Heineman Phonograph Supply Co. When A. F. Meisselbach Mfg. Co. was moved to Elyria, Ohio in 1921, Pliny Catucci decided the Meisselbach-Catucci gear cutting business would expand into fishing reel manufacturing. Many of the reelsmiths from the A.F. Meisselbach Co. went to work for Catucci.
In 1922, Catucci came out with a pair of casting reels, called “Symplopart” Reels; one a non level wind and the other a level wind reel. By 1924 his Stanton Street factory was making free spool and anti-backlash reels as well and in 1926 he added a line of Bakelite fly reels. All the Meisselbach-Catucci reels were well designed and machined.
By the late 1920s the Meisselbach-Catucci Reel Company was one of the major manufacturers of bait casting reels in the United States and
had a reputation for value and quality. The whole Catucci family was involved in the business, with Pliny’s sons William in charge of sales and Walter working in the factory. Disaster then struck in the form of the crash of ’29 and the resulting depression caught up to him. The reel manufacturing division of Meisselbach-Catucci was sold to the Bronson Reel Company, of Bronson, Michigan in 1931. Bronson continued to manufacture the full line of Meisselbach-Catucci reels with no changes. They even still had the Newark, NJ address on them. Some of the Bronson M-C fly reels are stamped “Mfd by Bronson Reel Co. since June 1931” on the foot. Otherwise, it is very difficult to distinguish a New Jersey reel from a Michigan reel.
The high quality bait casting reels became a casualty of the depression, and were dropped from Bronson catalogs in the mid ’30s. The fly reels lasted until World War II, and then were gone when Bronson returned to reel making following the war.
[White, Phil. 2005. “Meisselbach & Meisselbach-Catucci Fishing Reels – Their History and Values.“ Lakeshore Press, Nampa, Idaho]
Reel pictures and research provided by Roger Schulz with permission of the author.
Images: B.C. Milam No. 3 (dot), Frankfort, KY, solid nickel silver with 6’clock unbalanced handle, ivory grasp and tail-plate inscribed 1885; B.C. Milam No. 4 with 12 o’clock balanced crank and ivory grasp, courtesy Paul Manuel
MILAM, B. C. & SON
MILLARD BROS. LTD.
MITCHELL, with permission from Wallace Carney of the Mitchell Museum, www.mitchellreelmuseum.com
Mitchell Fishing Reel History
From the origins of Mitchell in the Arve Valley of France, through its formative years in 1939, to its launch in 1942 and meteoric rise for “30 Glorious Years”, to its place today in 2013 as one of the greatest fishing reels ever made! This is the story of how it all happened beginning in Arve Valley, Cluses, France in the year 1310.
From 1310 to 1937
Snuggled in the Arve Valley by the French Alps is a city named Cluses in eastern France, the birthplace of “The Mitchell” spinning reel. The French word “cluse” means a gap between mountains. This narrow gap is where the birth home is. The city was formed in 1310 when Baron Hugues de Faucigny Clusiens granted a Charter of Franchises, an act of empowerment that sets the municipal borders, the rights of Clusiens, and created
the first form of governing elected officials.
In the early 18th Century an economic adventure began in Cluses when a man from the valley named Ballaloud first introduced watch making to Clusiens. He learned the art of watch making in Germany and started making many variations thus creating many jobs.
Throughout the century, the watch making industry increased. In 1848, the Piedmont government created a school in Cluses for Royal watches called Ecole Nationale d’Horlogerie de Cluses (Cluses National School of Watchmaking) that quickly became the center for teaching the clock making art. In the mid-1930s, Charles Pons, now owner and CEO of Carpano & Pons employed Maurice Jacquemin, a top graduate from the French National Mechanics College in Paris France.
During this same time, a fishing tackle company called La Canne à Pêche located in Angers, France started developing a reel they named after their own company called the C.A.P. They contracted Carpano & Pons for further development. Maurice had helped Mr. Pons with this reel but at the same time he worked on another reel.
Maurice, now chief engineer, believed the could produce a reel that was not just a simple container to hold fishing line, but a precision tool that would cast at a greater distance with precision and be able to recover the fishing line without tangling. After years of research and development, the Mitchell spinning reel was born, a marked departure from the reels of its day in mechanics and appearance.
The revolutionary design incorporated special gearing and a longer axle to accommodate a wider spool between plates. In other words, the reel was designed around the spool. Due to the axle length required for the spool, the classic elongated “egg-shape” body was designed. The oscillation had to be increased by about 30% and extreme level-wind gearing was used. This reel was named after Maurice Jacquimin’s son Michel but French law prohibited proper names to be used as product brand names thus the “Anglicized” name Mitchell.
