“Simmons” by Bronson
This is another trade reel with the “wave” engraved side plates similar to the Bronson’s No.3600 “Commander”. Made for Simmons Hardware of St. Louis and was probably produced in the mid to late 1930’s, shortly before Simmons was purchased by Shapleigh Hardware in 1940. This nice jeweled example is one of only a couple that we’ve seen, so they should be considered somewhat scarce.
“Sport King” Model 10B by Bronson
One in a whole series of reels supplied to Montgomery Ward & Co., who owned the trademarked “Sport King” brand name of fishing tackle. This “Model 10B”, like ALL the Sport Kings, was produced after WWII. It has the engraved side plates showing a fish jumping out of the water. This level-wind also is equipped with jeweled oil caps and A-B-L switch on the face plate. The original box (not shown) would carry Ward’s own (#60-6312) store stock number.
“Sport King” Model 10 by Bronson
Same as the Model 10B above, but without the jeweled oil caps. Same Ward’s store stock number on the box, too.
“Sport King” Model 17 by Bronson
The Model 17 “Sport King” was another post-war reel built for Montgomery Ward & Co. This level-wind has the pillared foot & A-B-L switch on the tail, but with the plain side plates and chrome oil caps is a mid-range priced model. Pictures courtesy of Daryl Rodenberger. The original box (not shown) would carry Ward’s own (#60-6321) store stock number.
“Sport King” Model 21 by Bronson
These single action casting reels were the cheapest of the economy models that Bronson built for Montgomery Ward, made of pressed metal with wood grips. They were identical to the No.4000 “Arrow Jr.” from Bronson’s regular line-up. The example shown below is one of the latest Sport King models from the 1960’s, with the scarce original blue box (marked with the #60-6721 store stock number).
“Sport King” Model 22 by Bronson
The Model 22 “Sport King” was the next in the series of post-war “Sport King” reels built for Montgomery Ward & Co. These were also mid-range in quality, with fixed end caps and maroon crank knobs. Equipped with the brake adjustment on the face plate and A-B-L bar at the level-wind. Original box is shown below, with Ward’s own (#60-6313) store stock number.
“Sport King” Model 69 by Bronson
The Model 69 “Sport King” was another reel supplied by Bronson to Montgomery Ward & Co. This low to mid-range model has the engraved leaping large mouth bass on the face plate and the Lashless-style A-B-L switch on the tail plate. The original box can be found with Ward’s store stock numbers of either (#60-6309) or (#60-6769). It’s believed that the #60-6769 marked boxes housed a pre-war version, as evidenced by the pre-war box shown in the last photo. Boxed reel photos courtesy of Scott Truex.
“Sport King” Model 81 by Bronson
The Model 81 “Sport King” was supplied to Montgomery Ward & Co. shortly after the war. They were jeweled level-wind, with the A-B-L switch on the face plate. They can be found with either marbled maroon or blue-gray crank knobs. The original box (not shown) carries Ward’s own (#60-6314) store stock number.
“Sport King” Model 233 by Bronson
Identical to the Model 17 in every respect. Don’t know why it was re-numbered. We show a nice example below, with the original box, which carries the same (#60-6321) stock number..
“Stalwart” No.366 by Bronson
The “Stalwart” was another model Bronson supplied to Gambles Auto Supply. These had the same engraved “fishing scene” as the “Allkast” trade reels. This jeweled level-wind also has the A-B-L switch on the face plate and the foot is stamped with either the “40” or “41” date code (for 1940 and 1941). The scarce original picture box, shown below, is marked No.366. Produced for only two years, these should be considered scarce.
“Stalwart Lashless” by Bronson
The “Stalwart Lashless” model was a level-winding anti-backlash model supplied to Gamble’s. It has the earliest pre-war Lashless-style A.B.L. control on the tail plate. These should also be considered scarce, as they were only available for one or two years.
“Star Reel Co.” Reels by Bronson
Several different models were produced by Bronson to be sold under the “Star Reel Co.” label, which in turn were sold through different retailers. The “Star Reel Co.” was a brand, rather than an actual reel manufacturer. The level-wind model in the first three photos is the “Tournament Wellworth”, made in the late 1920’s from what Bronson called “Duraluminum”. It was very similar to Bronson’s No.1800 “Lion” model. It’s not known who retailed these models.
The next Star Reel Co.-marked non level-wind model shown is the “Defiance”, which was similar to Bronson’s No.2800 “Biltwell”. The “Defiance” was also available in a jeweled version, much like Bronson’s No.3300 “Biltwell”. (photos of this are forthcoming)These would have been produced from the late 1920’s and well into the 30’s.
