Philbrook & Payne Reels – Bangor, ME

Philbrook & Payne reels were made by H.L. Leonard and are considered to be one of the greatest reels made by the New England States area makers. Hiram Leonard was a famous rod maker from Bangor, Maine. Francis J. Philbrook was a gunsmiths’ machinist and model maker also in Bangor, Maine. Philbrook assigned his June 12, 1877 patented raised pillar reel to Leonard and that was the start of the Leonard reel history. The earliest models have beautiful marbleized orange and black hard rubber end plates and handle knobs and are marked “Philbrook & Payne, Makers.” Philbrook was actually in partnership with Edward Payne and hence some confusion when one sees the name Paine on some of these early reels. Reels have also been found with Payne’s name spelled correctly. Marbleized fly reels and salmon reels have also been found unmarked and others marked “William Mills & Son.

Payne’s 1890 patented sliding drag bar can be seen on Philbrook & Payne reels and H.L. Leonard salmon reels. The next series after the marbleized versions were bi-metallic and had a nickel silver frame with bronze rims and pillar attachment tabs. The first bi-metallic fly reels had nickel silver spools and Philbrook’s 1877 patent date on them. Later ones had aluminum spools and the patent number. Either of these reels is considered rare and highly collectable. Most Leonard reels found are the later ones sold by William Mills & Son and are marked “H.L. Leonard, Patented” or “Leonard-Mills.” The Leonard-Mills reels were made for the William Mills Co. by Julius vom Hofe starting around 1900 up until World War II.


The PHILBROOK & PAYNE Bass Size Fly Reel

Philbrook & Payne Reels

The PHILBROOK & PAYNE Trout Size Fly Reel

The PHILBROOK & PAYNE Salmon Reel Marked “William Mills & Son”

The H.L. LEONARD Trout and Salmon Bi-Metal Reels

The H.L. LEONARD Bi-Metal Salmon Reel with Edward Payne Drag

The H.L. LEONARD Bi-Metal Salmon Reel Variation

The H.L. LEONARD Bi-Metal Fly Reel

philbrook ad

F.J. Philbrook Ad in the 1875 Edition of the Bangor, Maine City Directory


Francis Philbrook and Edward Payne Reel Patents


Another Great Antique Vintage Fishing Tackle Link:

https://luresnreels.com