Meisselbach-Catucci Reels Produced Under Bronson Reel Co. Ownership
This page lists all the casting and fly reels from the former Meisselbach-Catucci Mfg. Co. that were sold by Bronson from 1932 to 1940. In 1931, the Bronson Reel Co. bought out Meisselbach-Catucci, a company that had been making quality reels since 1910. Bronson continued to make these reels with little, if any design, model number or name changes, although they did give some of them different names in the Bronson catalogs. Some of the Symploreel fly reels were stamped “Mfd. by Bronson Reel Co. Since June 1931” under the foot. Other than that, all the reels continued to be produced using the same old markings used by Meisselbach-Catucci. Bronson would only sell the casting reels through 1935 and some of the fly reels for five years after that. Author Phil White has a couple of great books on these companies (a lot of information was taken from his book “Meisselbach and Meisselbach-Catucci Fishing Reels”, 1995).
THE CASTING REELS (In Order By Model Number)
“Quad” No.250 by Bronson
Formerly the “SYMPLOREEL No.250” non level-wind take-apart. Renamed the “Quad” by Bronson, it would sell through 1935. This can be a tough reel to find. The photos below show the original catalog listing from 1932 and one from 1934. Also shown below is an early example.
“Quad” No.251 by Bronson
Formerly the “SYMPLOREEL No.251”. Same as the No.250 above, but with counterbalanced handle and single grip. These were only available in 1932 and should be considered scarce. An elusive example is shown below.
“Newark” No.252 by Bronson
Formerly the “SYMPLOREEL No.252”. Same as the No.250 above, but with the level-winding mechanism. Photos below are of the 1932 & 1934 catalog listings and a very nice example. These would also sell through 1935.
“Newark” No.252 – UNIQUE Aluminum Version
On page 143 of Phil White’s “Meisselbach and Meisselbach-Catucci Fishing Reels”, he mentions the existence of an aluminum version of the No.252 that was built at the Bronson factory. Possibly a prototype. Only ONE is known to exist.
“Free Spool Quad” No.254 by Bronson
Formerly the “SYMPLOREEL No.254”. This was the free spool version of the standard No.250 above. This also had the single grip counterbalanced handle.These are considered quite rare. The No.254 would also sell through 1935. The catalog photo is from 1933.
“TOURNAMENT Quad” No.254 by Bronson
The extremely RARE “Tournament” version of the No.254 was first introduced in Bronson’s 1934 catalog. These were also a free spool model, but came equipped with a special lightweight spool and large cork arbor. It also had the crank handle and knobs found on some of Bronson’s regular models. These were only available for the two years and we have never seen one. A photo of the 1934 catalog listing is shown below.
“Non Back-Lash Quad” No.255 by Bronson
Formerly the “SYMPLOREEL No.255”. Again, the same tube frame take-apart model as the No.250, but with the anti-back-lash bar similar to those found on the early South Bend A-B-L reels. These should be considered scarce, as they were only offered in 1932 and 1933 catalogs, shown below. The last photo is of the leather bags supplied with many of the Symploreel models.
“Non Back-Lash Free Spool Quad” No.256 by Bronson
Formerly the “SYMPLOREEL No.256”. Author Phil White considers this to be the most difficult Symploreel model to find. It’s basically the same as the No.255 above, but with the addition of a free spool function. These were only available from Bronson in 1932 and 1933 and they are quite rare. A photo of the 1932 catalog listing can be seen below, along with a rather nice example.
“Newark Anti-Back-Lash” No.257 by Bronson
Formerly the “SYMPLOREEL No.257”. It was the highest-grade Symploreel offered by Bronson. This level-winding, anti-back-lash model was equipped with almost everything, except the free spool. These would sell through 1935. Ad below is from a 1932 Bronson catalog.
“Winner” No.550 (possibly by Bronson?)
Formerly the “SYMPLOREEL No.550 WINNER”. This is among the rarest of the Symploreels and also the biggest mystery. Never cataloged by either Meisselbach-Catucci or Bronson, they are believed to have been briefly produced in either 1931 or 1932. The crank nut is definitely a Bronson component, which suggests it was made at the Bronson factory. They are also believed to be the forerunner, and identical, to the No.5505 “Victor” seen at the bottom of this page. It was similar to the No.752 “Levelite”, but with a riveted tail plate and one-piece stamped foot. There are marked “Winner” reels to be found and one can be seen below, along with a photo of the extremely rare box..
