This page lists reel maker names alphabetically, along with a brief history and a few pictures of the different reels they made. We are always looking to add information and pictures. Contact the ORCA Webmaster if you have something to add.
AEROCAST PRODUCTS (Chicago) maker of Aerocast reels which are tri-knobbed reels with red plastic side plates. The July 2018 issue of the Reel News features an article on these reels written by Colby Sorrells (pages 17-18). (Photos courtesy of Colby Sorrells)
ALLCOCK & CO
ALUMINUM & PLASTIC PRODUCTS CO.
The first trade reels were made using Silky Oak for both spool and back (USA refer to as Lacewood) with a hand-filed, gunmetal cast star shaped piece fitted to the back and line guide. Charles’ son Ken, a qualified pattern maker joined the company in 1923 and together they decided to promote the Alvey brand, cease making trade reels and introduce an all metal back.1936 saw some spools made of Bakelite as well as an all alloy Game reel. (a radical change from Alvey’s standard) WW2 years 1939-1945 stopped production while the machinery went into use to help with the war effort . Charles Alvey passed away in 1945. In 1946 Jack, Charles’ grandson who was a fitter and turner joined his father Ken to boost production.
The use of Camphor Laurel timber for spools stopped in favour of Red Cedar. Output rose to over 30, 000 units by 1956 and they were Queensland’s largest reel manufacturer, although sales were poor in other Australian states. That changed in 1957 when a Queensland fishing team with members mostly using Alveys cleaned up the competition held in the neighbouring State of New South Wales, where overhead reels were used by other State teams as well as a New Zealand representative team.
The1960’s were tough times because of the drop in import tariffs allowing a flood of competition. Alveys now had an all stainless steel back.
1973 saw the passing of Ken Alvey and in 1974 the Brisbane River flooded . Alvey spools switched to fibreglass after 50 plus years of wood. Jack’s elder son Bruce joins the company after the completion of an engineering course.
1978 ushered in a change of business location along with different methods of production. In 1988 Jack’s younger son Glenn adept in computer and management entered the company .Time passed with spools being made with an Injection moulding process, metal backs gave way to graphite moulding, star drags became lever drags and Alvey’s 75th anniversary saw them still a family business. In 2001 Jack Alvey passed away.
It’s now 2013 and the reels are now light and strong with vented spools and backs with many different models to suit varieties of fish and the way you need to fish. A long way from the original materials but an evolutional progress of the basic design. Bruce Alvey now manages the daily running along with his brother Glenn and after more than 90 years, Alvey is still a wonderful Family business fast approaching a century of continuous service to all who love to fish.
Research by Ray Hodges from Australia. This is Alvey’s website. http://www.alvey.com.au
AMERICA-MEEK reels were manufactured by the American Company under the supervision of Sylvanus Meek, son of B.F. Meek. According to antique reel authority, Ron Gast, it is not known if Meek made these reels himself, or just supervised the production. These models are marked America-Meek. These reels are quite scarce.
AMERICA REEL CO.
AMERICAN CLASSIC SALES LLC
AQUA SPORTSMAN, INC.
AQUA SPORTSMAN, INC, Cincinnati, Ohio. This was an unusual casting reel with a “wand” that extended from the upper part of the reel forming a “Aqua Automatic Reel Control” that worked with the level wind to prevent backlashes.
ATKINSON, WILLIAM L. CO,
The Atkinson reel was a spring driven, automatic, multiplying reel. The drive spring was a long coil spring contained in the rod handle. To wind the spring initially, there was a folding crank placed at the end of the handle. Unlike many automatic reels
of the period, Atkinson’s reel was able to be put into a free spool mode to allow ease of casting. The spool was in the style of a casting reel with a spool that was wide and small in diameter, but the line fed through a guide in the side of the handle. In the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s many inventors attempted to combine fishing reels into rod handles. There were many applications for these angling implements to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office during the time of the United States industrial revolution. Among these efforts was the patent of William L. Atkinson in 1903. His patent, No. 769,142 was granted on September 1904. Although the concept was popular in the patent office, it appears that never became so with fishermen. Very few examples of these early built in reels have been found by today’s collectors and apparently no examples of Atkinson’s invention exist, if it ever was manufactured commercially. It really seems a bit unusual that a freshwater reel design like that of Aktinson’s would be developed in a Washington seaport. William L. Atkinson died sometime after 1915.
ATWOOD PATENT REEL CO.,
B & H TOOL CO.
BARTELS, ROBERT H.
BATE, THOMAS H., & CO.
BENJAMIN-SELLER MFG. CO.
BETTS & BODDEUS
BIVANS, ARNOLD D MFG
BLUE GRASS REEL WORKS,
BOGAN, STANLEY E.
BRADFORD & ANTHONY
BRISTOL MFG. CO.
BRONSON REEL CO.
BURLINGTON METAL PRODUCTS
BUTLER, HERB, ENGINEERING
aluminum.The interior of the reel is quite simple, with the gears being the only moving parts, The drive gear is located on a stud cast into the inside of the faceplate. There is an extra stud cast for conversion to left hand use. The reel was not capable of conversion from right to left hand use, however, without changes in the handle assembly. An angler who preferred to reel with his left hand had to purchase a left hand retrieve reel from Butler for $5.00 additional cost.
The reel was sold with two spools, which were available in aluminum or nylon during different periods of production. The anodized black spool in the polished bright frame was quite attractive.
As mentioned previously, the heart of the reel was the crank. Under the cone shaped crank nut is a coil spring and two washers. One washer is made of thin neoprene and is flat. The other is serrated on one side and made of metal. There are matching serrations milled into the crank handle. The drag is adjustable to any of four different types of drag settings, from very light to heavy, by placement of the washers. Complete instructions for these settings came in the reel brochure. Tightening the nut against the spring refined the adjustment within each washer setting.
A smaller cone shaped button is located alongside the crank nut. This one controls the click and anti-reverse. This button is attached to a spring laden pin that rides in a milled out portion of the face plate. When the crank is turned for the retrieve, the pin provides a slow click .. click, similar to that of the Pflueger Medalist, which was the aim of Butler according to his brochures. When reeled backward, the pin comes against the stops and provides an anti-reverse. This function can be deactivated by lifting the click button and giving it a quarter turn.