Also shown is another version of the “Tournament Wellworth”, but with the Bakelite head plate. These all would have been built around the same time period. It’s shown with its original box, which indicates it was being distributed by Horrocks-Ibbotson Co. Reels donated by Mark Williams.
“Surekast” by Bronson
These post-war reels were basically identical to the “Allkast” model at the top of the page, but without the engraved side plates. They would have been sold through any number of retailers. The original box is shown below and, like the Allkast box, is one of the few to be marked with the Bronson name.
“Sure Stop” by Bronson
These were earlier pre-war models that Bronson supplied to Montgomery Ward & Co. There were two varieties of the “Sure Stop”, both with the “41” code date stamped under the foot (meaning built in 1941). They were basically identical, with the only difference being that one was marked “Sure Stop” and the other marked “Wards Sure Stop”. The first can be seen with the original box (first photo), which carries Wards’ own (#60-6681) store stock number. These were jeweled models that had the anti-backlash bar at the level-wind and spool adjustment on the face plate. Wards reel pics courtesy of Daryl Rodenbeger. Recently, an earlier example from 1939 was discovered. Basically the same reel, but with the “39” date code stamped under the foot. It’s shown in the last three photos with the early maroon box.
“Thunder Hawk” by Bronson
These were fairly high-grade, fully engraved pre-war reels that could have been sold by any number of retailers. The “Thunder Hawk” had the fluted hexagonal jeweled oil caps, pillared foot and had the A-B-L control on the face plate. Likely late 1930’s up until WWII. At least one example has been found with the “40” (1940) date code under the foot. A tough find for collectors.
“Tioga” No.4200 by Bronson
Another trade reel by Bronson that was sold through any number of retailers. We have only seen the original box, which describes it only as a nickel-plated 100-yard level-wind and carries the Bronson patent number. The box can be seen below, courtesy of Dr. Todd Larson.
“Titan” by Bronson
Probably one of the nicest-looking economy trade models ever produced by Bronson. These would have been supplied to any number of wholesalers or retailers across the country. probably just before or just after the war. These had a very ornate engraved “fishing scene” on each side plate, a stamped foot and rather unique fixed jeweled end caps. The last photo shows another “Titan” with removeable jeweled end caps and likely a little later version? Both are a hard find.
“Tomboy” No.243 by Bronson
Another trade reel supplied to Gamble’s Auto Supply, only marked “Tom Boy”. These were economy level-winding models, with the stamped foot, fixed end caps and hard rubber crank handles. These were cheaply made, thinly chromed and are a tough find in un-rusted condition. The original picture box, shown below, is an even tougher find in any condition and is marked No.243.
“Top Flight” by Bronson
Another reel supplied by Bronson for Horrocks-Ibottson Co. of Utica, NY. There were two versions of the “Top Flight”, one built just before and one and just after WWII. The pre-war version was likely made only in 1941 (it doesn’t show up in our 1940 H-I catalog) and comes with the blue and gray marbled scalloped head plate spacer, removable oil cap on the face, the refined Lashless-style spool tension knob and the 3 screw head plate. The last three photos show the all-metal post-war model. This variety has the two screw head plate with a fixed end cap, a riveted frame and the small level wind end cap on the tail plate. The 1953 H-I catalog refers to this variety of the Top Flight as the No.1220.
“Tournament Wellworth” – See “Star Reel Co.” by Bronson
“True-Form No.V486” and “Tru-Form” by Bronson
These were sold by Western Auto Stores and are known to have been spelled two different ways, “True-Form” and “Tru-Form”. The scarce original box (shown below) shows “True-Form” on the label. We have just acquired an example that has “Tru-Form” stamped on the face plate, which is also shown below. The reel is high-grade, with jeweled oil caps, the spool adjustment on the face and the A-B-L bar at the level-wind. The foot is known to be stamped with both the “38” and “40” date codes, so it was built in 1938 and 1940. Tough reel to find boxed. Reel photos courtesy of Mark Williams.
“True Temper Cascade No.135” by Bronson
This was a middle range level-winding reel offered in late 1960’s True Temper catalogs, after the company’s purchase of Bronson. Built with a pillared foot and equipped with the Lashless-style A-B-L switch on the tail plate. These can be a tough find for the collector.
“True Temper Lagoon No.130” by Bronson
These level-winding models were supplied to True Temper by Bronson in the early 1960’s, before True Temper’s acquisition of Bronson in 1967. They were very similar in design to Bronson’s “Fleetwing” model, except with Anodized side plates. The Lashless-style anti-backlash control is on the tail plate. We’ve only seen a couple of these over the years.