“Blackstone” No.552 by Bronson
Formerly the “SYMPLOREEL No.552 BLACKSTONE”. These were precision level-wind models, with what were described as having ebony “Catucite” (early plastic) side plates. The level-wind tracked between two upper parallel pillars. Nice looking reel. These were only sold by Bronson from 1932 to 1933. The last three photos are of the catalog listings for those two years.
“Castwell Anti-Back-Lash” No.750 Reel by Bronson
Formerly the “SYMPLOREEL No.750 CASTWELL”. These were the same as the No.552 above, but with the addition of the anti- back-lash bar. They would sell from 1932 through 1935. The photos below show the original catalog listings from 1932 and 1935. These are quite scarce.
“Levelite” No.752 by Bronson
Formerly the “SYMPLOREEL No.752 LEVELITE”. This model was the same as the No.552 “Blackstone”, except the tail plate was nickel plated brass. The head plate remained the black “Catucite”. These were only offered by Bronson in 1932 and 1933, so there are considered rather scarce. The last two photos are from Bronson’s 1932 catalog. Reel photos are courtesy of Arne Soland.
“Superlite” No.1001 by Bronson
Formerly the “SYMPLOREEL No.1000 SUPERLITE”. These level-winding models were also very similar to the “Blackstone” models, but made of aluminum. These can only be found in Bronson’s 1932 catalog, shown below, and should be considered scarce.
“Victor” No.5505 by Bronson
As explained above, these are believed to be identical to the No.550 “Winner”, just a little later version and obviously marked different. Like the “Winner”, it had the riveted tail plate and one-piece stamped foot. These were produced by Bronson from 1932 until 1935. The catalog listings from both those years can be seen below. This reel is also scarce.
THE FLY REELS (In Order By Model Number)
There were 5 sizes of the “Symploreel” fly reels that Bronson sold over the years. Each was available in plain or with an agate line guide, making 10 different varieties. The models with the agate guides have the “A” next to the model number. Unlike the casting reels, Bronson made no effort to give the fly reels different names in their catalogs.
“Symploreel” No.370 by Bronson
This was the most popular seller, the 3″ “Trout” size. It would sell from its introduction in Bronson’s 1932 catalog until its last appearance in the 1940 catalog. The original catalog listings shown below, in order of appearance, are the 1935, 1932 and 1934. A nice example of the No.370 is also shown, along with the scarce original box. Notice that this reel has the “Bronson” stamping under the foot.
“Symploreel” No.370A by Bronson
Same as the No.370 above, but with agate guide. Made from 1933 to 1935. These are scarce. A nice example can be seen below.
“Symploreel” No.372 by Bronson
This was the 3-3/8″ “Bass” size. It would sell from 1932 until 1939. A nice example is shown below, courtesy of author and sportsman A.J. Campbell.
“Symploreel” No.372A by Bronson
An example is shown below. These should be considered scarce.
“Symploreel” No.374 by Bronson
This was a 3-3/8″ reel with a wider spool and considered the 80 yd. “The Salmon” size. It would sell from 1932 until 1935. Click on photos to see the full image.
“Symploreel” No.374A by Bronson
Same as the No.374 above, but with the agate line guide. These are only listed in the 1933-1935 catalogs. Scarce.
“Symploreel” No.376 by Bronson
These were larger 3-3/4″ reels and were listed as the 100 yd. “The Salmon” size. They would sell from 1932 until 1935. A beautiful example, with its rare original box, can be seen below.
“Symploreel” No.376A by Bronson
Same as the No.376 above, but with the agate line guide. These were offered by Bronson from 1932 to 1935. Scarce. Below is a nice version of these scarce reels. Also shown below is the rare box. It is lightly overprinted “Bronson Reel Co.” near the top. Hand-marked for an “agate” version.
“Symploreel” No.378 by Bronson
The largest “Symploreel” produced by Bronson, this 3-3/4″ wide-spool 150 yd. “The Salmon” size was introduced in 1934. It, along with the two other salmon sizes, were last seen in the 1935 catalog. These should be considered somewhat scarce.
“Symploreel” No.378A by Bronson
Same as above, but with the agate line guide. Sold from 1934 to 1935. These are quite scarce.