From 1937 to 1962 Carpan & Pons began production of the C.A.P reel in 1937 and by 1939 both reels were in test run production now called first versions but in fact; they were pilot or test reels. In 1942 the first Mitchell second versions were produced
for sale in France with several minor design changes up to 1946. The Mitchell third version started in 1946 and due to the forthcoming success, clock making was gradually lost and then completely disappears behind this new industry. Export was quickly put in motion in 1946 by Jules Gumprich, owner of Impecco, Paris, an established import/export company with close ties to Carpano & Pons and La
Canne à Pêche and his brother Otto Gumprich, owner of Charles Garcia & Company in America. Otto and Jules had been working together starting in 1937, selling large quantities of Silkworm Gut. Demand was high since the varieties used for surgery and for leaders came in various lengths and diameters. Fishing lines of various sorts were also imported including the special double tapers for fly-fishing and the common braided lines, which were the only ones available for fishing reels at the time.
Other imports included various raw materials such as Lamb Gut for tennis and badminton rackets as well as for stronger sutures, Kapok and other natural fibers used for domestic wares such as mattresses, carpets and so on. Before the war, Jules had sent both reels to Otto with the suggestion they would be desirable products.
Initially the first Mitchell reels made and owned by Carpano & Pons were only made with the Mitchell name engraved but starting in the early 1950s the range grew with models covering both fresh and salt water of various sizes including the new Mitchell Salt Water, the Mitchell Otomatic and the Mitchell Rapid.
Carpano& Pons privately announces the first Mitchell “milestone” in 1955 by celebrating 10,000 crates of Mitchell reels being exported. Each crate contained 60 reels for a total of 600,000 reels!
It was then reported in The New York Times that “Mitchell reels were brought here shortly after WW2 by servicemen” and that “300,000 spinning reels came (imported) here in 1955, mostly Mitchell” and last but not least; “Garcia promoted this reel shortly after invention of mono-filament line”, a profound statement if you think about it!
Carpano & Pons again privately celebrates another Mitchell milestone in 1957 with the 1,000,000 Mitchell reel. This privacy was very well kept! Doug DeSimone, surviving son of Louis DeSimone, only revealed these reels in 2007, 50 years later
By 1958 the Mitchell 300, Mitchell 302 (Salt Water), Mitchell 304 (round body), Mitchell 306 (intermediate), Mitchell 308 (ultra-light),
Mitchell 330 (auto-bail) and the Mitchell 350 (high-speed) series reels were being marketed worldwide. Many other models evolved throughout the years from these original seven, too numerous to mention.
From 1962 to 1978 1962 marked the time of 5,000,000 Mitchell reels being made. In 1966 Mitchell privately celebrated 10,000,000 Mitchell reels sold. The 1966 10-Millionth Medallion shown was presented to Robert Lenk, VP of The Garcia Corporation for his valued
contributions to Mitchell. Bob was Tom Lenk’s Brother.
By 1968 Mitchell was now producing several new models including the big game fishing reel series that had been in R&D for several years. At the time it was as if nothing could stop the Mitchell brand. Every angling schoolboy aspired to owning a Mitchell, every match angler certainly had at least one and many had more!
The sterling silver Mitchell 300 shown was presented to a few top National Agents to commemorate the worldwide sale of 20 million Mitchell reels. The other commemorative reel is referred to as the Mitchell 410 20-Millionth Global and was also presented to a select few top executives.
In a 1971 press release it’s reported by Carpano & Pons that out of 83 counties importing Mitchell reels, The Garcia Corporation was importing 65% of all exports. “Each week, 25 tons of reels are dispatched from Cluses bound for the American fishermen.” This article also states they were currently making 10,000 Mitchell reels per day with 15% of these being sold in France. The 83 countries were selling to over 5,600 retailers.
The Garcia Corporation was a dominant and revolutionary force in the fishing tackle market and purchased “Mitchell” from Carpano & Pons on June 17, 1974. To celebrate this occasion a very special Garcia Mitchell 300DL was made in France and presented to a few top executives. Suffering from over diversification, in 1977 Garcia had to sell the majority stock in “Mitchell” back to Ets Carpano &
Pons and the primary focus was placed back on selling Mitchell fishing reels but it was too late. On August 10, 1978 The Garcia Corporation declared bankruptcy and closed forever.
