An American Icon: the Orvis Patent 1874 Fly Reel

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Mike N
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An American Icon: the Orvis Patent 1874 Fly Reel

Post by Mike N »

Charles F. Orvis of Manchester, Vermont patented his iconic perforated fly reel in 1874. For the next two decades his reels were sold with form fitting walnut boxes. The very early models did not have a stamped patent date, but soon that information appeared on the rear button-sized bearing cap, followed by a third model with a nipple bearing cap.

Rare Orvis catalogs from the late 1800s (shown below) offered sturdier variations of the fly reel for bass fishing. While the Orvis reels were nickel plated brass, they were also sold in a light weight aluminum special order version.

The 1882 patented reel seats (shown below) which Orvis fitted onto his split bamboo rods locked the model 1874 fly reels in tightly using an ingenious center screw, teeter-totter design. While the fly reels were not serial numbered, the rods were.

The 1874 perforated fly reel appears to have been discontinued around 1920, although Orvis and others have subsequently produced commemorative editions which are easily recognized.










Mike N.
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Paul M
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Re: An American Icon: the Orvis Patent 1874 Fly Reel

Post by Paul M »

Beautiful collection, Mike! Thanks for posting this writeup too. The reel varieties and go-withs are fantastic. As a hobby builder of bamboo fly rods, I am also fascinated by the long cork sections that make up the fly rod handles. It speaks to an age of true craftsmanship before mass produced and highly processed materials became available.
Paul Manuel

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reelsmith.
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Re: An American Icon: the Orvis Patent 1874 Fly Reel

Post by reelsmith. »

Well done Mike !

That's a collection to be mighty proud of.

Dean.
Wanted: Kosmic Items, Small Leather Fly Reel Cases, Early Fishing Related Bottles, Fly Reels and Pre-1900 Angling/Casting Medals.

http://www.tackletreasures.com/

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kyreels
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Re: An American Icon: the Orvis Patent 1874 Fly Reel

Post by kyreels »

Great collection and photography Mike. I love the Orvis flies. I wonder if anyone ever found flies with the Orvis frog logo later adopted by the NFLCC? I also appreciate the rods, but I am just really starting to learn more about rods of this period.
Matt Wickham
Collector of Casting Weights, KY Reels and KY Tackle

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reeltackle
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Re: An American Icon: the Orvis Patent 1874 Fly Reel

Post by reeltackle »

You just can't tell the players without a program and you have given us one that details the chronology of this true American classic. Thanks for posting this display Mike also for all that you do for the club.
Ed Pritchard
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"Reels As Big As Your Head" Always looking for BIG game reels and anything else that might go along.

http://www.AntiqueFishingReels.com

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Steve
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Re: An American Icon: the Orvis Patent 1874 Fly Reel

Post by Steve »

Remarkable collection, Mike. Nice to see such a range of products from one source.

Steve Vernon
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NEW BOOK: ANTIQUE FISHING REELS, 2nd Edition
Website: Antique Fishing Reels

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

Fishgolfman55
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Re: An American Icon: the Orvis Patent 1874 Fly Reel

Post by Fishgolfman55 »

Hi Steve
Great article and display. Can you post a picture of the rods used in article. Interested in guides and wraps. I picked one up in fair shape and want to restore it. Also let me know if you ever want to part with a orvis reel that matches that rod from that era.

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54bullseye
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Re: An American Icon: the Orvis Patent 1874 Fly Reel

Post by 54bullseye »

Mike
I am not a fly rod and reel guy but sure looks like you know your stuff on Orvis !!! Nice display !!! John Taylor

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