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Articles

REELS AND REELMAKERS

Augustus D. Hendrick and the Star Reel Works: the Connecticut Connection
Originally published in Fishing Collectibles Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall, 1992, pp. 4-13

Augustus D. Hendrick produced fishing reels for almost two decades, either as an employee or as owner of several firms in New Haven and Birmingham, Connecticut. His reels were relatively inexpensive, but their sales through such outlets as the Sears, Roebuck catalog suggest that his products must have provided some competition for his better-known neighbor, Andrew B. Hendryx.

Check out some photos of Hendrick reels on my other site.

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Elmer J. Sellers and His Fishing Reel
Originally published in Fishing Collectibles Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 3, Winter, 1993, pp. 4-7

Elmer Sellers, a Pennsylvania pharmacist, patented a side-mounted fly reel in 1934 that was a modern version of the 1859 Billinghurst reel.

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Who's Yer Reelmaker?
Originally published in Fishing Collectibles Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 1, Summer, 1989, pp. 4-8

The American Reel Co. was founded in Indianapolis, Indiana, to produce a 10X-multiplying casting reel patented in 1882. The remarkable reel was actually manufactured by the Terry Clock Co. An addendum updates the article.

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Assailed in Two Cities: John Kopf, Reelmaker
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XVI, No. 1, January, 2006, pp. 4-14

John Kopf made reels in Brooklyn and Long Island over a two-decade period. Although some of his cheaper reels are easily and widely recognized, he also manufactured high-quality reels that were among New York's finest.

Check out some photos of Kopf reels on my other site.

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The Terry Clock Company's Fishing Reels
Originally published in Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc., Vol. 34/6, No. 281, December, 1992, pp. 713-716. A revision was published in Fishing Collectibles Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 3, Winter, 1994, pp. 12-15. This is a further revision.

The Terry Clock Company made fishing reels for about two decades in Waterbury, Conn., and Pittsfield, Mass., beginning with Silas B. Terry's reel patented in 1871.

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Fredrick Wilkie's Clutch Hit
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXII, No. 6, November-December, 2012, pp. 4-6

Wilkie's simple freespool clutch was included in a surprisingly wide variety of reels.

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The Clark Brothers and Their Slote Machines
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXV, No. 2, March, 2015, pp. 4-9

William Slote was an important reelmaker in New York City who began by making them for D.W. & J.D. Clark.

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Kopfing Up More Reels
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXV, No. 6, November, 2015, pg. 18

A reel advertised by Henry Squires and Thomas Chubb was made by John Kopf.

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Cranking Out Smith Reels
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXVI, No. 4, July, 2016, pp. 4-6

Harry J. Smith manufactured wooden reels in New York City, some with extendable cranks.

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The "Thunderbird Keahoni" Reel
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XIII, No. 2, March, 2003, pp. 10-13

Donald Breithaupt's unique reel was assembled by members of the Navajo Nation and endorsed by many celebrities.

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Jabez B. Crook, Pioneer Reelmaker
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XIX, No. 1, January, 2009, pp. 12-18

J.B. Crook was an early New York reelmaker who competed with, and was more innovative than, John Conroy.

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An Early Reelmaker from Vermont
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXVIII, No. 6, November, 2018, pp. 4-7

Charles Orvis was not the only early reelmaker in Vermont.

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James Golcher, Reel Manufacturer
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXX, No. 1, January, 2020, pp. 7-8

Known primarily as a gunsmith, James Golcher also made fishing reels.

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Matthias Horst, an Early Brooklyn Reelmaker
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXX, No. 2, March, 2020, pg. 4

Matthias Horst manufactured his own reels in Brooklyn for a few years. .

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A Pre-Indiana-Style-Reel Indiana Reelmaking Company
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXIX, No. 6, November, 2019, pg. 14

Lemon & Nessel founded a reelmaking company before the first Indiana-style reel was patented.

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HISTORY OF REEL FEATURES

The Smithsonian Institution's Fishing Reel Patent Models
Originally published in Antique Angler, November/December, 1984, pp. 1-4

It's not a large collection, but the Smithsonian owns the models for some important early reel patents.

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"Windshield-Wiper" Level Winds
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XIII, No. 1, January, 2003, pp. 4-7

There have been many designs for the unusual level wind line guides that swing like windshield wipers at the front of casting reels.

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Adjustable Brakes
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XIV, No. 4, July, 2004, pg. 15

An adjustable brake for a fishing reel was first patented in 1864, and reels have been fitted with them ever since.

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The Magnetic Brake
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XIII, No. 5, September, 2003, pg. 15

Anglers have been blessed with magnetic brakes in their reels since the late 1940s.

***

Julius vom Hofe 'n' Drag
Originally published in Fishing Collectibles Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 2, Fall, 1990, pp. 11-12

An Abbey & Imbrie reel, made by Julius vom Hofe and inscribed with a 1909 date, was equipped with a "star" drag years before star drags appeared on the famous B/Ocean reels.

***

SPINNING REELS

The Spinning Reels of Edward F. Small
This article combines two articles originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XI, No. 4, October, 2001, pp. 7-9, and in The Reel News, Vol. XVII, No. 5, September, 2007, pp. 4-7.

Edward Small invented several spinning reels, and his innovations were incorporated into reels manufactured and sold by at least five different companies. They include the "Cormorant," the Ocean City 350, the "Holliday" reels, some "Ted Williams" reels sold by Sears, and several spincast reels made by Horrocks-Ibbotson.

***

An American Original: The First Patented Spinning Reel
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XVIII, No. 2, March, 2008, pp. 8-10

The first fixed-spool reel for sport-fishing was patented in 1875 by two members of Baltimore's high society: Thomas Winans and Thomas Whistler.

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Origins of the Closed-Face Spinning Reel
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XV, No. 6, November, 2005, pp. 16-19

Closed-face spinning reels have been around longer than most fishermen realize.

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AUTOMATIC REELS

The Once and Future Reel: The Arrival of the Automatic Fishing Reel
A combination of two articles originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXI, No. 2, March, 2011, pp. 16-17 and Vol. XXI, No. 3, May, 2011, pp.18-19

The first automatic reels for sport-fishing were proposed and manufactured in early 19th-century England.

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Spring Fever in Kentucky
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXVII, No. 5, September, 2017, pp. 5-6

George Cook and Peter Ufer manufactured Cook's automatic reels in Louisville, Kentucky, around 1900.

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FISHING MISCELLANY

Fishing Around Philadelphia
Originally published in Pennsylvania Heritage, Vol. XVI, No. 2, Spring, 1990, pp. 24-31

Philadelphia and the surrounding area offered excellent opportunities for fishing during the 18th and 19th centuries.

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Andrew B. Hendryx Uncaged
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXVI, No. 3, May, 2016, pp. 22-25

Andrew B. Hendryx and his brother were heavily involved in the mining industry.

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Leonardo da Vinci's Reel Failure
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXIV, No. 3, May, 2014, pp. 5-8

Leonardo, despite having foreseen the requisite mechanisms, failed to incorporate them in fishing reels.

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A Reel Old Murder Mystery
Originally published in The Reel News, Vol. XXIX, No. 4, July, 2019, pp. 8-10, 15

Reel inventor murdered! A cold case...

***

OTHER TACKLE

Fishing Tackle From Eastern Pennsylvania: The Rods of George W. Burgess
A revised combination of two articles originally published in Fishing Collectibles Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 2, Fall, 1996, pp. 4-9, and in Fishing Collectibles Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 4, Spring, 1997, pp. 15-17

George W. Burgess manufactured canes, whips, umbrellas, and the like for a generation in Philadelphia before moving to Norristown, Pennsylvania, and going into business making fishing rods and other tackle. Beginning sometime around the Civil War, Burgess became one of the country's early rodmakers and experimented with various woods and methods of combining them. He almost certainly influenced, or was influenced by, Thaddeus Norris.

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Fishing Tackle From Eastern Pennsylvania: John Krider and the Sportsmen's Depot
A revision of an article originally published in Fishing Collectibles Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 3, Winter, 1997, pp.14-20

John Krider--gunsmith, hunter, ornithologist, taxidermist, fishing tackle maker--saw his small gunsmithing partnership in Philadelphia grow into one of the country's leading suppliers of hunting and fishing equipment. By the 1870s, he was manufacturing high-quality fishing rods of split bamboo, which he sold from his world-famous Sportsmen's Depot.

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