Herb Butler’s “Fish” reel came with one extra spool, and additional spools were available for $2.00 each. The spool would hold 50 yards of backing behind any fly line. The brochure stated that the reel would hold 100 yards of 18 pound test lead core line, and/or 300 yards of braided Dacron line, if you intended to use the reel for trolling.An undated brochure lists the reel at $25.00 including shipping direct from the factory. A dealer price sheet dated January 3, 1979 states that “our planned retail price for the coming year is $30.00 for the Right Hand reel and $35.00 the Left Hand version.” The reel was available to dealers for $20.00 with an order of ten reels; $15 each in quantities of 50; or $12.50 each if you ordered 100 reels.Butler also offered his concept to other manufacturers, stating “other manufacturers may incorporate this designs and engineering advances in their product for a very nominal royalty. The royalty for copying the design and/or engineering is 2%. The royalty paid to Herb Butler Engineering will be used to improve fishing in those various parts of the country where the reels are sold”. Apparently this offer was not accepted by any other manufacturers, for we are unaware of any other reels of similar design.Two brochures list different addresses for Herb Butler Engineering. One shows the address to be W. 821½ Riverside Avenue, and the other lists S. 2112 Manito Blvd. Both addresses were in Spokane, Washington. The former address was a shop where the reels were manufactured, and the later address was apparently his residence at the time. The Herb Butler “Fish” reel was only manufactured for a few years and no references to the reel are found in the 1980s.Herb Butler believed in his reel. Each one carried a printed guarantee – I guarantee the “Fish” Fly Reel for as long as I live. If you are not satisfied regardless of reason – return the reel and I will refund your money in full. Yours for good fishing, Herb Butler. By Phil White.
CARPONE AND PONS CO.
CASTMASTER FISHING REEL CORP
Cenataure, “The French Water Pipes Company” of Paris, France made spinning reels from 1947-1971. The Pacific is a well-known model name from the company. The reel was imported by Booth Export and Imports of California. For more information, see Ben Wright’s Spinning Reel Reference.
CHAMBERLIN CARTRIDGE & TARGET REEL CO.
CHAMPION SPORTS EQUIPMENT
CHAPMAN & SON
CHUBB, THOMAS H. CO.
CLARK, HORROCKS & CO.
CLERK, ANDREW & COMPANY
CLERK & BURKE
CLERK, BURKE & BAKER
CLERK, GREEN & BAKER
CLINTON, CHARLES M.
COLGROVE TACKLE CO.
J. CONROY MAKER
J. & J.C. CONROY
J.C. CONROY & CO
CONROY & BISSETT
CONROY, BISSETT & MALLESON
THOMAS J. CONROY
Conroy – John Conroy was working as a machinist on Fulton St., NYC, at least as early as 1830 (the date claimed as his company’s founding), and possibly as early as 1824. He was making reels by the late 1830s (roughly the same time as the Meeks began to make reels). The early reels were marked “J. Conroy/Maker.”
John C. Conroy joined the firm in the late 1830s, and the company was renamed “J. & J.C. Conroy” about 1843. The reel markings were changed to “Conroys/Makers.”
The founder retired, and J. & J.C. Conroy was dissolved in 1864. A new partnership of J.C. Conroy, Thomas Bissett, and Francis Allen was organized and named “J.C. Conroy & Co.” Their reels were marked with the company name.
In 1875, a new partnership consisting of Bissett, Frederick Malleson, and Thomas J. Conroy was formed and named “Conroy, Bissett & Malleson,” and their reels were so marked. Malleson left the firm in 1881, and the name was changed to “Conroy & Bissett.”
The company was renamed “Thomas J. Conroy” in 1883. By this time, it had become a general sporting-goods store, and probably was no longer manufacturing its own reels, though it continued close business associations with Malleson, who was making reels on his own. (Timeline provided by Steve Vernon.)
Pictures of reels marked Conroys Makers and J.C. Conroy & Co. (modified with clamp foot) courtesy Paul Manuel
COSGROVE TACKLE COMPANY
Coxe, J.A., There are two facets to J. A. Coxe Reels. First was the wonderful hand made big game reels manufactured by Coxe in his California workshop, and second were those mass produced reels manufactured by Bronson Reel Co. of Bronson, Michigan. Who bought out J.A. Coxe. Bronson needed a salt water designer to help them get into the SW reel market. They were 10 years behind in this market. Companies like Ocean City and Pflueger were way ahead of Bronson. Joseph A. Coxe stayed on with Bronson for years designing some of the best salt and fresh water reels ever made. Check out the “Bronson Reel” section of our website to see some of the J. A. Coxe and Bronson made J.A. Coxe reels.
Cozzone Corp., (John A Cozzone & Co in 1922 and 1923). Newark, NJ. 1924-31. This company mainly manufactured a line of quality salt water reels. However, they also manufactured a quality fly reel. All are sought after by collectors today. The company was owned by John A. Cozzone, a Newark machinist and friend of the Meisselbach brothers and Pliny Catucci. John’s father came to Newark in 1890 and became a U.S. Citizen. The two-year-old John and his mother would follow a year later. John showed some ability in mechanics and became a machinist. He set up shop in 1917 , but none of the products were reels. It wasn’t until the early 1920’s that John and his friend Pliny Catucci decided to make a go at reels. They created different companies but agreed that Pliny would produce freshwater casting reels while John would try his hand at larger trolling saltwater reels. Surprisingly, fly reels appeared by both companies as well. Here is a great site with pictures and info on the Cozzone’s and other brand salt water reels. http://myfishingreels.weebly.com/cozzone-reels.html Research by Brian Purrone and Phil White. The picture below is the Cozzone fly reel from the KC Show. The camera flash really brings out the color in the marbleized Bakelite. According to Phil White’s book, the Ogden St. address was the earliest and the reels were made between 1922 and 1924. Also see more Meisselbach reels below! These were some of the most beautiful reels made! For more information on specific reels, see Phil White’s article in ORCA’s Reel News back issue Winter of 1998.
