Reel Distributors

Reel Distributors

Jack Manda pic

Above is a picture of Jack Manda (with the pith helmet).  He was a True Temper dealer in the 1970s who sold so many TT rods and reels that they sent him around with a cameraman to several areas to catch fish with the Unispins. This picture was taken down in Costa Rica, Central America. It shows him with a giant tarpon caught with a TT Unispin No.66.  He was a great fisherman!  Also the reel shown above is a Wards Precision which was Bronson made circa 1937. It is the only one we have ever seen!

This page lists distributors of fishing reels (retailers, retail chains, wholesalers, etc) as opposed to companies that designed or manufactured fishing reels



ABBEY & IMBRIE,  (New York) A City tackle retailer and wholesaler formed in 1875 by the buyout of Andrew Clerk & Co. by L. H. Abbey and Charles F. Imbrie. They were originally located in the Clerk shop at 48 Maiden Lane. A&I soon moved to 18 Vese Street, where the shop remained for many years. Abbey & Imbrie retailed many Julius vom Hofe reels which were usually marked Abbey & Imbrie, N.Y.. They also contracted for reels from many manufacturers over the years. Many of their earliest reels were manufactured by Conroy and Crook. In 1930 A&I was sold to Horrocks-Ibbotson of Utica, N.Y.

Air Light Products Company (Omaha) Distributor?

Amsco Sales, Inc. (South Bend, IN)

Appleton & Litchfield,  (MA.)

Appelton & Bassett,  (Boston, Massachusettes)  A retail firm from the early 1880’s, until 1901.  Their name is stamped on reels usually manufactured by Julius vom Hofe.

Abercrombie & Fitch,  (New York City) Famous retailer of high quality sporting goods. Formed shortly after 1900 by David T. Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch it lasted until the 1970s. Originally located on Reade Street, the store moved to the corner of Madison Avenue and 45th Street, where it remained. Abercrombie & Fitch retailed some tackle under its own name, but they also sold the finest of the era – Vom Hofe, Hardy, Talbot, Meek, Redifor, Meisselbach and Carlton reels graced their showcases and catalogs.  A&F also bought out VL&A in 1938.  Pictured below is a Abercrombie & Fitch marked Talbot Ben Hur Fly Reel.  – Picture is courtesy of Lang’s Auction –

Abercrombie reel

Allcock, Laight & Westwood Co.  Toronto, Ontario  1885-1999

American Swiss Magneto Co. (Toledo, Ohio) c.1920-1950 . For the American Swiss Fernwood Reel,  Swiss Magneto Co. and Elkhart Manufacturing Co. consolidated to form :American Swiss Magneto Co. 6182 Fernwood Drive Toledo, OH. This information was in a Jan. 1920 advertisement. They took over Macultivator Co. in 1925-30 and continued to offer parts through the 1950s.  Since their main products were magnetos and farm equipment I seriously doubt they made fishing reels. I’m surprised they even sold them. The reel they sold was stamped American Swiss Fernwood. Their reels look somewhat Montague made, but not completely Montague.  (Also found info that Horrocks & Ibottson bought American Swiss Magneto Co. in 1926.) Research compiled by Don Champion.

Appleton & Bisset,  (Boston) A Massachusetts retail firm from early 1880s until 1901. Their name is stamped on reels usually manufactured by Julius vom Hofe.

Appleton & Litchfield,  (MA.)

Armitage Co.

Austin Bros., Inc (1920’s)


Babcock, Hinds & Underwood, Inc (1930’s)

Barton, Alexander, & Waller

Bean, L.L.  (Freeport, Maine) A high end sporting goods company still in business.  The company L.L.Bean was founded in 1912 by its namesake, avid hunter and fisherman Leon Leonwood Bean in Greenwood, Maine.

Belknap Hardware

Bickford and Carrier, Inc (Greenfield, MA.)

