On this page we will show only the Bronson trade reels that were made for numerous retailers, wholesalers and jobbers across the country, from the mid 1920’s until the late 1960’s. These will be marked with the retailers name or with a model name sold by them, rather than marked with the Bronson name. Some reels will have Bronson Reel Co. on their boxes, like the first reel (Allkast)pictured below, but that is the exception. Our goal on this page is to catalog as many Bronson trade reels as we can. There are many out there waiting to be discovered and documented on this site. Previously unknown examples seem to show up quite often, so if you have a reel that you suspect is Bronson-made and you don’t see it on the site, we’d like to see it. If we end up posting it here, we’ll gladly credit your name.
We have a separate page for Bronson reels made for and sold exclusively by Sears, Roebuck & Co. Use the link above. Please note that many reels sold by different companies carry the same engraved designs on the side plates. Starting in the 1930’s, Bronson salesman had a whole series of different engraved designs that companies could choose from. The Bronson factory simply had to add the company name and/or model to the reel. In many cases, we only have the model name of the reel and not the name of the retailer or wholesaler who sold them. If anyone has that kind information that we haven’t posted here, please let us know.
“Abbey & Imbrie ‘Broadway’ ” by Bronson
“Abbey & Imbrie ‘Ace’ ” by Bronson
“Abbey & Imbrie ‘Rex’ ” by Bronson
“A.L.& W.” (Allcock, Laight & Westwood Ltd.) by Bronson
“Allegheny” by Bronson
The second model “Allegany” is another economy reel very similar to the first one. Built just before the war, it would have been sold through any number of retailers. The reel, with the scarce original green box, is shown below.
“Allkast” by Bronson
“Ashland” by Bronson
“Bascaster” by Bronson
Also pictured is an ad for the Diamond King “Bass Caster” (note the difference in spelling). “Diamond” was a trademarked brand name owned by Shapleigh’s.
Pictures are courtesy of Jim Garrett and Skip Brooks.
“Belmont” by Bronson
“Blackhawk” by Bronson
“Black Jack” No.5400 by Bronson
“Brooklure” No.5, 10, 15, 16, 25, 35, 48, 51, 100, 250 and 350 by Bronson.
The No.5, the No.10 and the No.100 (shown below with the original box) appear to be the identical reel, with the same engraved fishing scene and the same components.
The first photo below shows a No.15 with plain side plates and jeweled end caps. The foot is date coded “38”, for 1938. The reel in the next two photos is the No.35. It was likely a post-war version of the No.15, but with the chromed end cap on the head plate and the Lashless-style A-B-L control on the tail plate.
The group of three reels in the photo are the No.25, No.48 and the No.250. These are pre-war models that appear identical, with the same Art Deco “leaf” design, jeweled caps, adjustable drag on the face plate and the A-B-L bar at the level-wind. It’s believed they were simply renumbered and maybe just represent different years of production. The original box for the No.25 is shown.
The No.16, No.51 and No.350 are plain sided reels. The No.51 was to be sold with a personal engraving. The last three photos are of a nice No.350. The No.100 reel pictures are courtesy of Daryl Rodenberger. Photos of the No.16, with original box, are courtesy of Dan from Dano’s Sports Antiques on eBay.
“Brooklure” No.20 by Bronson
“Brooklure Chief” by Bronson
“Brooklure” (Narrow Spool Version) by Bronson
“Brooklure Precision Bilt” by Bronson
See below for several more Bronson-made Brooklure models.
Dr.Todd Larson has written a fantastic lengthly article on the Spiegel’s Catalog Store and the Brooklure reel history (“ORCA Reel News May, 2009”). Dr. Todd also has a wonderful website on old reels, http://fishinghistory.blogspot.com/.
“Brooklure Precision Bilt” (Engraved Version) by Bronson
“Buddy” No.3801 (A.L.& W.) by Bronson
“Cascade” by Bronson
“Casta” by Bronson
“Caster” by Bronson
“Cedar Lake” No.V481 by Bronson
“Chieftain” No.450 by Bronson
“Clipper” by Bronson
“Coast To Coast” No.200 by Bronson
“Control Bilt” by Bronson
“Crest” by Bronson
A second version, sold through Wilson Sporting Goods around 1940, was a jeweled level-wind with the A-B-L bar and drag adjustment on the face plate. Pictures are courtesy of Skip Brooks, Jim Garrett and Jonathan Kring.
“Crestmont – Crown Quality” by Bronson
“Crown – New Era” by Bronson
“Daisy” No.9200 by Bronson
“Defiance” – See “Star Reel Co.” by Bronson
“Dependon” by Bronson
“Eppinger, Lou J.” Model 750 “Notangle” by Bronson
“Fairmade” by Bronson
“Game Getter” No.V-7325 by Bronson
“Gold Bond” by Bronson
“Great Lakes” by Bronson
“Great Lakes” No.312.9200 by Bronson.
“Hawthorne” Model 22 by Bronson
“Hawthorne” Model 233 by Bronson
“Hawthorne” Model 352 by Bronson
“Hawthorne” No.60-6316 by Bronson
Heddon “Indian Chief” No.3 and No.3AB by Bronson
Heddon “Pal” No.P-41, Walter Willman’s Prototype made by Shakespeare
The reel shown below has a crank handle off of a South Bend No.1250 Mod.E. It’s hard to see in these pictures, but the head plate is much wider on this reel than on the regular first Bronson version of the P-41. The drive gears are hollowed out for less weight. Also, there is an H stamped on the face plate at about 3:00 if the reel is sitting properly on its foot. It has standard Shakespeare drive gears and “#2” is etched in two areas on the inside of the head plate. Pictures are courtesy of Bob Garner.
The next two reel pictures are courtesy of Langs Auctions. The next photo shows a standard drive gear and a drive gear that has been hollowed. This process reduces the weight of the gear by 1/10th of an oz. Last pictures are of a Shakespeare version and two Bronson versions, courtesy of Ron Gast.
Heddon “Pal” P-41, P-41N, P-41L and P-41LN by Bronson
The reel in the first five photos below was the original “all-silver” No.P-41 that was introduced in 1947. It had a natural aluminum finish and came with a cork arbor. It also had the screw-down face plate. These would only be produced for two years, although in vast numbers, yet would still be illustrated on all the boxes for all the models for the next 13 years.
These were replaced in 1949 by the second variety of the No.P-41, shown in the next group of photos. These has black anodized side plates and can be found with black plastic, marbled white plastic or cork arbors. Bronson did away with the screws on the face plate and used the newer pillar extensions as alignment pins. It was much easier to disassemble, simply by unscrewing the head ring and was now a true tool-less “take-apart”. These would sell unchanged through the end of production in 1959.
The next version was the No.P-41N, also introduced in 1949, which was simply a narrow spool version of the regular model. Being even lighter, these were used by many in tournament casting competitions and are still desired by collectors. These can be found with the one-piece “featherweight” balsawood arbor. They would also sell through 1959. A couple examples can be seen in the last photos.
The fourth version was the No.P-41 L, a “special” lightweight and beautiful model that first appeared in the 1951 catalog. These came with anodized antique gold foot, level wind assembly & cover, crank handle and knurled head ring. They would sell for twice the price of the standard No.P-41 and also be available through 1959. An example is also shown in the second to last photo.
The No.P-41LN was the fifth version of the “Pal” series. It was the narrow spool version of the No.P-41L. It’s also one of the hardest to locate and is probably the version most desired by collectors. It made a late appearance, first showing up in Heddon’s 1957 catalog and only selling for three years. It can be seen below. Pictures and descriptions are courtesy of Bill Sonnett and Jim Madden.
*Note* A red anodized version of the No.P-41, the only one to exist that we know of, sold at Lang’s Auction on October 22, 2016. Lang’s was nice enough to allow us to use their auction photo, seen below.
Heddon “Pal” No.P-41S by Bronson
Heddon “Dowagiac” No.P-51. Made by Bronson?
We have been trying to track down people who might be able to help and have not been able to find any information…that was a long time ago for employees and no one can remember that far back…or there isn’t anyone we know that worked then. We have examples of both the P-41 and P-51 in their respective boxes. When examining the two reels closely, it’s obvious that their components came from different tooling, even though they are superficially similar.