Photos/information obtained with permission from Ron Gast’s website… https://luresnreels.com/cozzone.html
CREEK CHUBB BAIT CO.
CROOK, J. B. & CO.
Crook, J. B. & Co., (New York, NY) Jabez B. Crook was an English immigrant who opened a machine shop in the 1830’s that would become a part of huge tackle center on Fulton Street before 1900. Eventually, John Conroy would set up a shop virtually next door with names like Thomas Pritchard, J.J. Brown, and Alfred Woodham all selling tackle on the avenue as well. After a partnership in 1940, the company name was changed to Jabez B. Crook & Co. As the company expanded James Berry was added in 1846, and master rodbuilder Jerry Falvey came aboard as well in 1848. The company thrived for a time earning several awards for its offerings of fishing tackle. After a line of partners came and went ( some very quickly at times), the company was able to survive (barely at times) all the way to 1920. Relatives of both J.B Crook and James Berry kept the business in the family. It was a great legacy for a small machine shop that opened over eighty years earlier. As for Crook reels, historian Steve Vernon doubts they were made at all in their shop after 1875. Many of the later marked Crook reels have characteristics of other companies. However, Mr. Vernon attests that Jabez Crook deserves the honor of being “one of the earliest Identifiable reelmakers in the U.S.” When looking closely at Crook reels, there are a number of general identifying features that Mr. Vernon has shared (although there is much more diversity in the earliest reels):
-He made brass and German silver reels with ball-handles with S cranks.
-Most were multipliers, some single-action.
-The top surfaces of the curved, cast, one-piece reel feet usually were lower than the flat cross-bridges.
-The feet sometimes had arrays of dots underneath.
-The nuts securing he pillars to the headplate usually had two flat sides.
-The reels usually had a spring brake controlled by a sliding lever that extended through the headcap rim.
-The grasps often were unusually long, compared to the grasps used by other contemporary makers.
-He produced some German silver quick-takedown reels, and he appears to have experimented with a freespool clutch in at least one of them. -Some of his reels included housings or bridges over the pinions, and these had bearings for the spool journal.
(The above information is courtesy of Steve Vernon. For pictures and much more information, see Steve’s two articles in the January, 2009, issue of the ORCA Reel News magazine.)
DAME, STODDARD & KENDALL
DAME, STODDARD & COMPANY
See also Merman Versijveren’s article in the Reel News, Winter, 1997.
DEALLY JAMES & CO.
KENTUCKY CASTING REEL
Diamond, (Japan) Spin Master Series sold by US distributor.
(Photo Courtesy of Lang’s Auction.)
EDWARDS MANUFACTURING COMPANY
ELECTRIC REEL COMPANY
ENGINEERED PRODUCTS AND RESEARCH CO
ENTERPRISE MANUFACTURING COMPANY ( FOUR BROTHERS, PFLUEGER)
With the exception of a simple wooden device that doubled as a line dryer Mr. Pflueger had patented in 1896, Enterprise did not manufacture reels until at least 1900. The earliest reference to reels offered by them is 1902. Most of those early models bore the Pflueger name which had became trademarked by 1908.
By 1914 reels were offered by Enterprise under three trademarks: Pflueger Bulldog, Four Brothers (named for the four sons of E. F. Pflueger), and Portage, a trademark previously used by one of those brothers, E.A. Pflueger and used by him during a brief period beginning in 1906 when he resigned from Enterprise and formed his own E.A. Pflueger Company.
Enterprise remained a leader in reel manufacturing into the 1960s, offering a great variety of models over the years, ranging from tiny fly reels to large saltwater models and including some of the most popular casting reels ever made. In 1965 the company name was changed to The Pflueger Corporation. The following year it was purchased by The Shakespeare Company. Pflueger reels are still manufactured by the Pflueger Sporting Goods Division of Shakespeare. By Robert Miller.
Production of his “Patent Applied For” reel is far, far less. His wide spool reel is unique in that it rests on a gear driven level wind housing. It is unclear by the “Pat Apl’d For” marking if this was ever submitted to the patent office, as no patent has been found for this mechanism. The first known patent for a level wind device on a reel was granted on Feb. 28, 1860 to Mark S. Palmer of New Bedford, Mass.
Fasoldt’s design differed greatly from Palmer’s, with an oscillating level wind system that was driven by a gear in the head plate. With an outgoing click that activated a “twitching” head plate mounted indicator, and twist knob drag, this is a marvel of engineering for its time.
Photo Courtesy of Lang’s Auction
FALCH/FENNER, CHICAGO ,IL.
FIN-NOR / TYCOON
FLINT REEL CO.
FLIP IT SPINNING REEL COMPANY
FOSS, AL FISHING TACKLE
FOSS, AL FISHING TACKLE (Cleveland, Ohio), The company, mostly know for its lures and pork rinds, did also sell reels. Al Foss was a dedicated tournament caster who often modified reels from other companies to suit his own purposes. The company went through several buyouts after Mr. Foss’s retirement in 1929. To see the timeline of the progression of Al Foss Company, American Fork and Hoe, True Temper, American Tackle and Equipment and Weber refer to Joe Yates’ page on Al Foss History
FOX, A. H. GUN
FOX, A. H. GUN, a gun maker from Philadelphia est. 1906, maker of some fine shotguns, who also made or had made some reels, normally there is always one on eBay for sale, so check there until we can get some pictures here! They always seemed to square off their designs, like a tear drop shaped reel that also has flat areas around it!
GARCIA, CHARLES & CO.
GOOD-ALL MFG. CO
GRAHAM REEL CO.
GREAT LAKES PRODUCTS
GULF REEL CO.
GYRATORY REEL CO.
GYRATORY REEL CO. This unusual reel was patented and first produced by Henry Crandall of Milwaukee, WI in the early 1900s, The Gyratory reel was patented on 1/7/1908 by Henry F. Crandall of Milwaukee. This was patent #875,694. It was an odd contraption with an eccentric oscillating spool. The reel was also able to free spool for casting. In 1908 Crandall patented (#892,137) another version of the reel integrated into a rod. The Crandall versions of this unusual reel are very rare.
