George Snyder GS Reels – Paris, KY

George Snyder, GS, reels were probably made between 1820 to 1840. He was also a watchmaker and silversmith in Paris, KY between 1803 to 1813. His son, George W. Snyder, Jr. was also a silversmith in Paris after his father’s death. There is some uncertainty, however, as to when Snyder made his first reel. In the 1954 book by Noble Hiatt “The Silversmiths of Kentucky, 1785 – 1850” the author states George built the first Kentucky reel in 1810. In Vernon and Stewart’s book “Fishing Reel Makers of Kentucky,” they estimate the first reel was made between 1813 and 1820. In James Henshall’s “Book of the Black Bass” one reel is marked “GS” and the date “Feb. 1, 1821.” This date we know for sure.  George’s Jr.’s son, James C. Snyder, was in business with him from 1845 to 1848. James Snyder continued as a silversmith until his death in 1852. Reels made by James and George are marked “J. & G. Snyder.”

It is thought that the Snyders made fishing reels between 1820 and 1840. These reels resemble in many ways the early British reels available at the time. George Snyder, GS, reels are the most desirable of reels for reel collectors. The only markings on the reel that identify them as Snyder’s are the initials “GS” or “J. & G. Snyder”. Regardless of the dates, George Snyder has been credited with making the first American multiplying (geared) reel. George Snyder his considered the father of the Kentucky reel makers.

More detailed information about George W. Snyder, Sr., George W. Snyder, Jr. and James C. Snyder can be found in the book by Marquis Boultinghouse titled “Silversmiths of Kentucky, 1785 – 1900” published in 1980.




Group of GEORGE SNYDER Reels

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