From 1978 to 1990
Starting in 1978, Carpano & Pons and Impecco had been meeting with various tackle companies to find another North American distributor for Mitchell. This included Browning and many other interested tackle companies including Garcia Tackle, Garcia Canada and Zebco but by 1980, exclusive distribution rights was awarded to Browning. Abu Sweden purchased the Garcia Tackle (USA) assets and most important, the Garcia
name. Distribution of all Abu products in North America moved to Fairfield, New Jersey under Abu’s new name, Abu Garcia, Inc.
Mitchell, a separate company owned by Carpano & Pons, continued suffering from the tremendous financial losses from Garcia’s bankruptcy. This along with the loss of Garcia’s perfected marketing skills, service and pipeline and many other factors led to bankruptcy in 1981. Mitchell was reestablished as Mitchell Sports, a solely owned and operated company who would eventually become the sole distributor of Mitchell reels worldwide.
The French assembly plants started closing in 1988 and though a few good reels like the Mitchell 300 PRO 45th anniversary reel were still assembled in France, most parts were sent to Thailand for assembly. The engineering quality, for which Mitchell, France was famous, and the quality of their Mitchell reels has never been surpassed. They built many millions of reels and there has never been a range of any other major item of fishing tackle, be it rods, reels, lines, that has achieved anything like the same quantity for a single brand and producer. In 1990 the Mitchell “company” closed its doors in France forever. After that and until this day, Mitchell is just a great brand name.
From 1990 to Present Day In 1990 Johnson Worldwide Associates (JWA), a successful company well known for their Johnson line of fishing reels and other tackle purchased Mitchell Sports. At this time they claimed over 30-million Mitchell 300 fishing reels alone had been sold!
In 2000 Pure Fishing purchased the Mitchell brand as part of their JWA fishing products acquisition. Pure Fishing with locations worldwide still owns the Mitchell brand name but has also acquired many other famous fishing tackle brands including Abu Garcia, Penn, Shakespeare and many others. Pure Fishing, Inc. is a subsidiary of the mighty Jarden Corporation, headquartered in Rye, NY.
Wallace Carney – Le bénéficiaire du prêt – on record Archives municipales de Cluses
With Special Thanks To: Florence POIRIER – History of Cluses – Archives municipales de Cluses – August 24, 2000 Groupe Carpano & Pons – 1893 ~ 1993 100 ans d’Aventure Industrielle, d’Eau et d’Electricite Doug DeSimone ~ JP Gumprich ~ Barrie Welham ~ Mike Read
~ Dr. Todd Larson Research by Wallace Carney.
The birth of Montague started in 1881 when Leander L. and Eugene Bartlett bought out the J. G. Ward fishing rod business in Amherst, Massachusetts. In 1882 the Bartlett’s opened a factory in Montague City, Massachusetts to make split bamboo rods. By 1885 they added two stories to the Montague City factory and were incorporated as the Montague City Rod Company.
In 1891 further expansion took place as Montague purchased the Chubb Fishing Rod Company of Post Falls, Vermont, which they operated until the 1930’s. In May of 1899 an agreement was reached between the Montague City Rod Company and Frederick Malleson whereby Montague purchased the Brooklyn, NY factory of Malleson/Conroy/The U.S. Net & Twine Company (take your pick – the exact details seem to depend upon which author you read), at 163 Grand Avenue.
In 1927 the company name was changed to Montague Rod and Reel Company. At this time some of the reel making machinery was moved from Brooklyn to the Montague City, Massachusetts factory. This historic fishing tackle
company came to an end in 1934 when Montague was purchased by the Ocean City Manufacturing Company, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Montague City factory continued to produce fishing rods, but all reels were produced in Philadelphia.
In 1955 the name was officially changed to Montague-Ocean City Rod and Reel Co.
Montague manufactured reels of all types and price ranges. Apparently, with a minimum order, you could have reels stamped with just about any name you wanted. Montague “generic” reels were sold by many of the most prestigious tackle houses – Edward vom Hofe, Abercrombie & Fitch, V. L. & A., Abbey & Imbrie, and so on.
Montague made them all from “Gayle Style” raised gear cover Kentucky reels in German silver, to hard rubber and German silver fly reels that are often thought to be the product of one of the vom Hofe brothers.
Their hard rubber and German silver surf reels are often marked with the Edw. vom Hofe shop name and these are fine looking reels. This great variety of names, quality and types of reels is what makes the study of Montague reels most confusing, but very interesting. By Phil White. For more information see “Montague Generic Reels,” by Phill White, Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, Reel News issues Fall and Winter of 1997 and Spring and Summer of 1998.Pictures of the Jupiter are courtesy of Don Champion.
Pictures are courtesy of Ed Prichard, http://www.antiquefishingreels.com/
MURA APPLETON CO.