The reel was apparently revised and renamed c1916-17 by the GUY-RA-TORY REEL CO. of 316 Fifth Street in Racine, Wisconsin. This version was widely advertised in the leading outdoor magazines of the time. An ad from the May 1917 issue of Outers shown below. When the reel was reviewed by O. W. Smith, Fishing Editor of Outdoor Life in the October 1916 issue he commented:
“The gyratory reel was brought to my home by the traveling representative of a certain hardware house, as ‘special’ he was then pushing. We tried it out on the street to the great amusement of a crowd which soon gathered, and they were not all fishermen either. The illustration gives a good idea of the reel, its rather odd name referring to the eccentric action of the spool, wobbling from left to right like the lodge goat with each revolution, laying the line from end to end of the spool. The lever, shown in the illustration, frees the spool from the crankshaft, so it is a free spool. It will be noticed that it is built in the handle of the rod – is a part of the rod. The crank is of a peculiar shape. All in all, I consider it one of the strangest creations ever produced for winding a line or casting. It certainly would handle a line in a manner to surprise the doubting Thomases who saw it perform, but a man would need to be possessed of more than a little courage to take the arrangement out in company on a bass lake.”
This type of review, along with the onset of World War 1, undoubtedly hastened the demise of the Gyratory reel and contributed to its rarity. By Phil White. (For more information, see Reel News back issue Spring 1996.) Reel Photos Courtesy of Lang’s Auction
HARDY (England)- Makers of the famous Hardy Perfect. Pictured is a variety of Hardy reels including an 1897 brass faced Perfect with early check (top right), a Silex bearing the “D” mark indicating it was made by (or under the supervision of) the famous Walter Dingley (top center), a circa 2012 Cascapedia designed by Hardy in the UK but manufactured in Korea (bottom center). Image courtesy of ORCA member Paul Manuel.
Patented June 19th, 1866, Anson Hatch of New Haven, Connecticut was awarded patent number #55,653 for his “Improvement In Fishing Reels”. Photo Courtesy of Jim Schottenham
HAWKS & OGILVY
HAWKS & OGILVY New York, Ball handled reels marked with the company name will be pre-1895. Most reels sold by the company were made by the Vom Hofe family of reel makers. Photos Courtesy of Lang’s Auction
In his book “A Treasury of Reels,” ORCA member and author Jim Brown writes that Haywood first appears in Chapman’s Birmingham Directory in 1800 as a brass founder and manufacturer of brass lamps and chandeliers at Morris’ Court, Hill Street. Andrew Race, owner of Reuben Heaton Ltd. in England and an authority on British reels, says Haywood started the foundry business in 1797 at 102 Hill Street, Birmingham.
According to Brown, Haywood “is first mentioned as a fishing reel manufacturer in Wrightson’s New Triennial Director of Birmingham (1815),
where he is described as a maker of brass fishing reels, ferrules for angle rods, walking sticks, etc. “His last appearance is in Pigot and Co.’s National Commercial Directory for 1828-9 (1829),’’ Brown writes. Mary Haywood, James’s widow, ran the business from 1829 to 1839, after his death. Mary lived from 1763 to 1846.
Haywood reels are found stamped either Haywood Maker or Haywood H [star] R. In most cases the stamping is on the front plate of the reel but in at least one case, included in my exhibit, Haywood Maker is stamped on the rear plate of a large salmon fly reel, photos of which are included with
this article. Reels are generally stamped Birm’m, for Birmingham, England. Although no documents or advertisements have surfaced to clear up the mystery about the H [star] R stamping, both Jim Brown and British fishing tackle historian and author Graham Turner theorize the letters came about when Mary Haywood and William Henry Ryder formed a business partnership. Brown writes, “Ryder appears to be the successor to Haywood. He began operations at the old Haywood address and advertised himself as a reelmaker, remaining in business at least until 1900 (joined by his sons about this time).”
Brown points out problems with that theory about the business relationship. Many of the H [star] R reels do not appear old enough to be
products made before Mary Haywood’s death in 1846. In his book “Fishing Tackle, A Collector’s Guide,” Graham Turner lists the Haywood firm operating from 1801 to 1839.Like Brown, Turner writes that Haywood’s business is first listed as operating on High Street, Birmingham but by 1803 he had moved to 71 Hill Street, which is when he was first listed as a reelmaker.
Writes Turner, “He made clamp foot winches in the early years, and later, ones with the modern type straight bar feet. He was one of the few early makers to stamp his name on winches, many of which must have been exported as they often turn up in America. “In 1823 he was trading from No. 102 Hill St. and extended his activities to making brass ferrules and walking sticks.”
After James died, Mary ran the business and was listed as a fishing reelmaker at 101 Hill St. By 1839 she was selling reels and brass ferrules
from a new address at Bath Row, Turner writes. She died Sept. 26, 1846, at the age of 83. Graham Turner makes no mention of Ryder or the possible Haywood and Ryder “H [star] R” connection in his book, published in 1989. However, Andrew Race says the H [star] R stamp dates a Haywood reel to between 1855 and 1858 in terms of sale at least.
According to Race, after James died in 1829, Mary continued as the reel maker at the same premises until around 1839 when she moved to 137 Bath Row and again in 1855 to 13 Wrottesley Street, Birmingham. Between 1855 and 1858 William Henry Ryder appears in business with Mary,
the company still at the Wrottesley Street premises and now listed as Haywood and Ryder (H & R). By 1862 Ryder is listed as a reel and tackle maker on his own. Ryder continued until 1903 when his sons are also listed as being in the tackle business. Information Provide by Richard Lodge. (For more information, see the July, 2014 issue of ORCA’s Reel News)LARGE & MEDIUM Versions are pictured below.
HAYWOOD MANUFACTURING COMPANY (ALSO SEE HUMPHREY’S)
HEARD & WILSON
The first reels to carry the “Heddon” name were the No.1 and No.2 “HEDDON’S DOWAGIAC” casting reels, supplied from 1912-1914 by A.F. Meisselbach & Bro. of Newark, N.J. The No.1 was identical to Meisselbach’s No.580 “Tripart”, with the single grip, while the No.2 was the same as the double-gripped No.582 “Tripart”.
