An Orvis fly reel collection

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Mike N
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An Orvis fly reel collection

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BELOW
Top shelf, with riveted pillars and a circular “button” with stamped 1874 patent date on the back, are three Orvis 2nd Models, circa 1880.

Bottom shelf, with screwed pillars and removable rear bearing caps surrounded by the 1874 patent date, are two “No. 1, The Improved Orvis Reels” (often referred to as the 3rd model). They appear here on each side of a “No.2 Improved for Bass” model, circa. 1920 (middle) which also has a click button and is referred to as the “4th model” on luresnreels.com.





The three boxes on the right are original and made for the Orvis 2nd Model reels. The handles are removed for storage.

The box on the far left is different because it holds the Improved Orvis Reel (3rd Model) with a rear screw-off bearing cap for oiling. This “nipple” bearing cap protrudes further than the raised “buttons” on the 2nd models, requiring the box to be deeper and routed differently. Note that the handle and grasp are housed differently, on the opposite side of the box. I am still researching whether this box (far left) came with the reel or was made later. Comments on this are welcome.
Last edited by Mike N on Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by john elder »

It’s really coming together, Mike..a nice historical collection!
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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by RonG »

First time I've seen this many Orvis fly reels together highlighting the differences. Good job Mike!

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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

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Very, very nice !! Lots of history and information in your post. THANK YOU !! John

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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by Steve »

Spiffy! Most complete collection I've seen. :bow:

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Mike N
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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by Mike N »

Thanks, gentlemen.

I received a great message from Jim S. and he pointed out that when the Orvis reel and box were re-issued in the 1980s, the handle cutout was done differently from the original to alert buyers and distinguish the old from the new:

“... (the) box was issued with the commemorative reels Orvis sold in the 1980's. The space provided for the handle was purposely changed (grasp pointed up) to prevent folks from claiming it was an old, vintage box.”

Here is a photo of a reissued box (being sold as such) on eBay. NOTE that the grasp points upwards towards the hinges, indicating it was a reissue. :

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Mike N
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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by Mike N »

Let’s take one more esoteric look at “the box on the far left” of the four above. The grasp cutout does point upward toward the hinges, indicating a re-issued 1980s box.

However, would boxes also have been made for the 3rd Model Orvis earlier too, in 1910-20? Or, were wooden boxes for the 3rd Model only made later in the reissued 1980s? [Remember, think large “button” bearing cap on back = 2nd Model; smaller “nipple” bearing cap on back= 3rd Model.]

After all, in 1980 why rely on which way the grasp faced to mark a reissue box when it was just as easy to note that if the box had a lathe cutout insert for the smaller “nipple” rear bearing cap [indicative of a 3rd Model] rather than for the larger “button” rear cap [indicative of a 2nd Model], then it was a reissue? Compare the three original 2nd Model boxes on the right above, all which have the larger “button” lathe cutouts in the wooden box lid.

Here are a few closeups of “the box on the far left” first shown above. It passed the sniff test I use when examining old furniture for refinishing, in that it smells like old mildewed wood, not newer varnish. (Although, as my son pointed out, even a reissue/replica box is now 40 years old.)

Note also that it has rounded corners, rather than the sharp square corners of the known reissue pictured; a front locking mechanism consisting of a hook and a latch pin on top and a stop pin on the bottom, as well as hinges with small Phillip’s head screws, not brass tack nails as used in the original 2nd Model boxes. Recall that the 3rd Model reel likewise used screwed construction. I do not have a photo of the hinges of a known 1980s reissue box to see if they used screws or tack nails in the 1980s.

Closeups of “the box on the far left; could it be original 1910-20s rather than 1980s reissue...or not?





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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by Paul M »

Great post Mike! Here are pics of the re-issue box hardware:

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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by Midway Tommy D »

IMO, if it's a 1910-20s box the hinges or fasteners have been changed.
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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by Jim Schottenham »

Other things to consider;
As Jim Brown pointed out, Orvis was aware they needed to reduce the cost of the reel beginning in the late 19th century, moving to a cardboard box, away from the hardwood case. Many of the 3rd model reels, and none of the counter balance handle reels were sold in wood boxes - where would the counter-balanced screw-off handle fit into a wood box? Even the aluminum model came in a 2pc box.
Image
Image
Image
Recall that the 3rd Model reel likewise used screwed construction.
Yes, but not Phillip's head screws.

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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by reelsmith. »

Hey Mike !

I think you are only missing two models: the aluminum version and the first model (nickel silver and signed on foot).

What a great collection ...love all the boxes. Thanks for sharing it here and hauling it to Daytona.

Dean.
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Mike N
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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by Mike N »

Paul M wrote:Great post Mike! Here are pics of the re-issue box hardware:

Thanks for posting those photos, Paul. The “box on the left” in my collection is clearly a re-issue ca. 1980.

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Mike N
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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

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Jim Schottenham wrote:Other things to consider;
As Jim Brown pointed out, Orvis was aware they needed to reduce the cost of the reel beginning in the late 19th century, moving to a cardboard box, away from the hardwood case. Many of the 3rd model reels, and none of the counter balance handle reels were sold in wood boxes - where would the counter-balanced screw-off handle fit into a wood box? Even the aluminum model came in a 2pc box.
Image
Image
Image
Recall that the 3rd Model reel likewise used screwed construction.
Yes, but not Phillip's head screws.
Thanks, Jim. A little debate convinced me. Those Orvis cardboard boxes are incredible. I’ve never seen one before. They remind me of round Billinghurst green cardboard box we all love.






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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by Paul M »

Orvis used a box with fly reel sketch for flies too.

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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by john elder »

1st model...this wood box is not an original...(from the Mary Kefover Kelly estate)



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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by Mike N »

A lot a solid information here regarding Orvis. Paul M. asked to put it all up on the ORCA Facebook page and of course I agreed. Richard Lodge is going to put together a Reel News article from all of this. Sharing knowledge and debating its meaning is what our non-profit club is all about. Thanks everyone.

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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by reelsmith. »

A few more early Orvis boxes ...

Image

Image

Image

Image

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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by reeltackle »

A wonderful post about an Important American reel. It was great seeing this display in Daytona Mike and it was great seeing you there as well. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how this collection continues to evolve, hope you are able to find more great examples.
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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by Jason »

Great collection. Contact me if you need a gunmetal version to add to you collection.


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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by roycestearns »

Did the 1st edition lack a clicker? I read somewhere there were a few (?) produced before the clicker was added.

One more that's missing is the 2nd edition Bass riveted, wide spool, single handle.

And the earliest boxes were quite rough compared to the later boxes.

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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

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Did the 1st edition lack a clicker?
Correct - the tail plate side had a hollow spindle where the later stamped cap would be, that itself was perforated presumably to help dry the line. According to Jim Brown in his article on the Orvis 1874 variations, as of 1986 he was aware of at least three examples built this way, and only a few more have surfaced since then that I'm aware of.
One more that's missing is the 2nd edition Bass riveted, wide spool, single handle.
Back in October of 2003, as part of Doc Herr's collection, Lang's sold one in the correct box. so there is at least one out there:

(sorry for the poor quality - it's a photo of the catalog page)

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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by Mike N »

Jim, an Orvis box (only) just sold on eBay that appears deeper like the Doc Herr example. It was described by the seller as “Extremely Hard to Find Orvis Reel "Bass" (Wide Spool) Size Walnut Case.”
K
Here are some photos:







So the box above that just sold was 1-15/16” deep and 3-3/4” square.

By comparison my “Buckeye Exchange” label box shown above is 1-7/16” deep and 3-5/8” square.


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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

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reelsmith. wrote:Hey Mike !

I think you are only missing two models: the aluminum version and the first model (nickel silver and signed on foot).

What a great collection ...love all the boxes. Thanks for sharing it here and hauling it to Daytona.

Dean.
I wanted to updated this thread for future researchers, although these photos are also posted elsewhere. Thanks to a Montana collector, I finally acquired the aluminum version. Per the suggestion of Dr. Elder, I will be posting the weights of all these models as soon as the digital scale I ordered arrives.




Abercrombie & Fitch catalog, 1910, offering an aluminum option:

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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by RonG »

I am really impressed by Mike's enthusiasm and aggressiveness in putting together this fine Orvis collection in about a year's time. Collectors could take note on how putting one's mind to achieve a goal will reap great results. Way to go Mike and congratulations. I hope you bring the collection to FATC's Daytona Beach Show and ORCA's Frankfort Show.

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Re: An Orvis fly reel collection

Post by roycestearns »

Mike, Is the fourth edition marked with a # anywhere on the foot or inside? the reason I ask is, in repairing a couple of third editions both are marked with matching numbers on the parts (foot, outer plates, spool). Both were marked in similar locations #37 is stamped on the foot and scratched on the other parts. #17 is stamped on all parts except spool which is scratched. I've seen no numbered parts on the 2nd editions.






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