MEYER, LOU COMPANY
MEYER, LOU COMPANY, (Kenosha, Wisconsin) Here’s a case where the reel is more recognizable than the company. The Flo-Line Universal Reel, also known by some as “the pencil sharpener reel,” was supposed to be both baitcasting and spinning. The reel had a base latch allowing the reel to pivot 90 degrees for casting like a spinning reel and return the position then for retrieval. In the retrieval position, it can be used as a baitcaster. The swivelling feature could also be used to make the reel usable left or right-handed. A drag wheel was also present under the handle. One can see now why the moniker “universal” came from. (For more information, see Reel News back issue Spring of 1999.)
MORRITT, K.P. LTD.
MORRITT, K.P. LTD. (England) This company made the Intrepid Sea Streak sold by South Bend from 1969 to 1972. The light weight, ball bearing reel did have some unusual features that allowed for casting or trolling, and was mostly designed for big water. The cast control worked well, the free spool rim button automatically engaged, and a 4-way star-type wheel allowed four combinations of click and free spool. Unlike most larger trolling reels, it was made for backlash free casting with its “Thumatic” automatic centrifugal thumb control. At $50 it wasn’t going to be a hit for long. (For more information, see ORCA Reel News back issue Winter 2000, and article by Gary Quick.)
OAKWOOD PRECISION GRINDING CO.
By 1926 they had moved to 1341-47 Noble Street, Philadelphia, and were producing additional models such as the Striker, Angler’s Pal, Dover Club, Solite and Hermos which was a Meisselbach design bought when the Newark NJ factory closed. They now have Saltwater, Freshwater and Fly reels. In 1929 the Orlando 6/0 was advertised as the finest reel of its kind and guaranteed forever. The 1930s range of reels expanded rapidly from year to year. Late 1934 early ’35 Ocean City bought the Montague Rod and Reel Co. leaving the rod making at the Montague City address and making all reels at the Philadelphia address. Ocean City had their Orlando, Long Key and then the Balboa in ’35 with the Panama in ’37.
In 1939 Ocean City took over Vom Hofe and Co., Inc. and in the 1941 Catalog OC announce the new ownership and continuation of Edward Vom Hofe reels and accessories using the same famous designers and skilled mechanics. The making of Vom Hofe reels finished in 1950.
In 1955 the Montague City rod making business changes name to Montague-Ocean City Rod and Reel Company. True Temper took over the Ocean City Co. which finished making reels in 1968. Research by Ray Hodges. To view more Ocean City Reels visit our section within this website, by clicking here “Ocean City Reels” Reels pictured below of the first OC reel, the 450 yd. Long Key and the 14/0 EVH are courtesy of Ray Hodges, the picture of an Orlando 6/0 is courtesy of Ed Miller and the picture of the OC Big Game No.612 with the factory hand brace is courtesy of Mike Cacioppo.You may click on the pictures to enlarge them!
OHAVER & O’BANNON
OHIO TOOL CO (OTCO)
OHIO TOOL CO (OTCO), This company made the Ashaway Slip-cast reel, an unusual open faced spinning reel that was used on top of the rod. It It was reportedly situated on the top because Americans were slow at picking up on the spinning reel popularity in Europe where reels hung underneath. The Slip-cast has been called the “missing link” between baitcast and spinning. The reel design is credited to Charles Ritz (of the hotel dynasty) and Paul Mauborgne (inventor of the French Luxor spinning reel). When the reel was presented to Julian Crandell of Ashaway Line and Twine Mfg. in Rhode Island, a separate company was set up to avoid some unspecified patent problems. The company was called Ashaway, Inc. for marketing the reel. In 1947, the Ohio Tool Co (OTCO) of Cleveland, Ohio, was contracted to manufacture the reel and received permission to sell the Slip-Cast as well. It was presented to buyers finally in 1948. The reel in its two sizes that went into production in 1947. Both had a unique thumb lever that held the line before the cast. The reel did meet with some success, but when OTCO ran into financial problems productions ceased, and it appears there were no new takers for manufacturing job. (For more information, see Ed Corwin’s Spring, 1998, back issue of ORCA’s Reel News from which most of this information has come.)
OK MACHINE COMPANY
P & K INC.
PECK & SNYDER
PENN REEL CO.
Around 1930, Otto Henze left Ocean City and begun to develop his own fishing reels. By 1932, working from home, Mr. Henze had two designs ready for Patent submission. He hired a lawyer who submitted the patents and he and his business partner, a Mr. George Hunt, started investing their money to build enough production prototypes to sell and distribute on the East and West Coast of the USA. These two reels were given simple model names; one reel was named the Model F and the other the Model K being made in two configurations (FIGURE 1 see below), one with a star drag system and one without. For information on the Spinfisher series, see ORCA Reel News back issue Fall of 1998You may click on the pictures to enlarge.
