2009 Convention

2009 Convention

A great ORCA show in Dania Beach, Florida for 2009

     Some 50 ORCA members, along with family members, took part in the 2009 Old Reel Collectors Association annual convention in Dania Beach, Fla., in early June, mixing a lot of room trading and socializing with fishing, seminars and a tour of the IGFA Museum and Hall of Fame.

     Show host Ed Pritchard rolled out the red carpet with the event, with ORCA members bunking in the Mariott, just a short walk across the parking lot from the striking IGFA Museum.

     A number of ORCA members rigged up classic deep-sea fishing gear for a trip offshore on Thursday of convention week. Several fish were landed, with Ed Pritchard hauling in the largest fish, a big yellowtail, using an Edward vom Hofe reel.

     Friday began with the annual “Breakfast with the Board.” A number of board members missed the convention because of personal or work commitments, but President Jim Schottenham, Secretary-treasurer Roger Schulz and Reel News editor Richard Lodge took questions from members and talked about the year.

     After breakfast, the antique tackle casting competitors gathered on a lush strip of grass outside the hotel and competed in non-level wind, level-wind and spinning reel accuracy contests. Dan Basore won the level-wind and spinning categories, Jay Herbert captured top honors in non-level wind casting and Dan took the overall casting championship honors. Dan’s name will be engraved on a plaque, which the winner keeps for a year before passing it on to the next year’s winner.

     John Yancey edged out numerous hurlers to win the ugly reel throwing event, a “competition” with no rules and little glory. If Bill Land, who hosted last year’s convention in Colorado Springs, can be convinced to give up the unique trophy Phil White constructed for the ugly reel toss winner, John will have the honor of displaying that trophy for the next year.

     In a more serious side of the convention, Craig Barber and Jim Schottenham each held seminars to enlighten collectors about the history and ways of identifying antique reels.

     Craig focused on detailing the history and ways to tell the difference between reels made by Enterprise Manufacturing and E.A. Pflueger, one of the Pflueger brothers who went into business on his own in the first decade of the 20th century.  Craig displayed dozens of Pflueger reels made by both companies and pointed out ways collectors can differentiate reels made by each company.

     Jim presented a seminar on William Billinghurst, who held the first patent on an American fly reel. Jim is an avid collector of sidemount reels — particularly Billinghursts — and his excellent Billinghurst reel display captured the top prize in the display competition during the show on Saturday, held at the IGFA.

     Friday afternoon’s highlight was a tour of the International Game Fish Association Museum and Hall of Fame. The museum covers the earliest history of fishing to the present, through multi-media exhibits and displays of all types of fishing artifacts, and brings the sport up to the present. The Hall of Fame highlights the dozens of important figures in angling’s history, from Dame Juliana to Lefty Kreh, all featured in a vast World Record Gallery, shown in photos in this issue of The Reel News. The tour also included rooms with displays highlighting spinning reels, to the present day; fly reels; saltwater reels and rods of all types. As a Florida gulley washer rained down on Fort Lauderdale outside, ORCA members finished the tour in the extensive IGFA library.

     The day was capped with the annual banquet, held in the Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant, located between the museum and the Bass Pro Shop store.

     Saturday started early, with set-up for the daylong reel show and sale inside the IGFA building. The convention had received quite a bit of publicity beforehand, so dozens of members of the public walked the aisles, browsing among the reels, rods and collectibles on display and for sale, and many lots of reels, lures, rods and sundry items came in the door for auction.

— Richard Lodge


Billinghurst, Pflueger focus of ORCA seminars

     You have to give William Billinghurst credit for quite a few things, not the least of which was that he was proud of his work and pretty much signed everything he made.

     That was one of the details brought out in the seminar about Billinghurst reels by Jim Schottenham during the annual convention in Florida the first week of June.

     Billinghurst was born in 1807 and at age 18 started an apprenticeship under a gunsmith in Rochester, N.Y., Jim told a group of reel collectors who attended the seminar in a conference room of the International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum.

     According to Jim, around 1830, Billinghurst worked as an apprentice for James and John Millar. “Billinghurst, it was reported, was their star pupil.”

     In 1841, Billinghurst bought the business from the two men and produced target rifles. In 1862 he co-patented the first machine gun, although it didn’t catch on because of the bulk and complicated design. But it was the Aug. 9, 1859 patent William Billinghurst received for the first patented American fly reel that is of greatest note to collectors.

     Whether it was his target rifles or sidemount reels, William Billinghurst was a maker who signed his work.

     “He was very proud of his work and marked everything,” Jim said.

