B.C. Milam Kentucky Fishing Reels

B. C. Milam, The Frankfort Kentucky Reel

B.C. Milam - Frankfort, KY

B.C. Milam reels were made starting in 1881 after Milam ended the reel business with B F Meek. He was also a jeweler and watchsmith by trade in Frankfurt, KY. He is credited, however, with being one of the earliest of the high quality Kentucky reel makers. Milam had started off in the reel making business in a partnership with B. F. Meek.  The earliest B C Milam 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 W. Milam, a partner.

Benjamin Cave Milam was born in Frankfort, KY in 1821. Mr. Milam earned a lot of respect in Frankfort because of his accomplishments. He was Captain of a Calvary Company in the war with Mexico in 1846. At that time, he was only 25 years old. Later, he was mainly involved with his reel making business. He was also very active in the business community. He served two terms as a member of the Frankfort City Council and was later president of the Council and mayor pro tem. In 1893, he was elected president of the Deposit Bank of Frankfort. B.C. Milam died in 1903.

Early Milam History - The first Milam reels were marked Meek & Milam. Meek & Milam reels were made under the partnership of B.F. Meek and B.C. Milam.  Reels that bear the Meek & Milam name were made by Milam from about 1854 to 1881, a total of 27 years. 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.



Photo of B C MILAM

Photo of B.C. MILAM


B C MILAM No 1 2 3 and 12 Reels

B.C. MILAM No. 1, 2, 3 and 12 Reels


Brass Reels Made by B C MILAM

Brass Reels Made by B.C. MILAM


B C MILAM No 3 Sterling Silver Reel circa 1885 1 B C MILAM No 3 Sterling Silver Reel circa 1885 2

The B.C. MILAM No. 3 Sterling Silver Reel, circa 1885


B C MILAM No 1 Reel circa 1885 1 B C MILAM No 1 Reel circa 1885 2

The B.C. MILAM No. 1 Reel, circa 1885


MEEK MILAM No 2 and B C MILAM No 2 Reels

The MEEK & MILAM No. 2 and B.C. MILAM No. 2 Reels


Fancy Model B C MILAM No 2 Reel THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL circa 1902 1 Fancy Model B C MILAM No 2 Reel THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL circa 1902 2 Fancy Model B C MILAM No 2 Reel THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL circa 1902 3

The Fancy Model B.C. MILAM No. 2 Reel, THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL, circa 1902


B.C. MILAM No. 2 Marking Variations

B C MILAM No 2 Marking Variations


B C MILAM No 3 Reel THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL circa 1902 1 B C MILAM No 3 Reel THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL circa 1902 2

The B.C. MILAM No. 3 Reel, THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL, circa 1902


B C MILAM No 3 Reel THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL circa 1902

The B.C. MILAM No. 3 Reel, THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL, circa 1902


B C MILAM No 3 Crank Handle Location Variations circa 1885 1 B C MILAM No 3 Crank Handle Location Variations circa 1885 2

The B.C. MILAM No. 3 Crank Handle Location Variations, circa 1885


B C MILAM Brass No 2

B.C. MILAM Brass No. 2


B C MILAM Brass No 3

B.C. MILAM Brass No. 3


B C MILAM Brass No 2 THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL

B.C. MILAM Brass No. 2, THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL


B C MILAM No 12 1 B C MILAM No 12 2 B C MILAM No 12 3 B C MILAM No 12 4 B C MILAM No 12 5 B C MILAM No 12 6 B C MILAM No 12 7 B C MILAM No 12 8

B.C. MILAM No. 12


B C MILAM Reel Catalog circa 1885

B.C. MILAM Reel Catalog, circa 1885


B C MILAM Reel in 1888 Catalog

B.C. MILAM Reel in 1888 Catalog


B C MILAM Wooden Box and Reel

The B.C. MILAM Wooden Box and Reel


To see an early B.C. Milam Catalog, circa 1885, click on the link below.

Link to B.C. Milam 1885 Catalog


To see magazine articles written about the history of the Kentucky Reel, click on the links below.

Outing Magazine, "Evolution of the Kentucky Reel", by Dr. James A. Henshall, Dec. 1900

Forrest and Stream Magazine, "History of the Kentucky Reel", Interview with J. L. Sage, Jan. 1915

Forrest and Stream Magazine, "More About The Kentucky Reel", Dr. James A. Henshall, Feb. 1915

Field & Stream, "The Kentucky Reel", by Robert Lincoln Page, March, 1930

Field & Stream, "My Old Kentucky Reel", by A.J. McClane, January, 1953



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Thanks!

Ron Gast

Orlando, FL

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