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I mostly fish kayak inshore and fly rod in limestone creeks.  For my little bit of reservoir bass fishing, I've been known to cast wooden plugs (and prefer buzz baits) on my 1914 Talbot Niangua NLW with marked 1914 FE Thomas bait rod and braided silk.  

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What most people don't know about Meek and Talbot reels, the oil reservoirs on the end caps should be filled every day, because these reels used oil whirl for backlash control.  In a cast, you can hear the oil whirl, and it works so hard, the oil evaporates.  

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Even older, I've never fished, but it's a hoot to cast, 8'3" Chubb Henshall bass rod with Bluegrass 33 NLW.  It will slow-lob 3/8 oz to 150' easy.  Backlash control is imbalance wobble in the spool, and your grandfather may have glued a nickel inside his old Marhoff spool to get the same effect.  Doc Henshall first published the formula for this rod in 1876.  

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Marhoff's LW patent from 1908 forced everyone else to look into other LW mechanisms for the next 20 years.  It wasn't until Ambassadeur that a really good free spool and centrifugal brake became the norm.  Lew's (Shimano and Ryobi) and modern low profile baitcasters disengage the LW mechanim from the free spool.  The strangest LW mechanism was Pflueger's 1918 Douglas patent, also free spool and anti-reverse. 

The flyer falls forward during cast, and is disengaged from the spool.  On retrieve, the flyer pushes the line to either side, where the yokes pick up the line and drop it in the groove.  The arrow knob is a a tiny spring wire on a cam for backlash control, and works pretty well. 

They discontinued the 1st model Supreme when they could copy Marhoff.  But until Lew's, this strange reel would out-cast every other except NLW.  

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antique braided silk lines, btw, will last indefinitely if you dry them on a line winder to prevent mildew

 

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1 hour ago, Big Rick said:

Wow, beautiful rods and reels. Thanks for the history lesson. I'd love to see a video of them in action. I'm sure the sound alone is very unique. 

I agree ??

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thanks guys - I'll add these. 

The first centrifugal brake patent was Redifor, 1915, which was immediately snapped up by Pflueger.  

It consisted of two teardrop-shaped pawls in the spool flange, which rubbed on the frame rim.  

Unfortunately, it worked too well, and cost cast distance.  

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The best Marhoff copy I've ever cast, and the only one that will compete with NLW for distance is this Meek No. 30, made after 1928.  Like all Meeks, it's not intended for grease, but to oil daily, and you can see an oil port for the main gear.  The casting brake is a wool pad you dial into the spool flange.  

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throwing in a third, a postwar 3rd model Pflueger Supreme (this is still a Marhoff copy).  

The square-section steel rod is American Fork & Hoe, later TrueTemper, and this combo fishes 3/8-oz really well.  

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Hi Bulldog.  Some of us know you from ***another web site*** where we enjoy your varied and extensive (massive!) knowledge.  Where you say "Backlash control is imbalance wobble in the spool, and your grandfather may have glued a nickel inside his old Marhoff spool to get the same effect", I'm having trouble picturing this and how it worked, but am intrigued.  Do you by chance have any examples?  And thanks for the info about the oil.

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Hi friend.  

Until I discovered oil whirl in Meek and Talbot, I was afraid to cast them.  Now I'm really confident fishing my Niangua.  

The Bluegrass 33 is plain fun to cast on the long Henshall rod.  You feel the wobble in the Bluegrass spool and how it keeps the spool from taking off like the other NLW, Meek No. 3 or the Talbot.  

Both the Meek No. 3 and various Talbots were the tournament-casters reels of choice before ball-bearing Abu CT NLW, and some still use them today.  

I don't really have an example of a Summit or Marhoff with the nickel glued-in the spool flange, but it's been discussed before on ORCA.  (the Old Reel Collectors Association forum)

thanks for the question - hope my answer works for you.  

 

btw, if anybody wants to take up antique baitcasting, I strongly recommend the NLW reels of the 19-naughties and teens made by Shakespeare, Meek and Talbot, simply because of the cast distance advantage over all the Marhoff LW variants. 

The Shakespeare reels have really good bushings, and I have several friends across the country who have taken them up for their full-time bass fishing - of course on split-cane rods.  And yes, these guys fly fish first and foremost.  

Again, you want a line winder to dry your braided line, and it also lets you restore a hand-level wind when you get your reel ready to go out again.  

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Might as well add a bit with spinning reels.  

The Brits of course call our baitcasters spinning reels, because the spool spins.  What we call a spinning reel, they call a fixed-spool reel.  

Malloch's first patent for a fixed spool reel was from 1884, and by 1908, the Illingworth looked more like what we'd call a spinning reel, and left a lot to desire.  

Between the wars, spinning reels were largely clunky, the Helical which didn't interchange parts, and most prewar reels, are represented by Hardy's terrible bone thrown to the masses, the Hardex, 1937.  The only cool thing about this reel is its embossed royal patent "by appointment to HRH the late King George V", since the year before Edward had abdicated and stuttering Berty took the throne - a political statement in a fishing reel.  

