B.F. Meek Reels – Louisville, KY

B.F. Meek reels were made from 1883 to 1892. He was a jeweler and watch maker in Frankfort, KY and had made J.F. & B.F. reels with his brother (circa 1839 to 1850). Later, he was partners with former fellow apprentice B.C. Milam and made and marked their reels “Meek & Milam” (circa 1853 to 1881). He moved to Louisville in 1882 where he established his reel making shop with his sons Pitman and Sylvanus. These reels were marked “B.F. Meek.” He is credited with making the first reel to incorporate spiral cut gears, jeweled pivot bearings and oil holes for the bearings. B.F. Meek reels are made of German silver material. They are sometimes found with gold sliding buttons for the click and drag. B.F. Meek, the reel maker, died in 1901.

Meek History – B.F. Meek’s son, Pitman, and his brother, Sylvanus, are credited with making the early reels marked “B.F. Meek & Sons.” Pitman started making reels with his father when it started as “B.F. Meek” in 1883. Pitman died in 1896. Sylvanus started reel making in 1886 and continued in the business until 1898 when the company was sold. They sold the company to the 3 businessmen Sutcliffe, Carter and O’Conner. For a 3 year period around 1900, they made reels that were marked “Blue Grass Reel Works.” This was a time when there was litigation between the Meek company and the Milam company on who can lay claim to the title of “The Frankfort Kentucky Reel.”

meek photo
Photo of B.F. MEEK

B.F. MEEK No. 1 Jeweled Reel

B. F. MEEK No. 2 Jeweled Reel

B. F. MEEK No. 3 Reels

B. F. MEEK No. 4 Jeweled Reel

B. F. MEEK No. 5 Reel

B. F. MEEK No. 6 Reel

B. F. MEEK No. 7 Jeweled Reel

To see a PowerPoint Presentation on B.F. Meek Reels, click on link below.

To see magazine articles written about the history of the Kentucky Reel, click on the links below.