Bingham, W. Co (Cleveland) – This wholesale hardware store (circa 1917) was largely known for its Shur-Strike lure offerings, an economy line of the Creek Chub Bait Company. The also-rans are the marked trade reels. Founded in 1841, the company was one of the oldest in the entire hardware business.  Apart from his growing success in wholesale hardware, Mr. Bingham became a favorite son of his native Cleveland. He was elected state senator and was appointed to the Indian Commission board by President Grant.  After his death in 1904, his son Charles carried on with both the community service and growing business. 1915 was the date when wholesale fishing tackle became a force for the company. Although similar to other wholesalers of the era, there were notable trade reel that separated Bingham  from others, and examples still show up now and then. The “Pikie” and “Muskie” reels of the 1930’s to about the 1950’s are two of those.  “W. Bingham Co, Cleveland” is usually stamped on the side plate. The number 2525 has been associated with the Pikie model. The reels were made by Bronson. Another Bronson reel was actually named “Uncle Tom” and did not include the company name on the plate. There are references showing that other companies made some of their reels for Bingham as well, but it will take some reel finds in marked boxes to be sure. There could be a “BBB” marking on reels yet to be found since the “Bingham Best Brand” was used on several other fishing items. “Excelsior” may be another, (XLCR with an arrow through it). It’s exciting to wonder if there are important reel finds yet to be made.
For more in depth coverage of the company, see DR Todd Larson’s September, 2005, back issue article in ORCA’s Reel News.

Bostwick-Braun & Co.     Toledo, Ohio        1899-1980

Bourne & Bond (Louisville)

B&M was a California retailer/distributor who sold Klein reels that were marked B&M. They did not make any reels.

Booth Export & Import Co. Ltd, (Beverly Hills, California)

BRADFORD & ANTHONY, Boston, Massachusetts.  Samuel Bradford was a Boston hardware & sporting goods retailer and wholesaler established in the 1800s.  Martin Bradford started handling fishing tackle in the middle of the 1800s  after taking over the company reins from his father.  In 1867 Bradford took on Nathan Anthony as a partner to form the company whose reels we sometimes encounter.  Bradford & Anthony retailed many New York style reels and brass fly reels produced by Brooklyn reelmakers. B&A was sold to Dame, Stoddard & Kendall in 1883.


BU-REM (Cincinnati) “The Bumiller-Remelin Co. was founded in 1908. In 1909 the Bumiller-Remelin Co. at 432 main was selling Indian, Thor, and NSU motorcycles. At some point they also sold auto, boating, and aeroplane supplies. The automobile supply and accessory department was apparently run by Bumiller, and the sporting goods department was run by Remelin. They had some sort of corporate disagreement and they went to court.”  There’s a slight mention of a Bu-Rem reel in a Forest and Stream magazine from 1914, so the brand is at least that old. If there’s not a Bu-Rem/Bu-Co reel connection here, it sure would be a coincidence. Possibly, the Montague-made reels could’ve been motorcycle company promotional items or a sporting line from the Bumiller-Remelin Company, and later the Herman Bumiller Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bumiller company was an Indian Motorcycle distributor, and manufacturer of Bu-Co and Bu-Rem tandems and other specialties, along with selling an extensive line of sporting goods. If you enlarge the ad, it looks like rods and reels are in the glass case directly across from the motorcycle. The possible reel distributor needs more research. For more information see : … &q&f=false


Chicago Sporting Goods Co.   Chicago, Illinois

CLERK, ANDREW & CO.,  New York, NY, c.1820-1875. Clerk was a major retailer of New York style reels and other products of the major NYC reel factories and most seem to be Conroy products. Clerk, Green & Baker of New York, NY were manufacturers. Most of these were brass reels marked A. Clerk & Co. In 1875 Andrew Clerk & Co. was purchased by Abbey & Imbre, and then they were bought by Horrocks-Ibbotson in 1930.

Coast to Coast Stores

Conroy & Bisset (Brooklyn) c.1881-1883

Conroy, Thos. (New York) c.1883-1921



Dana Hardware         Boston Mass.

Dearborne Tackle Company (Michigan) – The company sold Line Master reels made by Oakwood Tackle Company of Detroit.


