B.F. Meek & Sons Kentucky Fishing Reels

B.F. Meek & Sons Kentucky Fishing Reels

B.F. Meek & Sons - Louisville, KY

B.F. Meek & Sons reels were made for 24 years from 1892 to 1916. Sons Pitman and Sylvanus are credited with making the early reels marked "B.F. Meek & Sons". Pitman had started making reels with his father when the business started as "B.F. Meek" in 1883. Pitman Meek died in 1896. With the loss of Pitman and his own declining health, Benjamin sold the company. Sylvanus had started reel making in 1886 and continued in the business until 1898 when the company was sold. For a 3 year period around 1900, they also made reels that were marked "Blue Grass Reel Works." This was also a time when there was litigation between the Meek company and the Milam company on who can lay claim to the title of "The Frankfort Kentucky Reel." The company was sold to the 3 Louisville, KY businessmen Sutcliffe, Carter and O’Conner in 1898.

There are three grades of reels marked "B.F. Meek & Sons." The earliest BF Meek & Sons reels had fancy knurling on them including the rim of the reel's rear plate. The most expensive were simply marked No. 2, No. 3, etc. The mid-grade reels were the Blue Grass line. They were marked Blue Grass No. 3, 4 or 5. The above numbered reels and Blue Grass reels were made of German silver (nickel silver). The inexpensive line were take-apart type reels and were marked with the No.'s 25, 33 or 34. William Carter received 3 patents for these take-apart type reels in 1904 and 1905. In about 1910, the hard rubber and German silver reels were introduced. They came in sizes marked No.'s 6, 8 , 10 and the largest size No. 11. The reels were marked "B.F. Meek & Sons" until 1916 when the company was sold to Horton Mfg. Co. in Connecticut.

The No. 44 fly reel is by far the most sought after by collectors. It's simple, yet elegant design makes it aesthetically pleasing. The other reels that are scare are the larger size reels like the No.'s 6, 7 and 8. The No. 10 and No. 11 were the largest reels made by them. A unique and scarce Meek reel is one marked "CLUB SPECIAL." It's a No. 2 size reel with a larger than normal 1 3/4 inch wide spool. Another scarce reel that was introduced in 1915 was the Free Spool model. It incorporated the Nov. 28, 1901 Granville Medley Patent.

Meek History - Benjamin F. Meek was a watchmaker in Louisville in 1883 when he established his reel making shop. He had previously been partners with his brother and made reels marked "J.F. & B.F. Meek" (circa 1839 to 1850) and later with fellow apprentice B.C. Milam and marked the reels "Meek & Milam" (circa 1853 to 1881). He is credited with making the first reel to incorporate spiral cut gears, jeweled pivot bearings and oil holes for the bearings. His reels were marked "B.F. Meek" from 1883 to 1890. B.F. Meek died in 1901. All Meek fishing reels are collectable and those marked "J.F. & B.F. Meek" or "B.F. Meek" are very rare.



The B F MEEK and SONS Reels

The B.F. MEEK & SONS Reels


The B F MEEK and SONS German Silver and Hard Rubber Reels

The B.F. MEEK & SONS German Silver & Hard Rubber Reels


The B F MEEK and SONS First Model No 44 Reel 1 The B F MEEK and SONS First Model No 44 Reel 2 The B F MEEK and SONS First Model No 44 Reel 3 The B F MEEK and SONS First Model No 44 Reel 4

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 44 Fly Reel, 1st Model, circa 1895


The B F MEEK and SONS Second Model No 44 Reel 1 The B F MEEK and SONS Second Model No 44 Reel 2

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 44 Fly Reel, 2nd Model, circa 1900


The B F MEEK and SONS Third Model No 44 Reel 1 The B F MEEK and SONS Third Model No 44 Reel 2

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 44 Fly Reel, 3rd Model, circa 1911


The B F MEEK and SONS No 2 Reel 1 The B F MEEK and SONS No 2 Reel 2 The B F MEEK and SONS No 2 Reel 3

Early B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 2, circa 1895


The B F MEEK and SONS Club Special Reel 1 The B F MEEK and SONS Club Special Reel 2

The B.F. MEEK & SONS Club Special Reel, circa 1910


The B F MEEK and SONS Club Special Reel Variations 1 The B F MEEK and SONS Club Special Reel Variations 2

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 2 CLUB SPECIAL Reel Marking Variations, circa 1910


The B F MEEK and SONS No 2 Tournament Reel

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 2 Tournament Reel, circa 1910


The B F MEEK and SONS No 2 Tournament Reel

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 2 Tournament Reel, circa 1900


The B F MEEK and SONS No 3 Reel 1 The B F MEEK and SONS No 3 Reel 2

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 3 Reel, circa 1900


The B F MEEK and SONS No 4 Reel 1 The B F MEEK and SONS No 4 Reel 2

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 4 Reel, circa 1906


The B F MEEK and SONS No 3 Free Spool Reel 1 The B F MEEK and SONS No 3 Free Spool Reel 2

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 3 FREE SPOOL Reel, circa 1915