“True Temper Lakeland No.125” by Bronson
A much earlier post-war model, the Lakeland was produced exclusively for sale through True Temper, prior to that company’s purchase of Ocean City Mfg. in 1954. An economy level-wind, it came equipped with the cheaper stamped foot, stationary oil caps and the Lashless-style A-B-L switch. A nice example is shown below, with the very scarce original box and instructions.
“Uncle Tom” by Bronson
The “Uncle Tom” models were supplied to and sold by W. Bingham Co. of Cleveland, Ohio. These were economy level-wind models. A photo of a late 1930’s Bingham catalog listing for this reel is forthcoming.
“United States Reels” by Bronson, (Penn, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana), Plus a “Link” To Several More Examples
The “United States” series of reels were produced by Bronson during the 1930’s and sold by the VIM Co. of Chicago. We show four examples here: the Indiana, the Illinois, the Penn and the Ohio. All are similar to Bronson economy models like the “Biltwell” or “Arrow”. All are marked except the Ohio, which is shown with the original box. The reels with names of the states are courtesy of Jonathan P. Kring. The Penn box was donated by Rick Heitman. The Ohio box and reel was donated by Don Van Beusekom.
Here is a link to view several more examples of these “United States” reels by Bronson, with pictures of the reels, their original boxes and more. It’s in Dr. Todd Larson’s website, “Fishing for History”, a very amazing site on old reels and tackle. Click on:
“Unmarked” by Bronson
We have found several unmarked Bronsons, which could be salesman’s samples, prototypes or just unmarked trade reels sold through any number of wholesalers or retailers. Some of the nicer examples are shown below. The reel in the first three photos is a low profile tear drop-shaped model similar to the “All-Star” No.4700. It has a bronze colored head plate, engraved crank handle and what Bronson called a silverlite chrome in black finish on the tail plate. A very striking reel that could possibly be a prototype.
The second tear drop reel has the Silverlite chrome in black finish, with engraved crank handle, A-B-L switch on the face, the Duo-Click and hexagon jeweled end caps. Very similar to Bronson’s “Black Master” model.
Last is a jeweled level-wind reel stamped with what Bronson called a pleasing geometric design, exactly the same design as the first Bronson Mercury No.2550, but with a crank handle to match. All of these mid-late1930’s reels should be considered scarce.
“Unmarked” by Bronson
This unmarked post-war reel came from the estate of a Mrs. Kosmerick of Bronson, Mich., who worked at Bronson for years. Could be a “lunch box special” or salesman’s sample. Photos are courtesy of Ron Kurtz Jr.
“Unmarked” by Bronson
This unmarked trade reel or prototype is identical to the 1941 No.3720 “Silver Princess”, with the scalloped spacer, seen only in the 1941 catalog. Carries the “40” date code under the foot, so it could have been built in 1940. Photos courtesy of Scott Truex.
“Valiant” by Bronson
Yet another trade reel supplied by Bronson to Edward K. Tryon Co. of Philadelphia, from the mid to late 1920’s. The “Valiant” was a “take-apart” model virtually identical to the Bronson No.700 “Peerless”. This was apparently part of the “Kingfisher” line of reels. Tryon owned the trademarked Kingfisher brand name of tackle. The very rare original box is shown below, as well as a 1925 Tryon catalog listing. Pictures and ads are courtesy of Jim Garrett and Skip Brooks.
“Victor” by Bronson (Trade Version)
The No.378 was the Trade version of the “Victor” that would have been supplied to any number of retailers during the late 1930’s up until the war. These were economy models, but had the nicely engraved “wave” design on the side plates that one sees on the Bronson “Commander”. An unusual feature is the jeweled oil caps, which were strictly cosmetic and served no purpose (see 5th photo). To lube the reel you had to take it completely apart. The scarce original box is shown in the last photo. These models can be a tough find for collectors, especially boxed.
Bronson also made a newer version of the Victor after WWII, which became a regular part of their lineup. It can be seen by using the “Bronson Production Reels” link at the top-right of any page.
