Hardy Bros Ltd reels were made after William Hardy founded the company in 1872 in Alnwick. It was one of the largest makers and is still in business today. The early Hardy brass-faced Perfect reels are some of the most sought after reels by collectors. The reel was introduced in 1891. The design evolved through the years and is still made today. The oldest reels had a brass foot with a smooth top surface. The brass foot was later modified to have a rippled top surface. The later models have aluminum alloy foot. Other names found on Hardy fly and salmon reels are St George, St. John, Unigua, Silex and Cascapedia. Hardy made the Altex spinning reel and made a Big Game reel model and called it the Zane Grey.
The earliest Perfect reels are the most desirable to the Hardy collector. They have a Brass face on the crank side and have the early hand holding a fishing rod logo. The hand and rod logo was dropped by Hardy around 1906 and can help to quickly identify the age of a reel. During the early years, Hardy also made a less expensive alternative to the Perfect. It was called the Birmingham reel.
The most interesting casting reel made by Hardy was the Hardy Jock Scott. The HJS reel incorporated a free-spool feature which made it suitable for Tournament casting. The reel was made from 1938 through 1952. Two versions of the reel have been found.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Hardy made what they called the Lightweights. The years they were introduced were Featherweight (1958), Zenith (1958), Flyweight (1961), Princess (1962), St. Andrew (1962), St. Aiden (1964), and Husky (1964). The Husky has a heavy duty drag for large fish. Although Hardy reels are no longer made in England, the early Hardy Bros Ltd reels are considered to have been made by be one of the great UK reel makers.
The HARDY Brass Faced “PERFECT” Reels Circa 1895
The HARDY Brass Faced “PERFECT” Reels Circa 1900
The HARDY 1896 and 1905 Check (Drag & Click) Designs
HARDY “PERFECT” 3 1/8 Inch Diameter Fly Reel, Circa 1905
The HARDY “SUPER SILEX MULTIPLIER” Reel
The HARDY “PERFECT” 3-1/4 Inch Wide Spool Reel
The HARDY “JOCK SCOTT” Reel Variations
The HARDY “JOCK SCOTT” Jeweled Reel
The HARDY “ST. GEORGE” Fly Reel
The HARDY “UNIQUA” Fly Reel Early Model
The HARDY “UNIQUA” Fly Reel Later Model
The HARDY “SUNBEAM” Fly Reel
The HARDY “ALTEX” No. 2 and No. 3 Spinning Reels
The HARDY “ZANE GREY” 7 Inch Diameter Big Game Reel
The HARDY “PERFECT” and “ST. GEORGE” Fly Reels
The HARDY “HUSKY” Fly Reel
The HARDY “FLYWEIGHT” and “ST. AIDAN” Fly Reels
The HARDY “LONGSTONE” Fly Reel
The HARDY “NERODA” No. 9 Fly Box, Circa 1950
The HARDY “PERFECT” Reel in the 1899 Catalog