In 1916 Heddon made a major decision to create their own reel making operation, hiring former B.F. Meek & Sons co-owner William Carter in 1917. He would help design a series of four precision Kentucky-style reels bearing Heddon’s name. They were the No.30, No.35, No.40 and No.45, which were only offered from 1918-1919. In 1919 Heddon hired Jack Welch to run the reel department. He had also worked for B.F. Meek & Sons, as well as W.H. Talbot. His collaboration with Heddon over the next 12 years would result in the creation of some of the finest reels ever built. They were the No.3-15 (built from 1920-1927), No.3-24 (1920-1924), No.3-30 (1920-1924), No.4-15 (1922), No.4-18 (1923-1925), No.3-35 (1922-1926) and the
Around 1926, Heddon again dabbled with selling reels supplied by other makers. The No.31AB “Waltonian” model would be supplied by Meisselbach-Catucci Mfg. Co., also of Newark, N.J. and the No.3 & 3AB “Indian Chief” models built by the Bronson Reel Co. of Bronson, Mich. These reels were never well-received by fishermen, much less James Heddon’s Sons and were discontinued after the 1928 season. It should be noted that two model fly reels, the No.26 “Little Rivers” and the No.125 “Imperial”were also available around this time. The No.26 would be short-lived, but the Imperial would sell for another 25 years. The famous No.105 and No.108 “Winona” trolling reels were also developed during this period, with both selling into the 1960’s.
Heddon would sign one of their most important contracts in 1929 with the Shakespeare Company, who would supply Heddon with virtually all their reels continuously until WWII. Among the popular Shakespeare-built Heddon models were the No.4 “Chief Dowagiac”, the No.215 “White House Angler” and the No.206 “Lone-Eagle”. During the 1930’s Heddon also unveiled three models of Automatic fly reels and the No.30 “Great Lakes” trolling reel (which would only last until the war).
After WWII, Heddon would again be supplied by Bronson, this time with the No.P41 “Pal” casting reel, which was offered in several standard and tournament variations. It was a big seller and would be joined in 1952 by the P51 “Dowagiac”, which our own Robert Ellis has determined to be a reel outsourced to Japan for manufacture. These were followed in the 1960’s by the No.25 and No.26 Heddon Pal “Pro-Weight” casting reels, also built and supplied by Bronson and which have become very sought-after by collectors. Heddon would go on to offer a line of nice quality salt water reels, among them Heritage series in four different models, with most being outsourced to either Japan or Sweden.
Starting with the No.240 and 250 “SpinPal” models in the early 1950’s, Heddon would offer a wide range of quality spinning reels for the next couple of decades. They are much too numerous to mention here! (Research by Mark Williams.) Images of Heddon 3-35 courtesy Paul Manuel.
HENDRICK, AUGUSTUS D.
Augustus D. Hendrick and his brother, George W. Hendrick, opened Whiting & Hendrick Brothers in 1884 in New Haven, Connecticut, as partners of Henry B. Whiting, an established rod maker. When Whiting left the firm about a year later, it was renamed Hendrick Brothers. “A.D. Hendrick, Manufacturer of Fishing Reels and Guides,” carried on alone after George left by 1887. A local businessman, Isaac J. Boothe, acquired the business and moved it to Birmingham by 1890, renaming it Star Reel Works. Hendrick remained an employee there until it was sold around 1898 and moved to Waterbury. He continued to work for his new employers until his death in 1901.
Hendrick specialized in reels made for the mass market, and his products competed with those of Andrew B. Hendryx, the better-known tackle manufacturer in New Haven. His single patented reel even lacked a spool. Its one moving part was a just a rod (arbor) on which the line was wound. Nevertheless, his reels were featured in the catalogs of such giants as Sears, Roebuck Co. and Montgomery Ward & Co.
Although some early Hendrick reels were marked “Whiting & Hendrick Bros.,” most of the reels made after Whiting left were probably unmarked. However, some or all had arrow-shaped levers on the tailplate to operate the click and brake. Soon after his brother left the partnership, Hendrick created the Mascot brand for his fishing reels. The name was trademarked by Isaac Boothe, but not until 1890.
Hendrick and his two sons were employed by Boothe at his Star Reel Works in Birmingham. Charles F. Loomis, a machinist at a nearby shop, patented a reel with a perforated, well-ventilated spool in 1890. In 1892, Hendrick received his only patent for what may qualify as the cheapest reel ever made in a factory. Star Reel Works manufactured reels employing both patents, a line of “Mascot” reels, and a variety of other reels. The company advertised regularly in national sporting magazines. See also Star Works Company.
(Information from Fishing Collectibles Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall, 1992, pp. 4-13) Courtesy of Steve Vernon.
HENDRYX, ANDREW B. CO.
Hermann, Paul – Maine
Regarding Dr. Paul Hermann’s reels, it is unfortunate that there are many who will never have the opportunity to see or handle one in person since there really aren’t that many total that were made. Reel making was not Paul’s livelihood but rather as he best put it “a labor of love”.
His shop was located on his and wife Kathy’s homestead property in the beautiful and historic town of Castine Maine. Paul started working on the design for his first Salmon reels in the early 1980s when he was unable to locate a Bogdan reel for his own use for Atlantic Salmon fishing. He spent several years on his design and on trying to come up with a unique drag system. He came to the conclusion that there was no salmon drag better than the Bogdan drum and shoe mechanism. Instead of using what he thought would be an inferior design, he decided to use the drum and shoe drag concept, similar to a Bogdan. Over the years his design evolved while going through 5 or 6 minor changes and 3 major “generations”, with the final generation being produced since the mid-1990s. The First Generation reels had delrin side plates, while all reels since, with the exception of the Large Trout models have aluminum side plates. In addition to his standard Salmon Model, along the way he added his trout model to the mix (commonly referred to as Baby Hermann), as well as, a few limited runs of special finish reels and also a few small batches of large trout /salmon reels with narrower frames for lighter fly lines.
For Salmon reels, Paul had initially planned to make 200, but at the end of production there were an estimated 213 total Hermann Salmon Reels made that include: approximately 5 with delrin side plates (these were the first reels), approximately 18 with nickel silver plated rims and pillars, 12 that were a narrow version “Dry Fly Salmon”, about 5 or so standard salmon that are in the white un-anodized that I refer to as the “Silver Salmons”, 5 or 6 that are a bit narrower than the Dry Fly and best suited for 6 wt or 7 wt lines referred to as “Sea Trout” models, and 2 reels that were wider than the Standard Salmon models that were intended as an experimental Tarpon reel. All of the Standard Salmon, Dry Fly and Sea Trout reels are multipliers and have a 7 position drag. The bulk of the reels which were the Standard Salmon models were available over the years with either silver anodized rims, or highly polished rims, and black anodized side plates, with a fairly even split between reels made as RHW or LHW. Paul designed his reels so that the serpentine handle and the internal drag mechanism impacting the direction of the drag adjuster knob was turned for greater tension were specific to RHW and LHW models.
For small fixed check trout reels, Paul had initially thought he’d make 100, but when he ceased making this model there were an estimated 112 total Hermann small trout reels or “Baby Hermann Reels” as they are sometimes referred to. Of this total number there were a few of the early reels that had nickel silver plated rims, but most have highly polished rims with black or in some cases deep plum colored aluminum side plates. Toward the very end of production Paul made 3 trout reels that were left “in the white. These are a very special reels.
A few years before Paul’s passing, he decided to build a small batch of 20 reels he called his “Large Trout”. These reels are the same basic dimensions as the “Sea Trout”, but are single action with a 7 position double brake shoe drag similar to that of his Salmon models. To lighten the overall weight of this model, Paul made the side plates of Delrin instead of aluminum and also made several of the internal drag components with Delrin instead of naval bronze.
Added together Paul made about 345 total reels spanning approximately almost 30 years of production as a hobby, or “labor of love”, which is pretty amazing when you consider he was a Doctor in his “Day Job”. Paul’s reels were always delivered in a bright colored soft pouch that were hand made by Kathy. Over the years, Paul & Kathy donated several reels to be auctioned or raffled for fund raising efforts in support of Maine’s Atlantic Salmon fisheries. Paul passed away in late 2016. Thanks to Mark Baker for the information and photos.
HOLMES, L. W.
HOLMES, L. W. L.W. Holmes fishing reels. Holmes was a reel-maker in Oronoque, Conn., from after WWII to the early 1950s. His reels are well machined but were designed to fit into the mid range niche of the market. Leslie W. Holmes, according to the city directory, was listed as a reel maker in 1945. He made 4 models or reels, with variations in most of the models. There was one non-level wind casting reel that had a sandblasted aluminum frame and may have been the best made of the lot. The reels were sold by Abercrombie & Fitch for a time, but the company’s demise came about by Hardy’s patent infringement lawsuits. Evidently, the reels resembled some of Hardy’s designs. Also, the post-war competition in the mid range was considerable. Although it appears the reels were made for five years, they are awfully hard to find. (For more information on the reels and the company see the Reel News back issue, Fall, 1999, by Richard Lodge.)
Pictures below, courtesy of Wayne Benson.
The E. (Ernest) Holzmann reels were made by him in Brooklyn, NY in the early 1900’s. He was born in New York City on January 17, 1859 to his two German parents. The 1880’s and 1890’s New York City Directories show his occupation as an Electrician and Instrument Maker. In the 1905 Brooklyn, NY Census, his occupation is still listed as an “Electrician.” It wasn’t until 1910 when his occupation was listed as “Fishing Reel Manufacturer” in the NY US Census. The 1915 New York City Census also shows his occupation as “Manufacturer of Reels.” Ernest died on December 8, 1919 in Brooklyn, NY.
Ernest was an avid surf fisherman. He received his first reel patent on March 4, 1890 and assigned half to August H. Dirkes. It included quick-apart features and a drag design. One listing of his accomplishments in surf casting can be found in the July 1893 edition of “The American Angler” magazine and reported by A.H. Dirkes. Using an “improved reel, a 8 foot, 8 inch rod and a 2 1/2 ounce sinker” he made 10 casts measuring from 240 to 272 feet. The “improved reel” was probably a version of his 1890 patent reel. A.H. Dirkes is later shown in a 1909 ad as being the selling agent for the Holzmann reel which was marked “The Wolf.”
Ernest received his second patent on October 9, 1900. It included a free-spool and a automatic drag designs. His third reel patent was granted on October 31, 1905 and improved upon his previous patent design. His fourth reel patent granted on April 16, 1907 provided further improvements to the drag design.
Since Holzmann was an avid surf caster, improvements in casting reels was not his only area of interest. He received a patent on March 26, 1907 for a surf rod design. The features of the design were a long tapered butt section to add to the rod’s elasticity and adjustable line guides. His second casting rod related patent was granted on October 15, 1907. It was for line guides that were adjustable and had features to prevent the line from tangling on the guide during a cast.
There are at least four basic Holzmann reel designs that have been found. The first resembles Holzmann’s first patent in 1890. The second resembles the design shown in the 1900 patent and marked “Surf King.” The third version resembles that shown in the 1905 patent with a free-spool lever. These models are larger reels used for surf casting. The fourth version is similar to the 1905 patent, but a smaller reel and intended for tournament or bait casting rather than surf casting. There have also been found variations of the four basic models. This includes jeweled bearings, mother of pearl end plates, Julius vom Hofe star drag, tournament reel modifications and unmarked reels. One interesting thing to note is that Holzmann’s 1900 patent “Surf King” reels have a Mother of Pearl patent date and name medallions. The name medallion has Holzmann’s name misspelled and missing is the last “N” in his name. Information by Ron Gast https://luresnreels.com/holzmann.html. Photos Courtesy of Lang’s Auction
HORROCKS & IBBOTTSON CO.
Picture of early “key wind” “Horrocks-Ibbotson Co.” automatic reel and box courtesy Paul Manuel
HUMPHREY’S (ALSO SEE HAYWOOD MANUFACTURING CO.)
INGLIS, JOHN- SHAKESPEARE, Inglis Reels of Canada: As with most reel companies of pre-world war era, John Inglis was one of the largest suppliers of war ordinance of the British Empire making ship engines and Bren machine guns just to name a few. Sales of the reels started prior to the war, but do to all the hostilities before the war, no contracts were signed until later. After WW2 they started making household goods including sporting goods and around 1947 they signed an agreement with Shakespeare to start producing reels and lures. With the precision machinery that they were already experts at using, they were quickly able to copy and produce most of the existing lineup of Shakespeare reels to the exact specifications and tolerances of Shakespeare. 6 models and a few rods and some line were the 1st to be added to the lineup and later models were added over the years. The boxes were and exact match to the Shakespeare boxes and along with the famous Shakespeare logo. Inglis proudly stamped every box and reel with their famous Inglis logo and stamped Made In Canada. Reels were made right into the 1960s and production was stopped to concentrate on making large appliances. Today Inglis is owned by Whirlpool and manufacture large appliances for the Canadian and USA markets, yet their reels still exist thanks to the high quality of their craftsmanship. Research and pictures are courtesy of ORCA member Tony Malatesta.
Pictured below from left to right are John Inglis Shakepeare reels, first is a boxed Criterion No.1960 Mod.GE (1946), a boxed Ultra 1984 Mod.GE (1946), a boxed shallow water diver lure, a Wondereel No.1922 Mod.GE (1946).
You may click on the pictures to enlarge.
Johnson (Dennison-Johnson) Mankato, Minnesota. Refer to the Johnson Reel Collectors Association website. Also, click on the following link for an article on Johnson Demonstrator reels written by Dick Braun (The Zebco Guy) and posted on Dr. Todd’s Blog Spot: http://fishinghistory.blogspot.com/2010/08/johnson-reels-marketing-genus-by-dick.html. Research by Dick Braun.
Here is a Johnson article by Dan Uchity:
The Johnson 100B was first seen in catalogs in 1963, so to answer your question, the first 100B’s were made as early as 1962. They continued on until 1979 in catalogs by the Johnson Reel Co. They were made in various shades of green and also a Century 100B Princess was made in Pink for the ladies. Prior to the 100B’s they were called 100A’s and Prior to this just Johnson Century 100’s. 1955 was the year of introduction of the Johnson 100.discontinued by 1979. After a hiatus of several years a 40th year Anniversary issue was provided for 1995. Production probably began in about 93′ for this 100B issue. This one was a dark green issue. From about ’95-’97, a lighter green 40th Anniversary issue was also issued. This green was a close match to the old original Johnson Century’s.
Also at this time was introduced the Johnson Century 100B Deluxe in a silver color. This version sported ball bearings and 2 pickup pins and infinite anti-reverse features. For more information, see the Johnson reel collectior’s site. http://www.johnsonreels-online.org/index.php
All the reels spoken of above were manufactured in the USA. It appears the USA manufacturing ended in 1997. After this the 100B’s were manufactured in China until sometime around 2000. Two 45th Anniversary versions were issued then. One was a dark green and the other was a gray color. Also, a silver 100B Deluxe version was also made there. The finish was not as nice on this one as on the American made versions. It appears that no more of these fine reels are made in 2010. It will be interesting to see if they are ever manufactured again.
An interesting piece of info for those who are into collecting these reels: The Century 100 reels from near the beginning to end of production
were also made for other companies who used their own Brand name on them. The color range goes from one that is tri-colored in black, tan and yellow, and color spectrums consisting of red, various shades of green, pink, gray, silver, copper, brass and gold. Dan
To some of your other questions: The Johnson Century can be found with names like Shy Poke, Ward’s, Ace, Hawthorne (another name used by Ward’s), Cook’s Premier, Revelation (Western Auto product) and Johnson, of course. I may be forgetting some others.
The Citation is a larger version of the Century with a larger line capacity. Besides Johnson, there is a version made by Johnson for the St. Croix rod company. It is a copper color. There may be other brand names on the Citation model, but I am not familiar with them. Altogether, over the years, I know of about 60 or so variations of the Century reels. They sit on my shelves.
The Pink Princess reels were not anodized and neither were the Shy Poke reels. I think the rest of the models were anodized. Research by Dan Uchity. What follows are reel names and dates from the catalogs as posted on Reel Talk, Jan 2, 2016:
Sidewinder 10 1949 10A 1950 20 1951 40 1951 40A 1952 60 1952 80 1953 22 1954 44 1954
Century 100 1955-1956 100A 1957-1962 100B 1963-1979 115 1981-1982 135 1981-1982 225 1983-1988 100B Dlx 1995-1999 2000 1994-1999
Century Light 105 1982 125 1983-1988
Century Pro 345 1982-1984
Century II 101 1979 111 1979
Chairman 820 1979-1981 830 1979-1981 840 1979-1981 850 1979-1981
Challenger 730 1979-1980 740 1979-1980 750 1979-1980
Charter 620 1979-1981 630 1979-1981 640 1979-1981 650 1979-1981
Charger 530 1979-1980 540 1979-1980 550 1979-1980 620 1979-1980
Seville 170 1979=1980
Chevron 35 1979-1983 ?135 1979-1983 ?230 1979-1983 ?
Citation 110 1956-1957 110A 1958-1962 110B 1963-1979
Citation II 111 1979 Commander 150 1969-1971 150A 1972-1976
Skipper 125 1971-1978
Crappie Pro 230 1987-1992
Country Mile 6 1988-1994 10 1988-1994 15 1988-1994 20 1988-1994
Magnetic Fly Reel 5 1958-1965 3 1962-1971
Single Action Fly 7 1965-1971 9 1965-1971
Scout 145 1979 95 1981
Sprite 200 1978-1979
Spirit 85 1981 90 1979-1980 111 1983-?
Cisco 65 1981 127 1979-1980
Strike 415 1981 435 1981
Force 315 1981 335 1981 320 1982 340 1982 525 1983-1988
Sprint 205 1981-1982 215 1981-1982 235 1981-1982 445 1983-1988
Champ 430 1979-1981
Research by Dan Uchity.