During the 1932 production run, over 2000 Model F & K reels were built and distributed all over the USA’s East and West Coasts. The progression of the business was immediate and in 1933, a simple brochure FIGURE 2 & 3 see above) was printed, four reels were offered for sale and the Penn Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Company was born. The Model F became the 1933 Sea Hawk (FIGURE 4 see below) and the two Model K’s became the Long Beach (FIGURE 5) and the Bay Side (FIGURE 6). The fourth reel in the brochure, the Sea King was never manufactured; a reel named the Sea Ford (FIGURE 7) was introduced late in the production year of 1933 to take the place of the Sea King.
This is how it all began, working from home in 1930 to a world class corporation today, The Penn Reel Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Company has kept a steady progression of supplying fine fishing tackle to its customers at affordable prices for over 80 years and counting.
Research and pictures are courtesy of Mike Cacioppo. Additional Spinning Reel picture courtesy of Jim Madden.
PERRINE MANUFACTURING COMPANY,
PETTENGILL. Albert N. Pettengill (1837-1903) from Ilion, NY applied for a patent on August 3rd, 1885, and was granted patent #361,890 on April 26th, 1887 for his “Improvements in Reels for Fishing Rods”. His invention, primarily formed from a disk of sheet brass and drawn up to form a rim or band, featured a perforated cylinder that formed the spool. Pettengill’s reel was intended to be convertible from a side mount to a top mount reel by way of an additional mount (reel seat) that would be secured by a screw and a pin – the pin to prevent the foot from rotating on the screw – that would attach either on the underside of the reel or on the rim (band) to form a top mount. Photo Courtesy of Jim Schottenham
PEZON ET MICHEL
PHILBROOK & PAINE
Also two salt water reels the Ensanada Mod.ER ( ER meaning Ensanada reel) and the Key West Mod.KWR (KWR meaning Key West reel).
QUAKER CITY GEAR WORKS
RAMODA TOOL & MANUFACTURING COMPANY
RANGER REEL COMPANY,
RAVENNA METAL PRODUCTS
REDIFOR ROD AND REEL CO.
ROCHESTER, REEL CO.
ROMADA TOOL AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY
SAGE, JOHN L.
SARACIONE MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Around 1890, a young William Shakespeare was employed at the Garrett & Lowe Kalamazoo Shutter Co. His ability in design and mechanical knowledge was immediately apparent, but after a few years the company folded. No unemployed, Shakespeare acquired a jewelers lathe and started experimenting with his new reel design. .
To help finance his venture into reel making, William Jr. went to work for a Dr. Yonkerkman as a silent partner in the “Yonkerman’s Consumption Remedy Co.” William took over the third floor of Yonkerman’s building to further his endeavors into reels. The company folded in 1916 when it was discovered that the Doctor Yonkerman was a licensed veterinarian. Being a silent partner in this venture gave William Jr. the funds he needed to proceed with his reel development in his early years.
His first successful level wind reel was built in 1896 and on Oct. 5, 1897 he was granted patent #591,086. With this patent in hand he started “The William Shakespeare Jr. Company” One of his first employees was Walter Marhoff who became his chief design engineer. Marhoff was the designer of the single screw level wind mechanism among other improvements. The first reel was the handmade style C followed by Style B in 1903 and Style A in 1904. They utilized a dual worm-drive level wind system eventually replaced by the Marhoff single system.
By 1904, business was booming. The William Shakespeare Jr. Co. was producing four different models of reels in nineteen different sizes. At this time the company moved from Water street to a location in the Traction building in Kalamazoo. On Nov. 18, 1905 the company was incorporated in the state of Michigan. One of Williams best assets was the art of advertising.
The company continued to grow with the addition of more reel models, lures and other fishing items.. In 1907, the company was upgraded with $30,000,00 of new ”Automatic” equipment. Finance-wise, these early years of reel production was only a break-even endeavor, while his venture into other tackle items and medicine business helped turn a profit. By 1910, the company had one hundred employees with three salesmen on the road. At one point business was so good, the salesmen were called off the road to prevent overselling. It was around this time that Shakespeare started making items for other retailers, including Simmons Hardware and South Bend Bait Co. Sometime between 1905 and 1910 Shakespeare
received his first large order from Simmons – for $11,000.00 worth of level wind reels.