     Jim pointed out that the first patent, or registration, for a sidemount reel was granted to Fred Skinner in 1848 in England for the Archimedean reel.

     For American anglers, Billinghurst’s birdcage-style reel was very innovative. The design of the reel allowed fishing line to dry, the relatively large size of the spool arbor allowed the angler to take up a lot of line with each turn and, in some models, the crank handled folded flat, so the angler could easily pocket or stow the reel.

     Jim said Billinghurst’s first reels were all made with fixed handles. The earliest reel is marked with two straight lines of type, not the more commonly seen circular stamping of the Billinghurst name and patent date(s).

     From the research done so far, Jim said it appears Billinghurst made four reel sizes: trout, bass, muskie “and a 7-inch diameter monster” birdcase reel.

     Information on Jim’s sidemount reel Web site, http://www.sidemountreels.com/, credits Jim Wheeler’s Reel News  article (July 2004, volume XIV, number 4) with information about Billinghurst’s estate. That estate included 56 small reels, 18 medium, 10 large and 2 extra large reels – and only one is known to collectors.

     Most Billlinghurst reels are made of brass, with some produced in German silver and rare few in coin silver, Jim Schottenham said in his seminar.

     William Billinghurst died in 1880, but he spawned numerous imitators and left a legacy of fine workmanship in his intricate little fishing reels.

     In his seminar, Craig Barber talked about ways to identify reels made by E.A. Pflueger, who was in operation from 1906-15, before going back into business with three other Pflueger brothers.

     Craig said that when E.A. went off on his own, Enterprise Manufacturing became “fragmented.” In earlier years, Enterprise had produced more than three dozen types of reels, including some marked “Empire,” which was an Abbey & Imbrie trademark.

     E.A. Pflueger “purposely did not want to infringe on anything his brothers were doing at Enterprise Manufacturing,” so he developed a unique spool flange and other features to differentiate his reels from those of his brothers’ firm. Many E.A. Pflueger reels are unmarked, Craig said.

     The concern over design and patent infringements came to a head when Enterprise filed a trademark for the Pflueger name, which E.A. Pflueger appearled. Around 1912, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled E.A. Pflueger could use his own name to market his reels, which vindicated him.

     Craig said Enterprise Manufacturing suffered losses from fires in 1911 and 1913.

     “E.A. Pflueger might have felt sorry for his brothers” after the fires, and that might have brought the four back in business together. At that time they established trademarks for Four Brothers reels and the Pflueger bulldog logo.

     From that point on, Enterprise Manufacturing produced reels, including 53 named varieties in different sizes. “They did it all for years,” Craig said. “They did everything. It probably has to do with the leadership E.A. Pflueger brought to the company.”

     Craig offered tips on how to identify a reel made by the E.A. Pflueger company: tapered handles; foot pillars which are widely spaced, compared to a similar reel by Enterprise Manufacturing; two rivets on the backplate, vs. three rivets on most Enterprise Manufacturing reels; and E.A. Pflueger reels have a very shallow, riveted foot.

— Richard Lodge





Dania Beach, Florida

June 5, 6 & 7 2009



Show Location & Information

The International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame & Museum is a 60,000 square foot facility dedicated to fishing’s past, present and future. The show will be held inside the museum which will give everyone a chance to wander around and enjoy the old tackle gallery as well as the many interactive exhibits and the world’s most complete fishing library. The museum will be open to the public on Saturday, the day of the show. The IGFA will be advertising our show and encouraging people to bring in their tackle for appraisals and for sale. You must be a member of ORCA to attend the show and participate in the auction. The IGFA is located 2 miles from the Ft. Lauderdale airport so if you live far away there is no excuse not to come.

Check out the IGFA museum on their web at: IGFA Museum

Tables & Registration

Registration is $10.00 per member and this will include admission to the IGFA museum for all three days. Tables for non exhibit items will cost $20.00 each. Tables that are to be used for exhibiting reel displays will be free.


Courtyard Marriott. This motel is on the Museum property and only an ugly reels throw from the museum where the show will be taking place. The motel is new and very nice. The special ORCA room rate is $89.00 per night. This reduced room rate is available all week. To receive this rate, reservations must be made by May 1, 2009. Don’t forget to mention ORCA when making your reservations. Marriot phone number: 954-342-8333.

About The Show

We will be setting up and displaying in the IGFA museum all day Saturday and ORCA as a club has committed to remain set up there for the entire day. Please plan to keep your booth or your display intact through the end of the day on Saturday. Another thought – this show is being held in a museum and it would be nice if members would bring a display of old tackle to show along with your items for sale and trade. Just a thought! Thanks…..Ed