J.W. Hardman Reels – Louisville, KY

J.W. Hardman reels were made while he was a Jeweler and Watchmaker in Louisville, KY. They are of high quality and aesthetically pleasing. They are made of German silver and had an ivory handle knob. Dr. James Henshall in his book “Book of the Black Bass” describes that Hardman began making his multiplying reel in about 1843.

Jacob Wolf Hardman was born on June 7, 1801 in Little Skin Creek, WV. He had 9 brothers and one sister. On February 4, 1829 he married Maria Rodman in Washington, IN. He and Maria had 4 daughters with the the last one being born in Louisville, KY in 1840. From the Louisville newspaper listings of hotel occupants and Post Office mail holdings, it appears Jacob and Maria were living in Louisville, KY and across the Ohio River in Jeffersonville, IN. J.W. Hartman is listed in the Louisville City Directory as a watchmaker in the late 1840’s and in the 1860’s and 1870’s. It is thought he must have lived in Jeffersonville in the 1850’s, but still had his business in Louisville. Hardman died in Louisville, KY April 25, 1876.

One Louisville newspaper article in 1845 goes into detail describing a clock being made by Hardman. Another Louisville newspaper article in 1860 describes the craftsmanship and functionality of the Hardman multiplying casting reel based on a fisherman’s experiences. J.W. Hardman reels are considered to be made by one of the great Kentucky reel makers.


Hardman Reel in Henshall's Book
The Hardman Reel Shown in Dr. James Henshall’s book “Book of the Black Bass”
Louisville Newspaper Article about Hardman
Louisville Journal Newspaper July 28, 1845 Article About Hardman Building a Clock
Louisville Newspaper Article about Hardman
Louisville Daily Courier Newspaper October 29, 1855 Article About a Robbery Attempt to Hardman’s Business
Louisville Newspaper Article about Hardman
Louisville Dailey Courier Newspaper February 29, 1860 Article About the Hardman Reel
Hardman Grave Marker
JACOB W. HARDMAN Grave Marker in Jeffersonville, IN