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The Hardex introduction is all the more strange, since in 1932 Hardy's Altex patent gave us the space shuttle of fishing reels, still the smoothest reel I've ever fished up to the computer-balanced reels of the past decade.  With wartime extension, their flip-bail patent lasted until 1954, though everyone including Mitchell and Shakespeare ignored the patent rights several years earlier.  

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The strangest reel in this time period was the Allcocks Stanley, which spun the spool directly with eggbeater drive, and precessed the sheeps-crook line winder.  This twisted the line, and sometime in a day of fishing, you'd have to let all the line out and flip the spool.  

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Other than the incredible Altex, my choice for prewar smooth is the Luxor.  My older daughter's go-to choice for creek fishing was this 1937 Luxor with 4' Airex solid glass rod.  

Luxor lasted into the 70s as the Crack, and many still like them for offshore.  

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Mitchell came from the prewar Carpano & Pons (CAP), and this is the 4th model CAP, 1951, the half-bail that became the Mitchell 304.  

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Since I'm here, the first skirted-spool spinning reel was the Spanish Sagarra, 1948, still made today and fished offshore in the Mediterranean.  

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I'll add a note that in 1947, JW Young & Sons of Redditch produced the first worm-drive spinning reel, the Ambidex, also made until they closed shop in 2002.  

In the early 70s, high school, I fished through the gears in my Mitchell 300 over 4 years, catching fall Spanish macks from the jetties.  Probably wouldn't have done that if I had instead chosen a new Penn Spinfisher.  

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hi friend, no I have to try to focus a bit, because my real collection is between-the-wars fly reels and cane fly rods, and a couple back to 1915 (Leonard and Thomas).  I'm a bit noted historian of the reels, speculating and repairing other people's has bought a lot of tackle for me (also firearms, kayaks, bicycle parts).  

Along the way you pick and choose what you really want to keep.  I sold off a whole collection of half-bail spinning reels, and just kept a choice few.  Except for the 4400SS and 4200SS I bought new, and fished through both of them, my Penns are green 716 and 712.  

Thanks for asking.  

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10 minutes ago, bulldog1935 said:

hi friend, no I have to try to focus a bit, because my real collection is between-the-wars fly reels and cane fly rods, and a couple back to 1915 (Leonard and Thomas).  I'm a bit noted historian of the reels, speculating and repairing other people's has bought a lot of tackle for me (also firearms, kayaks, bicycle parts).  

Along the way you pick and choose what you really want to keep.  I sold off a whole collection of half-bail spinning reels, and just kept a choice few.  Except for the 4400SS and 4200SS I bought new, and fished through both of them, my Penns are green 716 and 712.  

Thanks for asking.  

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Ron, I have been a follower of your reel knowledge since Fiberglass Fly Rodders, but have moved to modern reels and rods. Your knowledge and photography skills have me needing to run down to the Hill Country for a shot at some Texas Brookies. Thanks for posting here and joining the madness.

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37 minutes ago, bulldog1935 said:

hi friend, no I have to try to focus a bit, because my real collection is between-the-wars fly reels and cane fly rods, and a couple back to 1915 (Leonard and Thomas).  I'm a bit noted historian of the reels, speculating and repairing other people's has bought a lot of tackle for me (also firearms, kayaks, bicycle parts).  

Along the way you pick and choose what you really want to keep.  I sold off a whole collection of half-bail spinning reels, and just kept a choice few.  Except for the 4400SS and 4200SS I bought new, and fished through both of them, my Penns are green 716 and 712.  

Thanks for asking.  

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Thats an amazing collection...  Two questions.

 

What is the reel and rod in the top of the wooden case?

 

And

 

Are those finger daggers in the bottom of the case second shelf on the left?  

 

 

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Yes, one thing I got into when I sold a valuable reel well was buying a custom knife, but I also have a small collection of finger-ring B&T beginning with Marble's.  

 

You are looking at a steel Stubcaster with a Pflueger-made 4Bros reel.  

The thing really works, especially with a slip bobber.  

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Super cool collection.  I doubt any of the new stuff today will be anywhere close to as usable 100 years from now.  
 

I have always wanted to throw some vintage, high quality fly rods to see how they compare to today’s offering.  I learned to fly cast ~ 20 years ago and I still tend to prefer the slower, more full flex rods I learned on to the super fast tapers most companies tout today.  

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Do you have any old Winchester bait casting reels?  My mom bought me an old bamboo rod with a Winchester reel. She like that I was supper happy with the rod and reel but was surprised when I told her I didn't want to fish with it.  She thought it looked like it would catch fish just fine.  After all she, spent $20 on it.  She would have a heart attack if she found out one one of my fly rods cost.

     I ended up giving it to an Uncle who collects Winchester guns.  I would have like to keep it, but the look on my Uncles face when he saw something Winchester he didn't own was priceless.  

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7 minutes ago, Msl819 said:

Super cool collection.  I doubt any of the new stuff today will be anywhere close to as usable 100 years from now.  
 

I have always wanted to throw some vintage, high quality fly rods to see how they compare to today’s offering.  I learned to fly cast ~ 20 years ago and I still tend to prefer the slower, more full flex rods I learned on to the super fast tapers most companies tout today.  

thanks friend.  