In 1913, the company moved from the Traction building to a building at 417 North Pitcher Street. With the new space and new machinery the company was able to expand and hire more salesmen.
On September, 2, 1915 the company name was changed to the “Shakespeare Company” as they ventured into other products such as automobile parts, war goods etc. By 1916 the Shakespeare was producing twenty different reels and their catalogues contained numerous reels manufactured by other companies, plus many other types of fishing tackle. The company continued to grow with the addition of many products other than tackle items. On August 13, 1921, the Shakespeare Products Company was formed as a subsidiary, for the production of these other products
Production of fishing related products continued at a increasingly quick pace with introduction of new reels and a market for trade reels. An expansion program in 1922 gave the company $100,000.00 worth of new equipment and a chance to better the quality of the reels they produced,
In 1922 Shakespeare started a profit sharing plan for it’s employees, An unknown idea to other manufactures of that era. Bonus checks ranged from $100.00 to $300.00 annually. Another novel idea was put into place where the salesmen sold directly to the dealers, which cut out the jobbers and reduced the price of reels to better compete with other reel makers. This also increased company profits.
During the great 1930 with the depression in progress, From 1929 to 1932, the depression years, the company kept moving. They were able to keep their work force by cutting work hours to three or four a day and paying wages with shares of stock. In 1933 the company ventured into saltwater reels to compete with Penn, Ocean City and others. This line was not as successful as the freshwater line and disappeared by 1940.
In the early thirties, another company was formed to sell a somewhat cheaper line of reels for competitive purposes. This new company was named “The Kalamazoo Tackle Company”. Although the reels were made by Shakespeare and sold by their salesman the company address was listed as being at 241 East Kalamazoo Avenue. The KTC was also an outlet in which to sell trade reels to other outlets and thus not have reels marked as Shakespeare. It is my feeling that this was also done to enable Shakespeare to uphold the motto, ‘Honor Sold, Honor Built’ and still sell a cheaper line of tackle.
In 1939, the cornerstone was laid for a new office building on Kalamazoo Avenue, which became known as the ‘Spearflex Building”. In that same year a great breakthrough came with the introduction of the “Wondereel“. This was promoted as a reel that anybody could cast and needed no thumbing. It became the mainstay of the company for years. Production did stop on 7/31/1942 because of a federal ruling that all non-essential metal items (except for war products) was to cease. This ruling lasted until 1946 and the end of World War II. Even though the production of new items was outlawed, assembly and sales of existing reels was still achieved.
After the end of the war, the Shakespeare line of reels was greatly reduced and their bait line was almost non-existence. By 1950, labor cost and union problems was the company’s biggest concern. In 1952, the first closed face spinning reel ,The #1850 was introduced. This was a big advancement into the product line for the company. Later, in 1959, the introduction of the #2081 and the #2091. launched them into the open faced market. They continued to produce and sell the top line of fishing equipment and offered repair services to the modern angler. By the middle sixties, Shakespeare was starting to spread out.
They had manufacturing facilities in Canada, Arkansas, South Carolina, Iowa, and Hong Kong, just to name a few. The company remained intact until 1979 when Anthony Industries purchased 35% of Shakespeare company stock but kept the
In 1996, Shakespeare got a new identity when it was purchased by ’K-2”, which is the current owner, with headquarters in Columbia, South Carolina. Contributed by Harvey Garrison. Pictures of the highly scrolled Criterion Deluxe and late model Perfect courtesy of Jim MaddenOther info “Kalamazoo, The Place Behind the Products” “Kalamazoo Gazette” 1925 various catalogues, Kalamazoo public library scrapbooks “Shakespeare Fishing Tackle, 100 years of Excellence in Fishing Tackle” author unknown “History of Shakespeare” Doug Steward.
SHIPLEY, A. B. & SON
SIERRA ANGLING EQUIPMENT
SIMPSON, P. J.
SNYDER, J. & C.
Image courtesy Paul Manuel
SPECIALITY MFG. CO.
On Spiral Wind, there are more variations than most people realize. Four names….Free, Tru, Long and Spot, but when you start adding in the color variations, round or flat bar levelwind mechanism and with or without thumb space there could be as many as 20 different. Probably as an afterthought, it appears whomever bought out the existing stock of parts ran out of the paddle handles. There are a bunch of Long Cast reels out there without the patented handles and they all seem uniform and stock, as if sold that way. Makes sense to use up the paddle handles on the more expensive models and cheapen the cheapest reel (longcast) with the new, incorrect replacements.
