Julius vom Hofe reels were first made when he was an apprentice with his father Frederich vom Hofe. They established their business in 1857. He made and sold a large range of reels for a long period of time. He was born in Germany on August 6, 1837. Julius vom Hofe apprenticed with his father Frederich when they established their business in New York in 1857. That was 10 years before his brother Edward established his business. The firm “Frederich vom Hofe & Son” became “Julius vom Hofe” in 1882. He received several patents during his lifetime. The first Julius vom Hofe patent was on November 26, 1867. It was for the bridge over the drive gear inside the reel. His next patent was for the adjustable pivots for the spool end shafts on January 17, 1882. The patent was assigned to him and Charles Imbrie, of Abbey & Imbrie. The third patent was for the reel end plates being made of hard rubber with metal protective bands. This patent was granted on November 17, 1885. The other common patent date seen on his reels is October 8, 1889. This was for a rear spool bearing steel pivot and washer. Julius vom Hofe died in New York on April 19, 1907. His business was carried on by his two sons Julius, Jr. and Alfred. The Julius vom Hofe Company had 9 patents granted to Julius, Sr. and his son. One of his most important patents was granted on March 21, 1911 for the free-spool and gear designs seen on the B-Ocean reel. His last patent was granted on June 28, 1928 for an adjustable drag salmon reel. Julius, Jr. died in 1939.
Julius vom Hofe reels range from the highest quality solid nickel silver (German silver) reels to less expensive nickel plated brass and hard rubber reels. All of his reels are sought by collectors. His earliest pre-patent date reels were the ball handle or S-handle style and had a distinctive clover leaf logo stamped in the reel’s head plate. Julius vom Hofe made reels for a number of Sporting Goods dealers and marked them with his name and that of the company. This included companies like Thos. J. Conroy, Leonard-Mills, Abbey & Imbrie and von Lengerke & Detmold in NY. All of the reels pictured below are made of solid German silver or German silver and hard rubber.
The Julius vom Hofe Company made reels for about 80 years. A lot of the reel designs evolved over the years. As such, there are a large number of different reel models and sizes. The reel photos below are broken down into 4 categories – Fly Reels, Salmon Reels, Casting Reels and Big Game Reels.
To see copies of early Julius vom Hofe Catalogs, click on the links below.
JULIUS VOM HOFE 1914 Catalog
Another Great Antique Vintage Fishing Tackle Link: