H.L. Leonard, Philbrook & Paine,
William Mills, T. H. Bate Reel
H.L. Leonard, Bangor, ME
Hiram Leonard was a famous rod maker from Bangor, Maine. In 1877, Francis
Philbrook assigned his patented raised pillar reel to him and that was the start
of the Leonard reel history. The earliest models have beautiful marbelized
orange and black hard rubber end plates and handle knobs and are marked
Philbrook & Paine, Makers. Philbrook was actually in partnership with Edward Payne and hence
some confusion when one sees the name Paine on these early reels.
Marbelized fly reels and salmon reels have also been
found unmarked and marked William Mills & Son. Payne's 1890 patented sliding drag bar
can be seen on Philbrook & Paine and H.L. Leonard reels. The next series after the marbelized
versions were bimetalic and had a nickel silver frame with bronze rims and pillar attachment
tabs. The first bimetalic fly reels had nickel silver spools and the Philbrook 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. All the Leonard reels are high quality and sought after by
collectors. The company William Mills & Son was established in 1822 under the
name T. & J. Bate. The company name changed to Thos. Bate in 1836, to T. & T. H.
Bate in 1843, to Thos. H. Bate in 1853 and then to T. H. Bate & Co. in 1859. The
name was finally changed to Wm. Mills & Son in 1875. Reels marked T. H. Bate are
classified as New York ball-handled reels and are collectable.
The PHILBROOK & PAINE Fly Reel, circa 1877
The PHILBROOK & PAINE Salmon Reel, circa 1877
The H.L. LEONARD Bi-Metal Salmon Reel with Edward Payne Drag, circa 1890
The H.L. LEONARD Bi-Metal Salmon Reel Variation, circa 1890
The H.L. LEONARD Bi-Metal Fly Reel, circa 1900
The H.L. LEONARD No. 44 Fly Reel, circa 1910
The H.L. LEONARD Salmon Reel, circa 1905
WILLIAM MILLS & SON Aluminum Fly Reel
The LEONARD-MILLS Fly Reel
The LEONARD-MILLS 1938 Catalog
For any questions about antique fishing reels,
lures or tackle, please feel free to Email or Call me.
I always like to talk about old tackle.
P.O. Box 420703
Kissimmee, FL 34742-0703
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