Geo. W. Gayle Reels – Frankfort, KY

Geo. W. Gayle reels were made from about 1883 to his death in 1896. He was a silversmith and watchmaker by trade. Son Clarence made them after his death. The 1850 Frankfort, KY US Census shows George worked for Benjamin F. Meek as an apprentice. George later went into partnership with his son, Clarence, in 1883 and that is when they made their first reels. These first reels were solid brass. George and Clarence went to work for one of the major reel manufacturers in Brooklyn, NY in 1886 and 1887. When they returned to Frankfort in 1887, the first reels they made for sale were German silver with hard rubber end plates. The use of hard rubber for reel end plates was learned from George’s and Clarence’s reel making experience in Brooklyn, NY.

Geo W Gayle, the reel maker, was the impetus behind he and his son to start making reels. Clarence Gayle eventually became the main person involved in making the Gayle reels found today. His reels can be found made of solid German silver and of aluminum alloy. The “Standard” Gayle reel has a flanged head plate that looks like a man’s top hat. The “Frankfort Reel” style Gayle reels are the most ornate and heavily knurled reels. They are of the highest quality. The reels can be found marked G.W. Gayle as well as Geo. W. Gayle. In the late 1890’s, Gayle also made a reels for the famous tackle business “The Wilkinson Co.” of Chicago called the “Clark Model.” George died in 1896 and Clarence took over the business.

gayle brass no 1
Brass reel from Currey Gayle collection

The GEO. W. GAYLE & SON Brass No. 1 Reel

all gayles

The GEO. W. GAYLE & SON Reels

The GEO. W. GAYLE & SON Black Hard Rubber No. 3 Reel

The GEO. W. GAYLE & SON Red Hard Rubber No. 3 Reel

The GEO.W. GAYLE & SON No. 1 Reel

The G.W. GAYLE & SON No. 3 Jeweled Reel

The GEO.W. GAYLE & SON No. 4 Reel

The GEO.W. GAYLE & SON No. 5 Reel

The GEO.W. GAYLE & SON No. 6 Reel

The G.W. GAYLE & SON “Clark Model” Made for Wilkinson Hdw.

Uncleaned Copper Oxide on German Silver GAYLE Reel

gayle 1888 ad

Ad in December, 1888 “Wildwood Magazine” for Gayle Reels

gayle 1896 ad

GEO. W. GAYLE & SON 1896 Ad


GEO. W. GAYLE & SON Clark Model Reel 1896 Wilkinson Catalog

To read articles written about Clarence Gayle, click on the links below.

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