Von Lengerke & Antoine (V.L.& A.) RARE PROTOTYPE by Bronson
To us, this is our “Holy Grail” of the Bronson-made reels and arguably the finest-looking example ever produced by the company. This reel is a one-of-a-kind prototype made for Von Lengerke & Antoine (V.L.& A.) of 335 Wabash Ave., Chicago, a very high-end sporting good store. V.L.& A. was started in 1891 and would eventually be bought out by Abercrombie & Fitch in 1938. The reel is made of nickel silver throughout, with grooved black and ivory head & tail plate spacers. It has beautifully mottled Bakelite handle grips. Reel has three-coin knurling around the jeweled end cap, the ABL knob on the face plate, the crank shaft collar and crank handle nut. The tail plate has a matching jeweled end cap as on the head plate and two rows of knurling on the clicker button. The level wind line carriage is nickel silver, as is the level-wind cover. The spool is aluminum. The foot is stamped with the “37” code date (for 1937).
The box label and accompanying hang tag state the reel is a “sample” for V.L.& A., produced in 1937-1938 and that it was “Not Taken”. We can only venture a guess as to the reason(s) it was turned down, but the cost of such a high-end reel, especially during the Depression, was probably prohibitive. The sample box, as well as the stamped leather case, are shown below. Reel is courtesy of Joe Klaus.
“Wards Kaster” by Bronson
Recently discovered and one of the earliest model reels Bronson made for Montgomery Ward & Co. Basically the same as the standard “Biltwell” from the early 1930’s.
“Wards Precision” and “Wards Precision” Model 10 by Bronson
The “Wards Precision” models were some of the earliest trade reels that Bronson supplied to Montgomery Ward & Co. They could be found in three versions. The reel shown in the first five photos was the earliest “Precision” model, introduced in 1937. This reel is stamped on the side plates and crank handle with what we call the Art Deco “diamond” design and was a high-grade model. This level-wind has the jeweled oil caps and A-B-L switch on the face. It’s shown with the scarce original box, which carries Wards’ own (#60-6727) store stock number.
The next reel is a later Wards Precision, identical to the model above, but with the same stamped design as the first Bronson Mercury No.2550. Bronson called it a “pleasing geometric design”. These were likely produced around 1941. The box would have carried the same store stock number.
The last reel is a Wards Precision Model 10, with an engraved “fishing scene” and with a foot date stamped “38”, meaning it was built in 1938. The Model “10” and “10B” reels were continued after WWII as the “Sport King” models. Last reel pictures courtesy of Chuck Castle.
“Wards Precision” Model 20 by Bronson
This was the other “Precision” model supplied to Montgomery Ward & Co., sometime just before WWII. This was a high-grade version offered in the satin finish (but with chromed head plate rim), with engraved side plates and crank handle. This jeweled level-wind has the A-B-L switch on the face plate. The original box carries Wards’ own (#60-6731) store stock number. These Model 20 versions can be a very tough find.
“Wards Single Action” by Bronson
This small single action casting reel was the same as the No.4400 “Arrow Jr.” from Bronson’s regular line-up. Shown below with the scarce original box. These can be a very tough find boxed. The No.60-6721 refers to the Montgomery Ward store and catalog stock number.
“Wards Skipper” by Bronson (Earlier Engraved Version)
The “Wards Skipper” is another pre-war model supplied to Montgomery Ward & Co. The reel has what we call the Art Deco “diamond” design stamped on the side plates, along with jeweled oil caps and the early-style crank handle. The foot is stamped with the “37” code date, so we know this example was built in 1937. These are hard to find, in any condition.
“Wards Skipper” by Bronson (Later Plain Version)
A later, plain version of the “Wards Skipper” has recently been discovered. We believe these were produced by Bronson for Montgomery Ward a few years later than the engraved version seen above. These were more of an economy level-wind, without the engraved side plates or jeweled oil caps. A nice example is seen below, along with the scarce original box. The box also carries the (#60-6726) store stock number.
“Wards Sure Stop” by Bronson (See “Sure Stop”)
“Wearwell” by Bronson
The “Wearwell” was another trade reel sold by Edward K. Tryon Co. of Philadelphia. These were produced in the mid to late 1920’s and were very similar to the Bronson “Modern”, but with a pillared foot. We have only seen a catalog listing for one, shown below, These should be considered very scarce.
“Western Warrior” No.V493 by Bronson
These were yet another reel supplied by Bronson to be sold through Western Auto Supply. They had the engraved “fishing scene” on each side plate, jeweled oil caps and the A-B-L switch on the face plate. The foot is stamped with the “39” code date, being built in 1939. These can be a tough find. A nice example, with the original box, is shown at the bottom.
“Wilsonian” by Bronson
One of Bronson’s earlier trade reels built exclusively for Thos. E Wilson Co. (the forerunner to today’s Wilson’s Sporting Goods) of Chicago, sometime in the mid to late 1920’s. This take-apart reel was virtually the same as Bronson’s early “Peerless” model. These should be considered quite scarce.