Jack Welch Reels – Dowagiac, MI

Jack Welch reels were first made when he was hired by James Heddon’s Sons in 1920 to develop a line of quality fishing reels to compete with the Meek reels. His contribution to the Heddon line of bait casting reels was the introduction of the level-wind models. He received 9 fishing reel related patents while at Heddon. 8 of the patents were for the 3-25, 3-35, 4-15 and 4-18 reel designs. The other patent was for integral reel rod handle design. The great windshield wiper design reels were sold in 1922 as a No. 4-15 and in 1923 and 1924 as a No. 4-18. The last of the high quality reels made by Heddon were the No. 3-35 (1921 – 1926) and the No. 3-25 (1926 – 1931).

Jack Welch left the Heddon company in 1931. He then made some reels marked “Hand Made” and with his own name also marked on them. He made both a casting reel with a level wind mechanism and a narrow spool tournament reel without the level wind. Apparently Jack did not make his reels for very long due to their scarcity today. It is interesting to note that in the 1920 Dowagiac, MI US Federal Census his occupation is listed as “Superintendent, Reel Factory.” In 1930 his occupation is listed as “Factory Manager, Bait Factory.” And then in 1940 his occupation is listed as “Proprietor, Cigar Store.” He died in 1969. Jack Welch reels are considered to be some of the great early reels made in the USA.


Jack Welch Collection

JACK WELCH Fishing Tackle Collection

JACK WELCH Tournament and Level Wind Reels

JACK WELCH Level Wind Casting Reel

JACK WELCH Narrow Spool Tournament Reel

The JACK WELCH Reels, circa 1932

The Narrow Spool Tournament Reel, circa 1932

The Bait Casting Reel, circa 1932


Jack Welch Box
Jack Welch Instructions

JACK WELCH Reel Box and Instructions

The JACK WELCH Patents


JACK WELCH’s Grave Marker


Another Great Antique Vintage Fishing Tackle Link:

https://luresnreels.com