Dunham, Carrigan & Hyden Co (San Francisco) c.1848


Eppinger, Lou J.,  Lou was a reel designer who made his own versions that were mainly a Shakespeare design and known for adding free spool devices to Shakespeare reels mostly.  He advertized that he would install his device in other reels of its type.


Faber Bros. (Chicago) Distributor of Aerocast reel)

Folsom, H. D. Arms Co (New York)

Frankfurth, William Hardware Co. (Millwaukee) c.1885-1960

Frost, H.J.& Co. (New York) c.1899 Was a wholesaler who used the Kelso trade mark on reels like the Kelso Automatic Fly Reel, which actually came from a Rochester design. The company used at least five Brands that more of less described the quality and price of the product. From top quality down are Kelso, Senate, Otter, Anchor, and Frostco. For more information, see ORCA Reel News back issue Summer of 1999.


Gamble-Skogmo Inc. Hiawatha was their brand name for their sporting goods.  They sold trade reels made by Bronson. A gold anodized Ambassadeur 4000D reel was sold at Gambles with a sticker on the box that said “Gambles Skogmo Anniversary” and sold for $1000.

General Products (New Jersey)

Great Lakes. Also sold an outboard motor called a Hiawatha.  Gambles bought out Western Auto Supply in the 1960s.

Gliebe Products (Brooklyn, New York) Spinning reels made by Sportex – Germany


Habich, Gus (Indianapolis)

Hall’s Emporium (New York)

Handicast Company (Cleveland) maker?

Hardesty, V. Corporation (Whitestone, NY)

Harper, R (New York)

Henshall, Van Antwerp (Mt. Sterling,Kentucky)

Herman Bumiller Co.  Cincinatti, OH        1914 – 1928   (formerly Bumiller-Remelin Co.)  1914-1928

HERTERS,  Herters Catalog Store,  They sold everything just like Sears and Wards. They sold name brand fishing tackle and trade reels with their name on them.

HIBBARD, SPENCER & BARTLETT,  (Chicago, IL) H.S.&B. was a distributer from 1865 to 1963, a large conglomerate owning many different companies.  Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co. (later became True Value Hardware) Revonoc reel (reverse spelling of partner Conover), made by Pflueger, and HSB&Co. knife.  Pictures courtesy of Ron McAltin

Holmes, L W.                         Ct.         ?



Jackson Sales, (Ferndale Michigan)

Janney, Semple, Hill & Co. (JSH&Co.) – Founded by Thomas B. Janney in 1866 in a small village called Minneapolis, was to become a century-long force in the wholesale hardware and sporting goods market. There were numerous name changes as partners came and left, but the final name came with the partnership of Mr. Horace  Mann Hill who helped the company prosper after Mr. Janney’s death.

As for the reel offerings, there are JSH&Co. stamped examples made by Bronson and Great Lakes companies. They will date between 1930 and 1950. Another stamping is “S&Q” which stands for S&Q Hardware Co, a subsidiary of JSH&Co.  There is another identified by an “L-40” marking and an etched outdoor scene on the plate. Yet unconfirmed, is the rumor that there is a Montague-made product called “Minnetonka” or “Minnesota.”

JSH&Co. was also the first to recognize the potential of the newly formed Johnson Reel Company and sold thousand of their reels through the years.  For more information, see Dr. Todd Larson’s article in the November, 2005, back issue of ORCA’s Reel News.

Jarvis, W.  B.                    Grand Rapids, Mi.               1902- 1924

Johnson, J.S.              Baltimore, Md.


Keystone The Keystone Corporation of Chicago were distributors (not makers) for several reels during the 60’s. The Keystone series of reels, made by both American and Japanese makers, included the Arnold Palmer reels, numerous open-face and close-face spinning reels and others which all seem to be marked with the Keystone name on either the box or reel. It is believed the close-faced Keystone reels produced by Bronson (Keystone Star 88, Keystone Wasp, etc.) were actually trade reels, as none of the series can be found in any Bronson catalog. It wouldn’t be surprising to find out they were produced by Bronson for distribution through the Keystone Corp., as they likely were.  They are listed on the Bronson site as members of the regular line-up of reels, which might be incorrect, but until any more information surfaces, that’s where they’ll stay for now. Contributed by Dr. Todd Larsen – Photo by Tommy Modesitt

Kiffe, H.H.& Co.   NewYork, New York                      1875-1937?


