B.F. Meek & Sons reels were made for 24 years from 1892 to 1916. Sons Pitman and Sylvanus made the reels marked “B.F. Meek & Sons.” Pitman had started making reels with his father when the business started as “B.F. Meek” in 1883. Pitman Meek died in 1896. With the loss of Pitman and his own declining health, Benjamin sold the company. Sylvanus had started reel making in 1886 and continued in the business until 1898 when the company was sold. For a 3 year period around 1900, they also made reels that were marked “Blue Grass Reel Works.” This was also 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.” The company was sold to the three Louisville, KY businessmen Sutcliffe, Carter and O’Conner in 1898.
There are three grades of reels marked “B.F. Meek & Sons.” The earliest B.F. Meek & Sons reels had fancy knurling on them including the rim of the reel’s rear plate. The most expensive reels were simply marked No. 2, No. 3, etc. The mid-grade reels were the Blue Grass line. They were marked Blue Grass No. 3, 4 or 5. The above numbered reels and Blue Grass reels were made of German silver (nickel silver). The inexpensive line were take-apart type reels and were marked with the No.’s 25, 33 or 34. William Carter received 3 patents for these take-apart type reels in 1904 and 1905. In about 1910, the hard rubber and German silver reels were introduced. They came in sizes marked No.’s 6, 8 , 10 and the largest size No. 11. The reels were marked “B.F. Meek & Sons” until 1916 when the company was sold to Horton Mfg. Co. in Connecticut.
The No. 44 fly reel is by far the most sought after by collectors. It’s simple, yet elegant design makes it aesthetically pleasing. The other reels that are scare are the larger size reels like the No.’s 6, 7 and 8. The No. 10 and No. 11 were the largest reels made by them. A unique and scarce Meek reel is one marked “CLUB SPECIAL.” It’s a No. 2 size reel with a larger than normal 1 3/4 inch wide spool. Another scarce reel that was introduced in 1915 was the Free Spool model. It incorporated the Nov. 28, 1901 Granville Medley Patent.
B.F. MEEK & SONS Hard Rubber No. 6, No. 10 & No. 11 Reels
B.F. MEEK & SONS Knurled No. 2 Reel with Jeweled Bearings
B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 2 Club Special Reel Variations
B.F. MEEK & SONS First Model No. 44 Fly Reel
B.F. MEEK & SONS Second Model No. 44 Fly Reel
B.F. MEEK & SONS Third Model No. 44 Fly Reel
B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 3 Reel with Cone Bearings
B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 3 Free Spool Reel with Jeweled Bearings
B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 4 Jeweled and Owner Name Engraved Reel
B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 4 Reel with Jeweled Bearings
B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 5 Reel with Jeweled Bearings
B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 6 Hard Rubber Reel
B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 8 Reel with Jeweled Bearings
B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 8 Hard Rubber Reel
B.F. MEEK & SONS Reels Engraved for “Kochs” Family
B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 3 and No. 4 Blue Grass Reels
B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 11 Left and Right Hand Versions
B.F. MEEK & SONS MEEK 44 and a B.F. MEEK Size 3 (No Number) Name Engraved Reels
Robt. T. Kochs was the President of Theo. A. Kochs Co., a Barber Supplies Manufacturer
B.F. Meek & Sons Blue Grass Reel No. 25
B.F. Meek & Sons Blue Grass Reel No. 33
B.F. MEEK & SONS Screw Driver and Oiler
B.F. MEEK & SONS Tackle Box
B.F. MEEK & SONS 1899 Catalog
B.F. MEEK & SONS February, 1900 Outdoor Life Magazine Ad
B.F. MEEK & SONS 1902 Magazine Ad
B.F. MEEK & SONS 1903 Letter
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.
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