Wm. H. Talbot Reel Co name was changed to Talbot Reel & Mfg Co in 1913 when they moved to Kansas City, MO to make their high quality reels. The top of the line reels were the No’s 52, 53 and 54 with the second digit being the reel size. Talbot also made the size No’s 2X, 3X and 4X series reels. The second digit “X” on these reels signified what options came with the reel. Options included sapphire jeweled end bearings, sapphire jeweled journal bearings, click and drag. A No. 21 was the basic reel. A No. 23 had sapphire jeweled end bearings and the No. 25 also had sapphire journal bearings. The Niangua, Meteor, Mars, Comet and Star models were also made by the company while in Kansas City, MO. They continued to make the Ben Hur Fly Reel in the two sizes with 2 3/16 and 2 1/2 inch diameter end plates. They also made custom ordered reels for individuals with fancy embellishments. Talbot Reel Mfg Co made a special tournament casting reel for Al Foss and photos of it are shown below. The company is considered to be one of the early great reel makers in the USA.
Talbot History – The earliest Wm. H. Talbot reels were made in Nevada, MO from about 1895 to 1913. The first models made in Nevada were marked No. 2, 3 or 4 and had four screws attaching the head plate to the reel frame. Talbot received a patent in January 22, 1901 for a design that incorporated only three screws to attach the head plate. The top of the line model was marked No. 50. This model had clear sapphire jeweled bearings and an ivory knob. The forerunners of this high quality reel were the Levison Special and the Talbot Special. These models are very scarce. Other scarce models were the Talbot No. 60 and No. 75. The Niangua is also a high quality reel and was made with and without jeweled bearings. The most desirable reel for collectors is the Ben Hur fly reel. It came in two sizes and are considered very scarce. His bottom of the line of reels (if there is a bottom of the line for Talbot) are named after heavenly bodies like Meteor, Mars and Comet. These reels can also be found with and without garnet jewels for spool bearings. Talbot also marked his standard reels with the names of sporting goods and hardware stores stores like Gus Habich in Indianapolis, VIM in Chicago and Schmelzer Arms Co. in Kansas City.
In 1920, the company was sold to Richardson Rod & Reel Co. in Chicago. Richardson made standard Talbot reels and also made special free-spool reels for tournament casting.
The AL FOSS Custom TALBOT Reel
The TALBOT No. 52 Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915
The TALBOT No. 54 Tournament Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915
The TALBOT No. 54 Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915
The TALBOT SPECIAL Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915
The TALBOT No. 25 Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915
The TALBOT No. 21 Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915
The TALBOT No. 35 Tournament Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915
The TALBOT No. 35 Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915
The TALBOT No. 31 Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915
The TALBOT No. 43 Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915
The TALBOT No. 41 Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915
TALBOT Reel Numbering Examples
The TALBOT NIANGUA Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915, made for Schmelzer Arms
The TALBOT METEOR Reel With Exposed Jewels and with Bearing Caps, Kansas City, MO
The TALBOT STAR Reel, Kansas City, MO, circa 1915
The TALBOT STAR Reel Box, Kansas City, MO
The TALBOT COMET Reel Box, Kansas City, MO
The TALBOT REEL & MFG. CO. 1915 Catalog