Since all of the parts are similar, yet different, it would make no sense for Bronson to have tooled a completely different set of similar parts. There would have been no cost savings by doing that. If anything, it would make the P-51 more expensive, not less expensive. In 1952 the msrp (manufactured suggested retail price) for the P-51 was $9.75 and $13.75 for the P-41. It’s interesting to note that the P-51 box says “Built by the makers of America’s most famous bait.”
Since Heddon had not built a casting reel since about 1930, it seems to be a reasonable assumption that they imported the components from a low cost provider and “built” the reels in Dowagiac from those imported components. We have no documentation for any of these presumptions nor do we have any documentation for a country of origin for these parts. They could well have come from Japan but Heddon was also importing some early spinning reels from Sweden, so that should probably be considered as well.
We hope this has been helpful, Don
Heddon Museum, Don & Joan Lyons
We would like to thank Don and Joan Lyons of the Heddon Museum for all their help with this information. Photos below are courtesy of Mark Williams.
Heddon “Pro Weight Pal” Model 25 and Model 26 by Bronson
The first series of photos below show the No.26, which was the standard spool 100 yd. version. The last photos show the No.25, which was a narrow spool 75 yd. model designed for tournament casting. Besides the narrow spool, it has a large aluminum arbor and hollowed-out gears to reduce weight. The No.26 would sell through the 1969 season, while the No.25 would last be seen in catalogs in 1967. The pictures are courtesy of Picker Jim and Wayne Benson.
Heddon “Pro Weight Pal” Model 20 by Bronson?
“Hiawatha” No.6565 Reel by Bronson
“Hiawatha” No.6526 by Bronson
“Hiawatha” No.6515 by Bronson
Horrocks-Ibbotson No.103 by Bronson
Horrocks-Ibbotson No.233 by Bronson
Horrocks-Ibbotson No.235 by Bronson
“Huckleberry Finn” No.4340 by Bronson
“Imperial” No.806 by Bronson
Jamison “Practical” No.800 by Bronson
Jamison No.850 Reel by Bronson
“JayaR” No.33 and No.20 by Bronson
“JayaR” No.22 by Bronson
“J.C. Higgins” by Bronson
“Kast Master” by Bronson
“Keystone Crown Quality” by Bronson
“King” by Bronson
“Kingfisher” by Bronson
“Kussnomore” by Bronson
“Lakeside” No.585 by Bronson
“Latno” No.3620 by Bronson
“L.L. Bean” by Bronson
“Longfellow” No. CR 2000 by Bronson
“Meadow Brook” by Bronson
“Miles Bay” No. V-7355 by Bronson
“Mohawk” by Bronson
“Mohawk Zephyr Wate” No. 312.3600A Model 37 by Bronson
“Montague Clipper” by Bronson
“Montague Favorite” by Bronson
“Montague Flipline” by Bronson
“Montague Rapidan” by Bronson
“Montague Trail” by Bronson
Montgomery Ward & Co. Models by Bronson – See “Wards”
“National Crown Quality” by Bronson
“New Yorker Special” No.1880 by Bronson
“Northwestern” by Bronson
“Notangle” Model 750 by Bronson (see Eppinger, Lou J.)
“Olympian” No.94 by Bronson
“Oxford” by Bronson
The “Packard” Series For Marshall Wells Hardware Co. by Bronson
“Packard” No.3517AA by Bronson
“Packard” No.3517A by Bronson
“Packard” No.3517B by Bronson
“Packard” No.3517B2 by Bronson
“Packard” No.3517C by Bronson
“Packard” No.3517D by Bronson
“Packard” No.3517E by Bronson
“Packard” No.3517F by Bronson
“Packard” No.3517G & H by Bronson
The No.3517H was the same as above, except it nickel-plated and without the Dual Pawl.
“Packard” No.3517K by Bronson
“Packard” No.3517O by Bronson
“Paul Bunyan” No.100 by Bronson
“Paul Bunyan” No.99 by Bronson
“Paul Bunyan” No.66 By Bronson
“Pelican” by Bronson
“Pikie” No.2525 by Bronson
“Powell” by Bronson
“Red River” Model V 7345 by Bronson
The second variety was a less expensive version, made after WWII. It has white crank knobs, a fixed head plate end cap and the Lashless-style spool tension knob on the tail plate. The original box for this version is also shown below. Reel with the white crank knobs was donated by Jonathan P. Kring.
