Fishing Reel Research Home Page

Fishing Reel Research Home Page




This Fishing Reel Research site is managed by ORCA, (the Old Reel Collectors Association, Inc.), a non-profit organization dedicated to the history and preservation of vintage fishing reels and related tackle. This site is maintained by ORCA member volunteers who research and post relevant information. We also rely upon donations. ORCA’s Fishing Reel Research site is dedicated to the late Robert Paul Ellis, who developed many sites for the purpose of documenting and preserving the history of old fishing reels. This web site was originally created by author Phil White and was donated to ORCA. Phil White has spent his lifetime collecting and gathering vintage fishing tackle and information.  We thank him immensely for that and for his contribution to the art.  

ORCA is dedicated to gathering information for fishing reel collectors. Our aim is to accumulate this data in one place so it can be easily accessed by interested collectors and the general public. If you have new information to add, please contact our Webmaster.


GLOSSARY   Here is where to begin your understanding of fishing reel types,  functions,  or terminology.  The link window is above.

REEL MAKERS  This section includes a short history of most fishing reel manufacturers in the U.S., lists organized by U.S. state, plus lists of makers in Canada and Italy. 

REEL DISTRIBUTORS   This page documents the many reel distributors who sold reels made by other companies. Some used several makers with a myriad of reel names. The companies may range in size from larger ones like South Bend Bait Company to smaller ones like certain corner hardware stores. It will be impossible to list them all, but companies will be added as they are discovered.

REEL PATENT MENU   Lists of selected early reel patents are shown with links to the patent documents.
TRADEMARKS  This section includes a comprehensive list of all of the trademarks registered 1870 to 1960 with USPTO for use on fishing reels.  The list can be viewed by owner name, trademark description and trademark symbols/word marks. Trademark registration numbers are provided for every trademark. 

REEL BOOKS  This page is an attempt to list any book written about reels. Not listed here, but equally important to researchers, are catalogs, advertisements, box enclosures, patents, and magazine articles.  ORCA has back issues of the Reel News available, and the Harvey Garrison Library has a collection of books, catalogs, and box papers. Patent information can be found above. 


  Join ORCA  (Old Reel Collectors Association)  Here is a site that has it all.  Buy,  sell,  or trade vintage fishing reels and fishing tackle.  Find parts and information on vintage reels.  Learn from the worlds best collectors,  hear about Vintage Fishing Tackle Shows and talk to other members about whatever your vintage fishing tackle needs are.  A truly incredible site. To join click the above or proceed to the ORCA Home Page.

The NFLCC (National Fishing Lure Collectors Club) another great club that caters mostly to vintage fishing lures and tackle. Click here for the NFLCC website

Editor: OPEN
Contributors: OPEN
Webmaster: Matt Wickham
Prior FRR Editors–  Rick Heitman, Jim Madden, Al Stover, Paul Manuel, Jim Schottenham.