Edward vom Hofe reels are considered to be made by one of the great New York reel makers. The company was established in 1867 and in business to the 1940’s. The first German silver reels made by him included the November 26, 1867 patent date. This was the Julius vom Hofe patent for the gear support bridge design. Edward’s first reel patent was on September 2, 1879 for an adjustable drag to apply pressure to the spool. In January 23, 1883 he also got a patent for a click device with an arrow shaped pawl and two curved springs. The July 14, 1896 patent for an automatic drag is best known by fly and salmon reel collectors and is seen stamped on the oil caps on the Model 423 Restigouche reels. The best known patent that is marked on the reel bearing oil caps is the May 20, 1902 patent and is for the star drag. This patent date is seen on the Model 621 Universal Star reels. Around 1940, the vom Hofe factory was moved from New York to Philadelphia. The company continued making reels up until World War II. Afterwards, the business was sold to Otto Zwarg in St. Petersburg, FL. Other vom Hofe’s associated with reel making are his brother Julius and his father Fredrick.
Dating the year of manufacture of Edward vom Hofe reels isn’t easy. All we know for sure is that the oldest reels were not serialized nor contained the model number. Later model reels had the model number, reel size and serial number stamped on the bottom of the reel’s foot. It has been speculated that the letter proceeding the three digit serial number signifies the year made. I personally have not seen any evidence to back up this postulation. Obviously patent dates give an indication of the first years made. This can be confusing since patent dates were used up until the 1920’s when patent numbers were used. Also, some reels containing old patent dates can be seen in catalogs from a much later date.
All Edward vom Hofe reels are of interest to collectors. The most sought after of his reels are at two ends of the size spectrum. Collectors seek the smallest size fly reels and the largest size big game fishing reels. The intermediate size salt water reels are also collectable, but more common.
The Edward vom Hofe (EVH) Company made reels for about 80 years. A lot of the reel designs evolved over the years. As such, there are a large number of different reel models and sizes. There are too many photos to include on one page. The reel photos below are broken down into 5 categories – The First Reels, Fly Reels, Salmon Reels, Casting/Salt Water Reels and Big Game Reels.
To see copies of early Edward vom Hofe Catalogs, click on the links below.
Another Great Antique Vintage Fishing Tackle Link: