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Pretty good read here as well. http://www.lews.com/ourstory.php

 

I thought this part was interesting. 

Quote

The Experimenting Began

Lew began experimenting with homegrown bamboo, figuring out the best growths to cut and how to temper and finish the poles so they would keep their shape indefinitely. His were highly superior products, but the problem was his United States sources for bamboo were limited and the costs for his treating processes required each pole sell for one dollar instead of the going rate of a quarter. “Fishermen will pay more for a better product,” became the motto of the man and the Lew’s brand.

Lew’s quest for a better bamboo pole took him to Japan. There he found the desired grade of bamboo, and a circle of businessmen who were interested in fishing and the U.S. market. Among them were leaders in manufacturing, plus a company named Fuji that was specializing in fishing rod components, the likes of which U.S. fishermen had never seen. Lew and Fuji formed a friendship and a partnership that brought the components into the American fishing market

 

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I have an original Shimano Lew's BB1 that I still use.  It's an awesome little reel.  Lew Childre parted ways with Shimano in about 1977 (and he would die soon thereafter) after they starting producing their Bantam 100 series.  The company worked with Ryobi from that point (BB-1N and BB-1NG) until the late 1980s/early 1990s when it was picked up by Browning/Quantum (still making the classic reels).  When Lew Childre died, his son Casey took over and my dad met him at a place called Zambor's in PA (used to be a pretty big store for it's day).  After some time off as a brand, they (Zebco/Quantum) reintroduced (or tried) to re-market the BB-1 models and even included a saltwater model.  In about 2007, one of the folks at BPS bought out and again reintroduced the brand making the reels in the same factory that they make Abu, BPS, and a few others and now have a TON of models.  I hope this helps.

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A friend of mine has 20 or 30 of those old shimano made lew's. He owned a tackle shop for 35 years and tournament fished them hard until the calcutta 50's and 100's came out... I had some of the V-spools growing up.

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I have an old Lew Childre bb25ss.  20+ years old so I can't tell who made it, definitely not shimano or browning.  When I hold it in my hands it reminds my why I switched to spinning for a decade or 2.  It's probably been used a dozen times and the action feels like pure garbage, heavy as a rock and feels like a soup can in your hand.  No disrespect to the man or his son, but it's amazing how far they've come.  I checked out several of their new reels when I bought my last baitcaster and they all felt very nice, light and streamlined.

 

Very interesting about all the brands made in the same factory.

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The BB25SS was not part of the original Lew's models.  It was that intermittent time from about 10-15 years ago (aright around 2002) where they tried to copy the classics and Lew's was owned by Quantum.  They also had a BB19 at the time.  You don't have a classic in that reel and that may be why it feels the way it does.

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That explains a lot.  Even more so Quantum being involved, they were the first baitcaster I owned and it certainly soured me on them.  I then ended up with the Lew's thinking I was getting a different company, but in reality it was just another Quantum.

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15 years ago, Zebco/Quantum owned Lew's and now they are owned by a company that manufacturers them in the same place as Abu and BPS.  Yes, now they are different animals.

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