Leacock             St. Louis, Mo.

Leaderer, Wm. F. Co.

Lovell, J. R. Arms Co.      Boston, MA.


Marshall Fields                Chicago, IL                 1914-1940

Marshall-Wells Hardware Co.                    Duluth, MN.               1893-1955

Matthews Co.                    Milwauke, WI

May & Malone

Metropolitan Hardware Co.

Mills, William & Son             New York, NY

Moonlight Bait Co.       Paw Paw MI

Montgomery Ward c.1872, Sport King is  a brand name of Montgomery Wards Stores, see Mark Williams’ article on the Sport Kings above under Montgomery Wards, also they used other brand names such as Wards,  Precision,  Hawthrone,  etc.  some of their trade reels were made by Bronson,  see this link and look under “Bronson Trade Reels  Some other reels were made by “Ocean City”, they had stores all over the U.S. up until the 1980’s and are still in business but by catalog only. They sold many reels both brand name reels and trade reels that they had other reel makers make for them. Look in this site for the Ocean City made reels & look under trade reels. After the resumption of fishing tackle production following the end of WWII, Montgomery Ward & Co. of Chicago introduced a new line of casting and fly reels under the “Sport King” brand name. This line of reels would directly compete with the “J.C. Higgins” brand sold by Sears, Roebuck& Co. The Sport Kings were a low to moderately-priced line of reels that were eagerly snapped up by the thousands by returning servicemen. The line of Sport King reels would be offered by Wards for over two decades, but the popularity of spin fishing pretty much spelled the end of the line for casting reels by the early 1970’s. Because Wards never manufactured their own fishing reels or tackle, they had to be supplied as “trade” reels by the large production tackle makers.
Among the suppliers of Sport King reels were the Ocean City Mfg. Co. of Philadelphia, the Bronson Reel Co. of Bronson, Mich., the Shakespeare and Kalamazoo Tackle Companies of Kalamazoo, Mich., the Martin Reel Co.,  possibly the Union Hardware Co. of Torrington, Conn. and Horrocks & Ibbottson Reel Co. of Utica, New York.  Most of the Sport Kings were virtually identical in design to models offered from their supplier’s regular line of reels and were simply re-marked for sale through Wards. Many of the casting models mirrored the Sears line of reels, with engraved end plates featuring fancy geometrical designs or others depicting fishing scenes. Some of the most beautiful casting reels found today carry the “Wards and  Sport King” name and are becoming highly sought-after by collectors. As a result, pristine examples are becoming harder and harder to find. Sadly, both the Wards, Sport King and the Montgomery Ward name itself would pass into history.  We know there are many more out there that we have not seen yet and if have one please contact us so we can add them to this list.
Research and pictures are courtesy of Mark Williams. Here is a compiled list by Mark Williams and R. E. .

Morley-Murphy Co. – This company was founded in 1904 by Frank E. Murphy and a number of partners. Together, they purchased Golfredson Bros. Hardware Company of Green Bay and secured inventory of the Menominee Hardware Company as well. The following success resulted in the construction of a six-story building downtown.

Along with a substantial offering of general sporting good, there was a line of trade reels marked “Lucky Lure” and made by Montague in the 1920’s. There was also a “Fishkill Level Winding” reel made by Bronson. Most reels date from 1920-1935 as determined by period ads.  For more information, see the May, 2006, back issue by of ORCA’s Reel News. The article is written by Dr. Todd Larson

Murta Appleton Co. (Philadelphia)       1889


New York Sporting Goods (New York)

Norvell-Shapleigh Hardware Co (St. Louis) c.1901-1918

  1. Shore Company Chicago


Orvis, Charles F. Company (Manchester VT, 1856) Getting their start in bamboo rods, Orvis saw early that spinning reels would be huge in the reel market. Reels were made by a number of companies including Young, Fix, Zangy and Coptes. Pictured is a 1967 #50A courtesy of Jim Madden.