On Hyla F. Maynes, more needs to be said. He invented and has patents for many things, before and after the Spiral Wind Reels. His first invention was a new, improved changeable gear for a bicycle March 25, 1902 (patent 696,349). His last was a hypodermic syringe holder device patent 2,565,081 issued August 21, 1951, after his death. His last several patents were all medical related, possibly due to his own illness? Over the years, his patents ranged from transmission and gearing on bicycles, clothes line devices, body muscle development devices, lantern, mechanical inscription camera, fishing reels, etc., but much of that was funded by his 22 year relationship with business partner, Harry A. Illions. Their business was building and designing amusement park rides including The Caterpillar, The Turtle, The Tumblebug, Magic Carpet, or Flying Carpet as well as others and many of those patents are still being used in the modern day simulated Surf or Surfboard rides at waterparks. As a timeline, I believe the sale of his shares in the business with millions were the funds used to capitalize the Spiral Wind Reel Company. The fact that many of his inventions are still in use and functioning as well as when they were new is testament to how advanced his ideas were. At some point?? 1950’s-60’s, Penn Mfg. started to make the Penn Leveline 350, which in theory is a Spiral Wind reel on steroids. Research by Richard Thomann (aka “FishBugMan”)
BELOW IS A BREAK DOWN OF THE LESS EXPENSIVE VERSION SPIRAL WIND LONG CAST NO.1838, DATE MARKED 1937, ALONG WITH PATENT NUMBERS FROM USA, ENGLAND AND CANADA.
SQUARE STAMPING CO.
SQUIRES BROTHERS INC.
SQUIRES BROTHERS INC. Isle Royale is the model name. Made in Milford, Michigan, circa 1945. Isle Royale was their only model, available in red, green, gold and a rare one in blue. It was a very well built, hand made and machined… no rusting parts. No one knows anything about the company at all, strangely. The company must have folded before the reels made the shelves and the only ones out there must be of the first batch or prototypes. I would imagine them being worth much more than $50 each because these are quality, beauty and seemingly VERY rare!
“One of the flash-in the pan reel makers post war have only found one basic model but this varies with different anodized colors and some differences in handle knob materials,and changes in shape of level wind have boxes but have not seen any paperwork to date have a red[most common color], green and gold. In operation a few years then gone. Reels in working condition are fairly difficult to find.
“Rare ( only one I have ever seen in all my years of collecting reels) Isle Royale by Squires Brothers, Inc. Milford Mich. the reel looks like it has never been used. It is constructed of milled aluminum, even the handle grips, and appears to be a very good quality reel. it has a strong click and a drag/brake (knurled knob inside the handle). The head and tail plates are anodized in a very nice reddish maroon color.
“Only seen pic’s of several of these..all in red.. in 35 years of collecting and being a fishing sports writer.
(Since there is so little known about the company, this conversation from May 3rd, 2014, from ORCA’s Reel Talk message board is all we have and may be a lead for those who wish to do further research.)
STANDARD MANUFACTURING COMPANY / GULF REEL COMPANY
STANDARD MANUFACTURING COMPANY / GULF REEL COMPANY (Dallas, 1946) Spurred by a WWII surplus of ball bearings, R. A Johnson decided he could manufacture fishing reels with his design abilities from his past, so he incorporated the Gulf Reel Company. He took his designs to Norman Oswald at Standard, and the partnership was born. The first reel was difficult to produce and the design was quickly changed a year later. Eventually, things went smoothly at 100 reels produced per day. Reels are found with a crest and two jumping fish on the side plate. The use of the ball bearings was huge for marketing at the time. Model names were New Yorker, New York Expert (a rare narrow spool tournament reel), Airlite, Airlite Express, and Airlite Expert. After a decline in the cheap WWII surplus ball bearings, a merger was arranged between the companies in 1959 and production was stopped. (For more information, see ORCA Reel News back issue Summer of 1999.)
STAR REEL WORKS CO.
http://hendrickreels.weebly.com/star-reel-works.html http://www.antiquefishingreels.info/Articles/StarRW.pdf (Courtesy of Steve Vernon)
STOCKFORD REEL CO.
Pictures are courtesy of Don Champion.
STURDIBILT PRODUCTS CO.
TALBOT, WM. H.
TALBOT CO., WM. H.
TALBOT REEL COMPANY, WM H.
TALBOT REEL AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY
TALBOT REEL RICHARDSON
TERRY CLOCK CO.
Image of a salmon-size Trowbridge brass and ebonite fly reel behind a more antique-looking Trowbridge raised pillar reel, courtesy Paul Manuel.
TT stopped selling rods and reels in the 1970’s. They are is still in business today selling their line of garden hardware!
