J Deally reels were made from about 1890 to 1900. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1825. Later in life, he moved to Louisville, KY and was a locksmith. His company was James Deally & Co. and he received a patent for a door key on May 29, 1860. The Louisville City Directories list him as a model maker from 1885 to 1891. He later on was listed as a fishing reel manufacturer and model maker from about 1892 until 1897. In the 1894 Louisville City Directory, he his listed alongside B.F. Meek as Fishing Reel Manufacturers. From 1898 to his death in 1901, he is listed as only a fishing reel manufacturer. He had the mechanical ability and realized the market for high quality reels.
J Deally reels were not marked with the size number at first like most Kentucky reels. Later, he followed the style of his fellow Kentucky reel makers and marked a size number on the reels. The reels are usually found with buffalo horn handle knobs. Most of his reels are high quality and made of German silver (nickel silver). Some models have also been found made of brass or aluminum. His reels are considered scarce and desirable by collectors. The reels have been found in sizes varying from the typical No. 2 size to the large No. 12 size. Deally is considered to be one of the great Kentucky reel makers.
The No. 2 Size Reel, S/N 43, circa 1895
The No. 3 Reel, S/N 103, circa 1895
The No. 4 Reel, S/N 149, circa 1895
The No. 4 Aluminum Reel, S/N 197, circa 1900
The No. 3 Size Reel, S/N 16, circa 1895
The No. 3 Brass Reel, S/N 57, circa 1895
The No. 10 Reel, S/N 200A, circa 1900
To see magazine articles written about the history of the Kentucky Reel, click on the links below.
Another Great Antique Vintage Fishing Tackle Link: