A. Coates fly reels have the unique capability to be changed from a single action fly reel to a multiplying reel by simply moving the handle location. Side-mount fly reels were popular at this time. The design of his reel was undoubtedly influenced by his lifetime experiences. He was born in Ireland in 1831 according to the New York 1880 census. From 1863 through 1909, Abraham’s occupation is listed as “Machinist” in the New York City and later in the Watertown, NY city directories. Over a 30 year period from 1856 to 1885, Coates either personally received or was coauthor of seven patents. His first patent was granted on March 25, 1856 for a “Lamp”. His last patent in this group was granted on October 27, 1885 for a “Bobbin Winder”.
A. Coates fly reels were patented as a “Combined Reel-Handle and Fishing Reel” on March 20, 1888. Two versions of the reel have been found. One resembles that in the 1888 patent and the other looks like the photos below. The crank handle can be moved from the center post to the outer post to change the reel’s gear ratio from a single action fly reel to a multiplying action. Coates is considered to be one of the great New York reel makers.
The ABRAHAM COATES Fly Reel, circa 1888
The ABRAHAM COATES 1888 Fly Reel Patent