Meek & Milam reels were made by B.F. Meek and B.C. Milam from about 1852 to 1881. The reels were made in the small size No 1 up to the large size No. 6. Benjamin C. Milam was a jeweler and watch smith by trade in Frankfurt, KY. He is credited, however, with being one of the earliest of the high quality Kentucky reel makers. During this time, Meek was in charge of the watchmaking and jewelry portion of the business. The earliest Meek & Milam reels have numbered screws that match the screw hole number stamped in the reel’s head plate. In 1881, Milam broke off the relationship with Mr. Meek and began making reels under the name B.C. Milam. B.F. Meek also began making his own line of reels at this time. Meek and Milam are considered to be a couple of the great Kentucky reel makers.
Later Milam History – The earliest B.C. Milam marked reels do not have serial numbers. Ones made after 1883 were serialized. He continued marking them this way until 1890 when he made his son, John Milam, a partner and they were marked B.C. Milam & Son. Reels made between 1896 and 1903 also incorporated the phrase “The Frankfort Kentucky Reel” in an arch above the B.C. Milam name. The reels would later be marked B.C. Milam & Son. The most interesting of the B.C. Milam & Son reels are the ones with large jewels for the spool bearings. These are scarce variations of the reels. The B.C. Milam & Son reels were made until 1928 when John Milam passed away.
MEEK & MILAM German Silver No. 1 Numbered Screw Reel
MEEK & MILAM Brass No. 1 Numbered Screw Reel
MEEK & MILAM Brass No. 2 Reel
MEEK & MILAM No. 2 Reel Variations
MEEK & MILAM Brass No. 3 Numbered Screw Reel
MEEK & MILAM German Silver No. 3 Numbered Screw Reel
MEEK & MILAM No. 3 Numbered Screw Reels
MEEK & MILAM Brass No. 3 Reel
MEEK & MILAM German Silver No. 4 Reel
MEEK & MILAM German Silver No. 5 Reel
To see magazine articles written about the history of the Kentucky Reel, click on the links below.
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