“Red Wing” by Bronson
“Reelezy” by Bronson
“Revelation” by Bronson
“Revelation” No.V7004 by Bronson
“Revelation” No.7346 by Bronson
“Rex” – See Abbey & Imbrie “Rex” by Bronson
“Rocket” by Bronson
“Simmons” by Bronson
“Sport King” Model 10B by Bronson
“Sport King” Model 10 by Bronson
“Sport King” Model 17 by Bronson
“Sport King” Model 21 by Bronson
“Sport King” Model 22 by Bronson
“Sport King” Model 69 by Bronson
“Sport King” Model 81 by Bronson
“Sport King” Model 233 by Bronson
“Stalwart” No.366 & “Stalwart Lashless” by Bronson
A “Stalwart Lashless” model is also known (shown in the last 3 photos below). This was a post-war version, with the Lashless-style A-B-L adjustment on the tail plate and with plain side plates.
“Star Reel Co.” Reels by Bronson
The next Star Reel Co.-marked non level-wind model shown is the “Defiance”, which was similar to Bronson’s No.2800 “Biltwell”. The “Defiance” was also available in a jeweled version, much like Bronson’s No.3300 “Biltwell”. (photos of this are forthcoming)These would have been produced from the late 1920’s and well into the 30’s.
Also shown is another version of the “Tournament Wellworth”, but with the Bakelite head plate. These all would have been built around the same time period. It’s shown with its original box, which indicates it was being distributed by Horrocks-Ibbotson Co. Reels donated by Mark Williams.
“Surekast” by Bronson
“Sure Stop” by Bronson
Recently, an earlier example from 1939 was discovered. Basically the same reel, but with the “39” date code stamped under the foot. It’s shown in the last three photos.
“Thunder Hawk” by Bronson
“Tioga” No.4200 by Bronson
“Titan” by Bronson
“Tomboy” No.243 by Bronson
“Top Flight” by Bronson
“Tournament Wellworth” – See “Star Reel Co.” by Bronson
“True-Form” No.V486 and “Tru-Form” by Bronson
“True Temper Cascade No.135” by Bronson
“True Temper Lakeland No.125” by Bronson
“Uncle Tom” by Bronson
“United States Reels” by Bronson, (Penn, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana), Plus a “Link” To Several More Examples
Here is a link to view several more examples of these “United States” reels by Bronson, with pictures of the reels, their original boxes and more. It’s in Dr. Todd Larson’s website, “Fishing for History”, a very amazing site on old reels and tackle. Click on:
“Unmarked” by Bronson
The second tear drop reel has the Silverlite chrome in black finish, with engraved crank handle, A-B-L switch on the face, the Duo-Click and hexagon jeweled end caps. Very similar to Bronson’s “Black Master” model.
Last is a jeweled level-wind reel stamped with what Bronson called a pleasing geometric design, exactly the same design as the first Bronson Mercury No.2550, but with a crank handle to match. All of these mid-late1930’s reels should be considered scarce.
“Unmarked” by Bronson
“Unmarked” by Bronson
“Valiant” by Bronson
“Victor” by Bronson (Trade Version)
Bronson also made a newer version of the Victor after WWII, which became a regular part of their lineup. It can be seen by using the “Bronson Named Reel Photos & Info” link at the top of the page.
Von Lengerke & Antoine (V.L.& A.) RARE PROTOTYPE by Bronson
The box label and accompanying hang tag state the reel is a “sample” for V.L.& A., produced in 1937-1938 and that it was “Not Taken”. We can only venture a guess as to the reason(s) it was turned down, but the cost of such a high-end reel, especially during the Depression, was probably prohibitive. The sample box, as well as the stamped leather case, are shown below. Reel is courtesy of Joe Klaus.
“Wards Kaster” by Bronson
“Wards Precision” and “Wards Precision” Model 10 by Bronson
The next reel is a later Wards Precision, identical to the model above, but with the same stamped design as the first Bronson Mercury No.2550. Bronson called it a “pleasing geometric design”. These were likely produced around 1941. The box would have carried the same store stock number.
The last reel is a Wards Precision Model 10, with an engraved “fishing scene” and with a foot date stamped “38”, meaning it was built in 1938. The Model “10” and “10B” reels were continued after WWII as the “Sport King” models. Last reel pictures courtesy of Chuck Castle.