I'll show just this one because it has my Avatar on the reel.  

1915 Leonard Fairy Catskill, 8' G-braid (modern 3-wt), and Pflueger Golden West with a Rio Chama brown.  The reel came to me from Michael Sinclair, author of The Bamboo Rod Restoration Handbook, and the rod looked like toothpick stock in a leather box with other destroyed rods - Dennis Stone did a remarkable restoration job for me, and a chance to fish a legend.  

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4 minutes ago, king fisher said:

Do you have any old Winchester bait casting reels?  My mom bought me an old bamboo rod with a Winchester reel. She like that I was supper happy with the rod and reel but was surprised when I told her I didn't want to fish with it.  She thought it looked like it would catch fish just fine.  After all she, spent $20 on it.  She would have a heart attack if she found out one one of my fly rods cost.

     I ended up giving it to an Uncle who collects Winchester guns.  I would have like to keep it, but the look on my Uncles face when he saw something Winchester he didn't own was priceless.  

The problem collecting Winchester reels is the demand.  I had a beauty with bone handle grasp, and it burned a hole in my pocket - yes, I sold it. I'll also avoid showing my '85 Low Wall .22 field artillery with Creedmore sights.  

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Nice catch.  Wading a river with a fly rod hoping for a trout take is still they favorite way to fish.  
 

The best thing about trout is they seem to only prefer beautiful places to call home.

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3 hours ago, bulldog1935 said:

hi friend, no I have to try to focus a bit, because my real collection is between-the-wars fly reels and cane fly rods, and a couple back to 1915 (Leonard and Thomas).  I'm a bit noted historian of the reels, speculating and repairing other people's has bought a lot of tackle for me (also firearms, kayaks, bicycle parts).  

Along the way you pick and choose what you really want to keep.  I sold off a whole collection of half-bail spinning reels, and just kept a choice few.  Except for the 4400SS and 4200SS I bought new, and fished through both of them, my Penns are green 716 and 712.  

Thanks for asking.  

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Beautiful collection you have! The wood furniture is also very nice. 

1 hour ago, Msl819 said:

Super cool collection.  I doubt any of the new stuff today will be anywhere close to as usable 100 years from now.  

Back then they made things to last. I got Penn reels older than myself that still work great and have helped me land lots of big fish. Today lots of manufactures have their products made overseas where they practice planned obsolescence. Would be awesome if more business sent their factories back to the USA and made products that will last for decades. 

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ok, before Marhoff, I have Shakespeare B, s/n 127, made in 1909.  

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There's a sliding pin in the LW rider.  

It rides one way on one worm gear and a ramp at the end pushes it into the opposite track.  

It rides the other worm gear back the other way.  

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If you want to see a fortune of amazing reels, and antique tackle, lures look up Ron Gast's website, luresnreels *.  

Pay close attention to the 19th century Milam and (JF and BF) Meek reels (these are 5-digit value).  There were no hardware store screws.  Each individual screw was single-turned on a lathe, and the screws and their slot positions are numbered to match each.  

Every now and then somebody finds a pre-Civil-War Milam in an old barn.  Even in horribly corroded shape, they're worth almost 5 digits.  There was a box for a pre-Civil-War plug - no plug, just the box - that sold in auction for $12,000.  

 

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1 hour ago, soflabasser said:

Beautiful collection you have! The wood furniture is also very nice. 

Back then they made things to last. I got Penn reels older than myself that still work great and have helped me land lots of big fish. Today lots of manufactures have their products made overseas where they practice planned obsolescence. Would be awesome if more business sent their factories back to the USA and made products that will last for decades. 

thank you, friend.  

There's a local auction house, Vogt.  

Gene is a boon-doggler, and travels the world to buy out estates.  

All the antique dealers in the state make his Tuesday night auctions.  

You're bidding wholesale, because those dealers you're bidding against all have to make a profit when they resell.  

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On 12/9/2020 at 3:47 PM, WRB said:

...

My 1st baiting reels were Langley mfr’d in the 1940’s that weighed 4 oz and had light weight drilled aluminum spools, light weight isn’t new! I sold the 340 Target free spool to BR member.

...

 

Tom and I swapped a few pm's over his Langleys - these all-aluminum reels have a huge fan club.  And not just to put on a shelf - many people want these reels to fish on vintage cane and glass rods.  With lightweight spools, large arbors and very low inertia, they also fit right in with the modern trend to "bait finesse" and light lures on casting reels.  I asked him to post these - he said the photos were beyond his computer prowess and e-mailed them to me.  Tom, if you don't mind, I'm posting your photos of your Langley 340 Target freespool...

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The freespool works with a simple swage on the handle that grabs the main gear.  

You pull out on the handle to freespool, and push back in to engage the retrieve.  

Below is a diminutive prewar Shakespeare 1740 Tournament freespool that works exactly the same way.  It has alloy spool with balsa arbor.  I have it loaded with 4-lb silk, and it fishes 1/8 oz really well.  

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If any of you can contribute to this thread with photos, would love to see them.  

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