TT has been bought and sold now many times, the current holder of the company is Griffon Corporation, see this site for the history of TT. http://www.amestruetemper.com/about-us/our-history.aspx R. E.
TULLY, THOMAS CO
U.S. NET & TWINE CO.
ULRICH MANUFACTURING CO.
Ulrich Manufacturing Co. were the Makers of the UCO Steelhead Spin-Fly reel. Patent #2,649,259 (1953). One of the objectives of this reel was to was to produce a correct spinning action with all the advantages of inexpensive modifications of a conventional fly reel . It is believed they only made this one model, as I’ve never seen another. Posted for Mark Williams
UNION HARDWARE CO.
UNION HARDWARE CO., was a mfg. in Torrington, CT from 1923 to 1960, sold many different reels, some only the box had the name and number, first picture is a different Samson reel than the next 4 pictures, next is a Sunny Brook, which is the most commonest found and then an unmarked Union Hardware! U. T. K. and Utica were name brands of Union Hardware. Pictures are courtesy of Arne Soland, OR. Last reel pictured is of another Union Hardware. This is an odd ball only marked UH it is an oval bakelite shape and the metal parts are of brass and painted black. It also has hinged jewelled end caps so they will not become lost, very scarce reel! Last picture is courtesy of Jonathan Kring
U.S. LINE & TWINE CO.
(Picture courtesy of Paul Manuel)
UTILITY MANUFACTURING COMPANY
VOM HOFE, EDWARD
Perfection reel picture courtesy of J.Schottenham
VOM HOFE, FREDERICK & SON
VOM HOFE, JULIUS
WALKER, A. L. REEL CO.
WEBER LIFELIKE FLY COMPANY
In 1919 he was hired by James Heddon’s Sons to supervisor their new reel making operations, where he would stay on until about 1931. During his tenure, Heddon produced some of the finest precision reels ever built, many of which were from Welch’s own designs.
After leaving Heddon, Welch started producing his own line of hand-made casting reels, made solely in his basemen workshop. He built both level-winding versions and non level-winding Tournament models, supplying many famous tournament casters of the period. They were of the highest quality, and coupled with the fact that production was very limited (only offered from about 1932-1936), are extremely valuable and sought-after by today’s collectors. Research by Mark Williams.
WHEELER & MCGREGOR
WHITES AUTO FISHER
WILBY, (All-aluminum fly reel, low quality – 1940’s) A 1945 ad in the Milwaukee Journal by Burgharts for sporting goods listed the features of the reel. The reel and box are only stamped “Wilby”.
WILLOUGHBY SHEET METAL COMPANY
WINCHESTER REPEATING ARMS CO
Worden Belly Reel (Yakima, Washington) The Belly Winder reel was first developed by Clarence G. Lindgren of Yakima, Washington. Lindgren patented his reel on November 6, 1948 (No. 2,574,216). The patent drawings and description shows a reel very similar to the finished product. It is unknown at this time if Lindgren ever produced his reel. The belly reel eventually ended up being produced by Bob Worden of Granger, Washington. Warden manufactured this reel and a series of spinning lures as the Yakima Bait Company.
YAKIMA BAIT CO.
YALE METAL PRODUCTS CO.
YAWMAN & ERBE
YOUNG, J. W. & SONS
ZERO HOUR BOMB CO. (ZEBCO)
The Standard reel changed the face of fishing forever, as now Dad could and would take the Family fishing with him as he didn’t have to spend the entire day taking bird nests out of a casting reel. So for the past 60+ years, most of us started out using a closed face rod/reel to begin our fishing fun. We will soon be on our 4th generation of young fisher persons the majority of which will start their fishing life with a closed face reel.
As was stated earlier the Standard reel was the first reel for Zebco then the model 22, 11, and in 1954 the Model 33 was introduced. In the first 33yrs that the 33 was made 22 million were produced. That is a lot of reels and there is a good number of them still catching fish.
In 1962 Zebco bought the Langley Reel Co. to expand its line of reel to include two casting reels the 310 and 330 and several spinning reels. Side note to this: The spinning reels sold by Abercrombie & Fitch prior to 1962 were produced by the Langley Reel Co. and after 1962 By Zebco Co. through the late 60’s early 70’s.
There are many, many different models of the Zebco Reels: closed face, open faced spinning reels, casting reels. And even fly reels. The Zebco Cardinal reels were produced by ABU of Sweden and sold in the U.S under the name Zebco.
(Research and pictures are courtesy of Richard Braun – (The Zebco Guy) and Jim Madden. Also see ORCA Reel News back issue Fall of 2000 article by Paul Winstead.