P&K Incorporated (Momence, IL)

Pacific Hardware & Steel Co.

Peaslee-Gaulbert Co.

PECK & SNYDER,   (Nassau, NY) Andrew Peck and Irving Snyder started the company Peck and Snyder Sporting Goods Company in 1866.

Pennell  a trademarked name, owned by Edw. K. Tryon Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pennell trademark was originally applied for by Edw. K. Tryon Company in 1905, and at that time they claimed use since November 24, 1889. This trademark was claimed for usage on almost every type of tackle imaginable, from reels to “fish mouth  openers”. Regardless of the reels that are stamped “Pennell Reel Company”, it  was not a company, or a manufacturer of fishing tackle. Pennell was only a  trademark. Many of the reels with the famous Pennell trademark were manufactured  by the Montague Rod & Reel Company, in their Brooklyn, NY factory. However,  not all reels were made by Montague. Edw. K. Tryon contracted with whomever had what they wanted and the Pennell label wstamped on the finished product. Some of the earliest Meisselbach casting reels have the Pennell trademark on the headplate.  Research by Phil White.

Piper & Taft (Seattle)

Plitzlaff, John Hardware Co. (Millwaukee) c.1884-1958

Premax Products (Niagara Falls, NY)



Reed, William & Sons (Boston)

Richards & Conover Hardware Co.(Kansas City, MO.) – In 1857 this company was founded when Kansas City was still considered “way out West,” but the westward movement, expecially after the Civil War, would provide a lucrative market. The company was founded by John F. Richards in what many considered Indian Territory at the time. Missouri had just become a state in 1820. He had learned his mercantile skills working with Child, Pratt, & Company of St. Louis before striking out on his own westward. He opened a store in Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, in 1857 which was immediately profitable. In 1867, Richards combined his own store with that of one W. E. Chamberlain and moved operations to Kansas City. After a stint in the Civil War, he bought out his partner and added Mr. John Conover, also a veteran, to his firm. The company essentially had a lock on the western market. They bought their merchandise from about 2000 different suppliers and had over 15,000 accounts. The name “Rich-Con” became a household trade name for the company gracing products of all kinds including their line of fishing items. There are examples of Rich-Con marked reels made by Montague, but there are only a handful in collections today. Montague common stampings like “jeweled” and/or “Steel pivots” will be found on the reels as well. The company closed doors in 1958 from selling hardware and sporting goods. They reopened as Richard & Conover Steel Works lasting until 1999. If you find a reel marked “Rich-Con”, it’s a definitely a keeper.  For more information, see Dr. Todd Larsen’s March 2006 back issue of ORCA’s Reel News.


Savage, M.W. Co. (Minneapolis) c.1911-1932

Schmelzer, J.F. & Sons Arms Co (Kansas City, MO.) c.1896-1917

Schoverling, Daly, Gales (New York)

Schwarts Hardware Co.

Sears, Roebuck & Co. (Chicago) J. C. Higgins was a brand name for Sears. They had many different companies from the U.S. and Canada make reels for them, like Bronson, Shakespeare, Tamco from Canada and Ocean City.  Also some of their other brands were Belmont, Mohawk, Black Hawk, Ted Williams, Meadowbrook, etc.  See the “Bronson Reel” portion website for more Sears reels,  look under “Bronson Made Sears Reels”.  Some of the early Sears reels were only marked “WLS” on the reel which stood for Worlds Largest Store and they were.  This abbreviation will be seen in lightning shaped words and some people will mistake the L for an E.   Sears sold reels from many different reel makers like, Ocean City,  Bronson,  Shakespeare,  Tamco,  etc.  See this website for lots of info on their Bronson trade reels,  and look under “Bronson Made Sears Reels”.  Also see the “Ocean City” portion of our Ocean City” section of our site and look under “Ocean City Trade Reels”.