KALAMAZOO REEL CO.
The painted black and silver cans are for Kalamazoo’s factory standard reels, any can with a paper label is a trade reel and normally worth more! The Deschutes is for the Deschutes River on the California/Oregon border The Portland can only popped up on ebay last year and sold for $250.00 Two months later it was relisted at a Buy it Now for $20.00? In 1940 Kalamazoo and Shakespeare came out with the bell shaped crank knobs and post war no more reel cans! The ornate reel in picture No.9 does not have any markings on it and has hexagon jeweled end caps, it is the only one that has these end caps, I have seen several over the years. I set it next to a can I found by it self with no label, like to find the original can!
The Cast Pal No.35 reel w/can that sold on the Bay for $210.00, Pictures are courtesy of Tony Laws from Northport, AL R.E.
KEENE VALLEY ENGINEERING
KEWELL CO., INC
KIEST, HENRY A.
KILLIAN TACKLE COMPANY
KLEIN, C. R
The first reel patent described a means of covering a metal headcap with a disc of hard rubber. Half of the patent was assigned to Thomas B. Mills, of William Mills & Son, the New York tackle retailer. Mills catalogs featured single-action and multiplying reels made with the disc.
The second patent described a reel with a one-piece frame formed by folding a single piece of sheet brass into a U-shape to form two sideplates with an integral foot. Half of this patent also was assigned to Mills, and the invention became the basis of an extensive line of Mills “Eureka” reels, both single-action and multiplying.
Half of Kopf’s third reel patent was, again, assigned to Thomas Mills, and this reel was perhaps Kopf’s greatest legacy. He described a simple freespool clutch that employed a lever to swing the main gear toward or away from the pinion of a multiplying reel. Versions of his clutch were used by various reel manufacturers for decades, though few could match the beauty of the reel that Kopf made for Mills & Son.
The fourth patent was unassigned, and it described what is probably Kopf’s best-known design, for a sheet-brass reel foot that was corrugated to fit over the two bottom pillars of a reel. The foot was used on many inexpensive single-action and multiplying reels made by the inventor, many for the Boston retailer John S. Trowbridge & Co.
Around 1891 or 1892, Kopf moved his reelmaking to a factory in Whitestone, Long Island, owned by U.S. Net & Twine Co., which became the sole agents for Kopf’s reels. Nevertheless, he was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1893.
Kopf returned to Brooklyn, where Kopf & Ottmann sold tackle for a couple of years. When Ottmann left the partnership by 1896, Kopf established Kopf Reel Works, where he was joined by William Kopf, his brother or cousin. At the turn of the century, Kopf was still making fishing tackle, but he probably no longer was making reels. He declared bankruptcy again in 1900.
Kopf made reels with hard rubber, plain or plated brass, and German silver. He was one of the earliest reelmakers to use Celluloid for sideplates. Some of his later reels were made of aluminum. Few reels were marked with Kopf’s name, and even then, some were marked inside. Many Kopf reels, lacking maker marks, patent dates, or recognizable patented features, often remain unidentified.
(Information from Reel News, Vol. XVI, No. 1, January, 2006, pp. 4-14). Koph link and information courtesy of Steve Vernon.
L & S,
LANGLEY CORP (San Diego, California) The Langley Corporation was incorporated in 1939 to make dental equipment. The outbreak of WW II transformed the company into an aircraft parts manufacturer under the guidance of Henry Mandolf., a renowned aircraft designer and inventor. When WWII ended, Mandolf transformed the company into a national producer of fishing equipment with reels made of lightweight aluminum. Langley’s line of fishing tackle produced between 1946 and 1962 grew to 15 models of bait casting reels, 10 models of fly reels, 9 models of spinning reels, 5 models of spin casting reels, 59 models of fishing rods, a couple of lures and the famous De Liar scale. Improvements were always being made in each line as time went on, providing collectors numerous versions of Langley products to collect.
Langley’s flagship baitcasting reel, the Streamlite, weighed just 5 ounces and incorporated a perforated spool arbor to reduce backlashes. Other early reels included the narrow spool Lurecast and the freespool Target for tournament casters. All of these reels were made of anodized aluminum and became very popular. They had many features invented and patented by Henry Mandolf, a master at economizing in the production process. The Gearbox Control reels, introduced in 1948, used a Mandolf invention to allow the gears to be cleaned and lubricated without completely disassembling the reel.
After the Korean War, Langley introduced a very successful line of spinning reels, from ultralites to a large surf-casting model, the Spinator. New management took the company more and more into aircraft and aerospace work, with the tackle business waning in popularity. In fact, in 1962 Zebco Corporation, then a division of Brunswick Corp. purchased the tackle part of Langley Corp. specifically to produce Langley’s line of spinning reels, which they did into the early 1970s.
There is something for every collector in the fishing tackle Langley produced, some are common and some are quite rare, but all are colorful and built with precision. For more information on this great California company contact ORCA members Colby Sorrells, Nello Armstrong or Alan Baracco or write to email@example.com for information on ordering the book these authors wrote on the company (Langley Field Tested Tackle) that discusses the company in detail.
Top three pictures and research above are courtesy of Alan Baracco; left to right – Rare blond Streamlite and the early blue Model 310A . Langley Ultralite spinning reels. Colorful small Langley De Liars and boxes. Last two pictures courtesy of Jim Madden.
LAWRENCE TACKLE MFG. CORP
LAWSON MACHINE WORKS
LEWIS, R & L
LIBERTY BELL, CO
LITE MFG CO.
LONG, JOHN E. & CO.,
LONGFELLOW, a company that was in Fraser Mich. looks like they made a couple spinning reels, 1948 to 1955, according to patent # 2546465, and # 2712419, these patents were picked up by Shimano in the 1970s. They also had Bronson make a couple of casting reels, a No.CR2001 and a No.CR3001, for them. pictures are coming. To view one of their spinning reels look in this site: http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-longfellow-spinning-fishing-219271800
LOOMIS PLUMB & CO.
Image of nickel plated brass Loomis & Plumb automatic reel courtesy of Paul Manuel
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