Do you know your reels?

1940s-1960s collectible fishing reels

Included in this photo are left to right: Penn Reel 1940s-50s, Zebco 1960s, Martin Fly Fishing Reel 1960s, and a JC Higgins Open Face Reel from the 1950s. 

While working on this particular blog post, we had to do a little research. We found this very interesting article on boatmags.com that will intrigue the novice and probably start a lot of debate among collectors and fishermen/women.  

Wikipedia relates an interesting development of the fishing reel and states that in 1651, English literature first reported a “wind” installed within two feet of the lower end of the rod. This is usually accepted as the earliest known written reference to a reel. However, there are examples of Oriental paintings that depict Chinese fishermen using reels of various sizes that date to the twelfth century.

Until the 1800’s the reel was used primarily as a storage device for excess line. However, in the 19th century there was a rapid development of the multiplying reel, which allowed reels to evolve into casting devices. Although multiplying reels were probably invented in Great Britain, the reels of George Snyder, of Paris, Kentucky, have become the most famous 19th century multipliers.

Did you realize that there was a “wind” or reel as early as the 12th century?

We certainly didn’t. But it seems they’ve been depicted in Oriental paintings. Fascinating!

The credit for the first multiplying reel in the U.S. goes to a Kentucky man. Sadly, not having patented or trademarked it, it was soon copied by others. The following quote is from Kentucky Monthly:

Snyder was born in or about 1780 in Pennsylvania and moved to Kentucky around 1803, settling in Paris. He was a watchmaker and silversmith, and also an avid and apparently skilled fisherman who is credited with building the first multiplying reel in the United States. Snyder owned, or had at least seen, a British-made 1-to-1 level wind reel and likely developed his multiplying design from this simple tool.

So, yes, we encourage you to stop in and browse our shop. Whether you’re looking for a reel or any other item from our “Collection of Collections,”, we’ll be watchin’ for ya!