Wheeler & McGregor Reels – Milwaukee, WI

Wheeler & McGregor reels were the first commercially available level wind reel. They called it the “Milwaukee” reel and it came in a wooden box. It also came in two different spool widths and were marked the No. 3 and the No. 4. The reel was sold mainly by the Wilkinson Co. in Chicago, IL for only a few years. It came in a nickel silver (German silver) and a nickel plated brass version. The reel was also made with two different designs for the worm gear cover. The first was more enclosed and the second allowed for easier oiling along the worm gear. The reel has two patent dates of May 29th and June 26th, 1894 marked on the reels. Nelson McGregor was the inventor and he assigned half to Cornelius Wheeler. The patents were for the level wind and for the direct drive of the crank handle to the level wind worm gear, respectively. Wheeler & McGregor reels are considered to be one of the great early reels in the USA.

The First Model No. 3 MILWAUKEE Reel, circa 1895

The Second Model No. 3 MILWAUKEE Reel, circa 1895

The No. 3 and No. 4 MILWAUKEE Reels, circa 1895

wheeler & mcgregor reels

Patent Date Markings on the Reel


The MILWAUKEE Reel Click Mechanism

The WHEELER-McGREGOR 1894 Patents


WHEELER-McGREGOR 1896 “Forest and Stream” Magazine Ad


WHEELER-McGREGOR 1897 “Gameland” Magazine Ad