Information:  WILLIAMS, TED – a brand name sold by Sears,  mostly using Shakespeare reels.  Google Ted Williams for info on him.  see Ebay for other types of Ted Williams reels.

Shapleigh Hardware Co. (St. Louis) c.1918 – old hardware store,  sold many trade reels,  check with Dr. Todd,  we think he wrote an article about this company?  First picture below is of Ocean City trade reel made for Shapliegh’s  called a Keen Kaster No.DR4. Picture is courtesy of Mark Williams.  Next reel is a Shakespeare / Kalamazoo Bal-Cli style trade reel for Shapliegh’s, a San Luis No.SR16.

Simmons, E. C. Hardware Co. (St. Louis) c.1872-1922  was a distributer in St. Louis, MO from 1872 to 1922,  old hardware store,  sold trade reels made by Montague, Kalamazoo, some Talbot, etc.  Dr. Todd Larson just wrote an article about Simmons in the March 2013 issue of the Reel News,  for back issues see this link:

Pictures below are some Simmons trade reels,  one with the box is a Winchester and the other with a can is a Kalamazoo.  Reel and box picture is courtesy of Mark Williams.

Simmons-Winchester c.1922-1929

SOUTH BEND,  (South Bend, IN) 1910  (The South Bend bait Co., or as SBBC. In a nutshell by Jim Madden)
Little did Fred “Bucktail” Worden know when he dabbled with lure-making from his kitchen table circa 1895, that his hobby would eventually become one of the five premier tackle companies in the country. The in-line spinners with real deer hair became so popular that Frank expanded his spinner line, (with the new help of a part time employee), to spoons and flies and even reels made by Montague. With the support of investors, Frank was finally able to move his operation out of the kitchen by 1905 to the second story of a hardware store. When he gave up the company in 1907, it took a couple of years, but the new owners changed the name officially to South Bend Bait Company on May 13, 1909.  Like so many upstarts at the time, the new SBBC struggled to pay the bills, and the company again changed hands to three local investors. It was kept afloat by its new wooden and combination minnows and other lures still bearing the Worden name, but a huge boost in sales was about to occur.
The acquisition of two patents in 1910 and 1911 cleared the way for sales of the famous #1131 Anti-Back-Lash reel. The reel incorporated a bail across the front of the reel that served as a sensor connected through the inner plate to a spring loaded arm. The arm was attached to a brake pad that would engage the spool when the line went slack preventing overruns. It actually did what the market push said it would do – stop backlashes. The reel, made by Shakespeare would be a solid money-maker well into the 30’s. (No Shakespeare reel was every produced with an ABL bail even when the patent ran out. That condition must certainly have been part of the agreement.) Also, the company moved locations in downtown South Bend a couple of times resulting in the everchanging addresses in ads and paperwork. The wisest move of all, though, was the plan to lure Ivar Hennings from his Chicago job with Westinhouse. Mr. Hennings, an avid fisherman, active conservationist, and self-made business talent, would take the reins of a company that had been sorely lacking in leadership. He was always looking for innovation and expansion, and the Bass-Oreno is a perfect example.
If the ABL reel was to become synonymous with the company name, it would only be appropriate that a lure would reach the same fame. In 1915, Hennings made an agreement with inventor James Olds to produce the Wobbler, later known as the South Bend Bass-Oreno. Under Hennings’ direction, hundreds of Oreno-named lures and reels were produced, and the company survived the many ups and downs, including the Great Depression and the War years, until his death in 1950.
For a time, Charles Heddon owned half the company, and most of the reels were made by Shakespeare. This created a kind of love-hate relationship among the companies. Competition was severe and lawsuits were many, but Hennings was able to find a marketing niche where products would retain a high quality at an economical price. It was the periodical lack in the quality that brought the greatest wrath from Mr. Hennings.
A move in 1920 to 1108 High Street allowed for huge expansion after some profitable years. The bamboo rod business soared with the purchase of the Cross Rod & Reel Tackle Company which included the skills of famous rodbuilder Wes Jordon who was moved to South Bend in 1925. In 1930, SBBC established a subsidiary in Canada, and the company added production in Iowa in the 40’s. Expansions were done to the High Street address as well, and the company was holding its own against the competition – until the aforementioned events of 1950.
Ivar Hennings passed away and the company was never the same. It hung on for a while under talented executives like Harold  O. Stream and John Macy, but after a name change to South Bend Tackle Company in 1957, the company was sold a year later with operations moving to Chicago.  It did again return to High Street location but was sold to B. F. Gladding Co. in 1964 with an address change to South Otselic, New York, and then to Miami, Florida. Some reels were made in Japan and others were imported from Germany and Sweden with exclusive sale rights. Lures were largely made of plastic. Though still selling tackle today by a private company, and after a short stint with Luhr Jenson in the 80’s, the company is a mere shadow of the major employer it once was in South Bend during the thirty or so years of its peak performance. If only there were a picture of old Bucktail Worden at his kitchen table wrapping the deer hair to a spinner. It would have been the perfect graphic on a box for a Bass-Oreno or Anti-Back-Lash reel.
Most of the history above comes from the six-part series written by Marie Munson. Her articles in the NFLCC Magazine, (Volume 19, number 1 and 2; volume 20, number 1 and 2; and volume 21, number 1 and 2), total fifty-five pages of the most comprehensive study ever done on South Bend Bait Company. It is a must-read for anyone interested in South Bend memorabilia.  

