At the 2001 ORCA Convention in Columbia, SC, ORCA members were fortunate to to be able to view a Shakespeare display consisting of material from the Shakespeare and Pflueger archives. The reels on display were overwhelming. The exhibit included all types of reels from modern production reels to prototypes that were never put into production, to early reels and catalogs. The importance of many of the items on display was overwhelming.
Members who were not in attendance missed the opportunity of a lifetime by not attending their convention. Most in attendance could almost feel the presence of William Shakespeare Jr., and the Pflueger brothers when looking at some of their personal reels and thoughts and ideas that they tried out but never put into production. The display was awesome.
Roxanne Coleman and her helpers from Shakespeare deserve our profound thanks for helping ORCA members gain a better perspective of reel development by two of the major manufacturers of the twentieth century. ORCA also owes Stu Lawson and Craig Barber a great deal of gratitude for sorting through the reels and selecting a nice variation of items to study and observe.
All photos are thumbnails. Click on the photo to see a larger image.
The wonderful display assembled by Shakespeare covered the whole front wall of the show. It was really a great display.
This pair of red and gold spincast reels were made for the U. S. Marine Corps, with the tag dated April 27, 1955.
An experimental aluminum baitcasting reel prototype
How’s this for a lineup of wierd spincast reels. All Shakespeare prototypes.
This one looked like a test of a gearing system and star drag. It was untagged.
This tag read “Shakespeare design crank controlled salt water model. Never in production.” It was a very slick and interesting reel.
Another direct drive casting reel prototype.
“W. H. Readle, San Bernadius, California – Readle Drag Handle” Dated 6/8/23, samples were seen in two sizes.
“S. Bonriant, St. Amand Morand, France” dated 4/30/30. An Obvious copy of the Pflueger foot and the Meisselbach frame on this raised pillar fly reel.
This Meisselbach-Catucci Symploreel fly reel is all black; pillars, foot, and spool screw. The tag was dated 4/22/25.
“Wepel Fishing Reel Co. Ilion, NY, the Brooker Reel – 4/11/27” Ever seen one of these?
This is the original Shakespeare Miller Autocrat. It is a hand made prototype.
Some of the catalogs and ephemera on display.
Sample parts from the Pflueger Topic reel that show how the reel was manufactured.
These are “model tension oil cups” all mounted on head plates and are dated 7/1/21. Look close and you will note that each has a different tension device.
“Enterprise Dixie Reel with…” (part of the tag was missing. I would assume it was going to say with star drag. This is a rare reel.
“Model Lake Trout Single Action Reel”, 2/20/26. This reel has a Williams drag handle, anti-reverse stop, and is gigantic. It was as dark as it looks in the photo.
“Application of McKinney free spool idea. We made six models applying idea to level wind reels.” Note the bell shaped spool flange on the headplate end. I was dying to take it apart and see what it looked like.
“Model Crossplates, W. A. Adams – 10/18/21.” Shown here are some experimental Pflueger foot (crossplate) styles.
“Plaintiffs 1916 type Level Wind. Defendants exhibit 1077.” This was apparently from the Shakespeare-Pflueger lawsuit, but what it has to do with hook riggings no one seemed to know.
“Model cheap level wind reel.” This was a Pflueger Niftee with a level wind attached. Apparently it was never produced.
This is a Prototype Pflueger Superex Automatic Reel #778. It is trolling size.
How about a whole string full of test patterns of etching for the Akron reel – Not the Summit. “Development Akron Reel” 11/11/24.
This experimental reel looks more like a bowl of vanilla ice cream than a spinning reel.