Southwestern Company (Chicago)

Spaulding, A. G. & Bros. (Chicago) c.1876

Specialty Importers (Foster Industries of Colchester, IL)

Spiegal Inc.

Spining, Rolf C. Inc. (Detroit)

Spinn-X Sales Corp.

Spinning Unlimited, (NY)

Stratton & Terstegge Co, distributor of Falls City tackle boxes and minnow buckets, as well as various trade reels.

Suplee-Biddle Hardware Co. (Philadelphia) Congress was a trademark granted to Supplee Hardware Co. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in two different forms in 1903 and 1906. It is often found on generic reels manufactured for this company.

Sutcliff’s Sporting Goods



The Schmelzer Co, (Kansas City, MO.)

Tilton Bros. (Chicago)

Tradewinds Inc.(Tacoma, WA) Spin-In Champ, Spin-In Royal reels

Truecraft Tackle Co. Sportsman and Topper reels

Tryon, Edward K., Jr. & Co. (Philadelphia)  Tryon, Edward K., Jr. & Co. of Philadelphia, PA were distributers from 1868 to 1905. Old hardware store very large supplier. They  sold lots of fishing tackle and trade reels for Bronson.  Tryon, Edward K. of Philadelphia, PA was a distributer from 1905 to ?.  1925 catalog picture is courtesy of Jim Garrett and Skip Brooks.



Van Camp Hardware & Iron Co. (1930’s)

Von Lengerke & Antoine 

Van Uxem, James L. (Chicago) 1870-1905

Varick, John B. Co., Manchester, NH

VIM (Des Moines) United States was a brand name for the VIM Co. of Chicago,. (conflict of locations here) They sold 4 different reels we have found so far,  all being made by Bronson.  They are The Penn, the Illinois,  the Ohio and the Indiana. To see pictures and find out more on these reels check out the Bronson Reel Section of this page &

Voedisch Bros. (Chicago)

Vonnecut Hardware Co (1930’s)

Von Lengerke & Antoine (Chicago) 1891-1958,   known as VL&A,  a high end sporting goods store  They sold fishing tackle, and you will find many reels just stamped VL&A. Also they were rumored to have sold guns to some of Al Capone’s men.  They sold out to Abercrombe & Finch in 1938.


Waltco Products, Inc. (Ny-O-Lite reels)

Wards,  Montgomery Wards, also see Sport King,  Hawthrone,   a large old time catalog store,  with stores all over the U.S. up until the 1980’s,  still in business, but by catalog now only.  They sold many reels both brand name reels and trade reels that they had other reel makers make for them.  See the Montgomery Wards article that Mark Williams wrote above under Montgomery Wards!  Click here for the “Ocean City” made reels & look under trade reels.  For the Bronson made trade reels look here “Bronson Made Trade Reels”  

Water King Sales Co, (Detroit)

Weinberg, Firm of (2 Wilheminastraat Hilversum, Netherlands)

Wessler, Julian (Scarsdale, NY)

WESTERN AUTO SUPPLY,  or (WAS) was a large auto parts supplier who owned many stores,  they sold sporting goods and fishing reels from makers like Bronson, Ocean City, etc. Their brand name was Revalation, eventually they were bought out by Gambles Auto Supply also a large conglomerate,  who themselves sold trade reels!  See this link for pictures and info on WAS and Gambles reels, click here to visit the “Bronson” section and look under trade reels!  Also look at “Ocean City” trade reels.  The company sold two versions of Red River reels made by Bronson. See the link below and look under “Bronson Made Trade Reels.” Revalation was also a brand name for Western Auto Supply,  (or as WAS)  Some of their fishing tackle was called Revalation.  They sold reels made for them like,  Bronson Reel Co., Ocean City Reel Co., Great Lakes, etc.  Their store item numbers were marked on most of their reels and they all started with a “V”  like V 7345.  Also some were only marked “Revelation”.  Click on this link and look under “Bronson Made Trade Reels and Info” for more information. “Bronson Reels”

Whitmore, H. A. & Co. (Boston)

Williams, Ted (Miami) Zangi

Wilmarth Tackle Co. (New York)

Wilson, Thomas E. Company (Chicago, Il.)  This Chicago company actually originated in 1914 as a subsidiary of a meat-packaging plant,  Ashland Manufacturing. It’s president was  Mr. Thomas E. Wilson. After years in the meat industry, and helping clean up the horrible working conditions known in Chicago at the time, he expanded the company into the sporting goods market circa 1918. Fishing tackle was first advertised in 1919, and the company was doing well enough to buy up other sporting goods companies as well. Newly-hired president Lawrence B. Icely was instrumental in moving the company forward as it grew by leaps and bounds.

As for the sale of fishing reels, the concept was to hit mostly the mid level range in the market with a few reels designed to compete at the top and a few at the bottom. Marked Thomas E. Wilson reels were made mainly by Montague, and Winchester, but reels were also made by Bronson, Shakespeare, Union Hardware, and Meisselbach.

Earliest reels have an “H” at the beginning of the model number and later had the Wilson, Chicago, USA, stamping without the “H” before the number. Subsequently, reels were stamped with trade names like Wilsonian, Powell, or Rubber City.  There was also a marked L.B. Icely  line of higher quality reels, and there were some saltwater reels available as well. The company ceased the tackle branch of the business in the 1920’s, but it was to become the famed Wilson Sporting Goods Company of today.  To see the full seven-page article written by Dr. Todd Larson, order the July, 2006, back issue of ORCA’a Reel News.

Woodham, Alfred (New York)

Worden (South Bend, IN)

Wright & McGill,  Eagle Claw is still a trademarked brand name owned and sold exclusively by Wright & McGill  of Denver, Colorado. Eagle Claw reels first showed up in 1970, when W & M introduced the “Mediterranean” series of spinning reels. They were actually “trade” reels built for W & M by the Alcedo Reel Co. of Italy. They were of very high-quality (a la Alcedo) and produced in 8 different models, from Ultralight to salt water versions. They’re highly collectible today. In the mid 1970’s, W & M introduced their regular line of Eagle Claw reels, including three models of open-face spinning reels and two models of automatic fly reels. All five of these models were also “trade” reels, supplied to Wright & McGill by the Shakespeare Co. All reel boxes were made locally in Denver by the DeLine Box Co.   Research by Mark Williams.

Zwicker-Graf Mfg.Co. Inc. (Tenafly, NJ) manufacturer?