The B F MEEK and SONS No 4 Reels

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 4 Reels, circa 1905


The B F MEEK and SONS No 5 Reel 1 The B F MEEK and SONS No 5 Reel 2

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 5 Reel, circa 1905


The B F MEEK and SONS No 6 Reel 1 The B F MEEK and SONS No 6 Reel 2 The B F MEEK and SONS No 6 Reel 3

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 6 Reel, circa 1901


The B F MEEK and SONS No 8 Reel

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 8 Reel, circa 1899


The B F MEEK and SONS No 8 and No 11 Reels

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 8 and No. 11 Reels, circa 1901


The BLUE GRASS REEL No 3 and 4 Reels Made by B F MEEK and SONS

BLUE GRASS REEL No's. 3 and 4 Reels made by B.F. MEEK & SONS, circa 1900


B F Meek and Sons No 3 and 4 BLUE GRASS Reels

B.F. MEEK & SONS No's. 3 and 4 BLUE GRASS Reels, circa 1915


B F Meek and Sons No 4 BLUE GRASS Reel

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 4 BLUE GRASS Reel, circa 1910


B F Meek and Sons No 5 BLUE GRASS Reel

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 5 BLUE GRASS Reel, circa 1910


B F Meek and Sons No 3 Tournament Award Reel 1 B F Meek and Sons No 3 Tournament Award Reel 2

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 3 Tournament Award Reel


B F Meek and Sons No 3 Engraved Reel

Engraving on a B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 3 Reel


B F Meek and Sons No 11 Left and Right Hand Reels 1 B F Meek and Sons No 11 Left and Right Hand Reels 2 B F Meek and Sons No 11 Left and Right Hand Reels 3

B.F. MEEK & SONS Left and Right Hand No. 11 Reels


B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 8 Reel

B F Meek and Sons No 8 Reel 1 B F Meek and Sons No 8 Reel 2 B F Meek and Sons No 8 Reel 3 B F Meek and Sons No 8 Reel 4 B F Meek and Sons No 8 Reel 5 B F Meek and Sons No 8 Reel 6

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 8 Reel


B F Meek and Sons BLUE GRASS No 33 Reel 1 B F Meek and Sons BLUE GRASS No 33 Reel 2 B F Meek and Sons BLUE GRASS No 33 Reel 1 B F Meek and Sons BLUE GRASS No 33 Reel 1

B.F. MEEK & SONS BLUE GRASS No. 33 Reel Marking Variations


B F Meek and Sons Screwdriver and Oiler 1 B F Meek and Sons Screwdriver and Oiler 2 B F Meek and Sons Screwdriver and Oiler 3 B F Meek and Sons Screwdriver and Oiler 4

B.F. MEEK & SONS Screwdriver and Oiler


B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 99 Tackle Box

B F Meek and Sons No 99 Tackle Box 1 B F Meek and Sons No 99 Tackle Box 2 B F Meek and Sons No 99 Tackle Box 3

B.F. MEEK & SONS No. 99 Tackle Box


B F Meek and Sons 1898 Reel Ad

B.F. MEEK & SONS 1898 Reel Ad


B F Meek and Sons Reel Catalog

B.F. MEEK & SONS Reel Catalog, circa 1899


B F Meek and Sons No 10 Reel Ad

B.F. MEEK & SONS 1900 Outdoor Life Ad for the No. 10 Reel


B F Meek and Sons 1902 Ad

B.F. MEEK & SONS 1902 Magazine Ad


B F Meek and Sons Reels in 1904 VLA Catalog

B.F. MEEK & SONS Reels in "1904 VL&A Catalog"


B F Meek and Sons Ad

1907 B.F. MEEK & SONS Ad


B F Meek and Sons Advertising Cards 1 B F Meek and Sons Advertising Cards 2

B.F. MEEK & SONS 1910 Advertising Cards


B F Meek and Sons 1911 Catalog 1 B F Meek and Sons 1911 Catalog 2 B F Meek and Sons 1911 Catalog 3 B F Meek and Sons 1911 Catalog 4

B.F. MEEK & SONS 1911 Catalog


B F Meek and Sons 1915 Ad

B.F. MEEK & SONS 1915 Ad in Forest & Stream Magazine


B F Meek and Sons Tackle Box Ad

1916 B.F. MEEK & SONS Catalog No. 99 Tackle Box Description


B F Meek and Sons Free Spool 1 B F Meek and Sons Free Spool 2

1916 B.F. MEEK & SONS Catalog Free Spool Reel Descriptions


B F Meek and Sons 1903 Letter 1 B F Meek and Sons 1903 Letter 2

B.F. MEEK & SONS 1903 Letter


To see the B.F. Meek & Sons 1901 Catalog, click on the link below.

Link to B.F. Meek & Sons 1901 Catalog


To read a detailed history of Sylvanus Meek and the America Company by Ron Gast published in the ORCA Newsletter in September, 1916, click on the link below.

Link to History of Sylvanus Meek and The America Company


To see the PowerPoint Presentation made by Ron Gast at the 2013 ORCA Convention in Frankfort, KY, about B.F. Meek Reels, click on the link below.

Link to B.F. Meek Reels 2013 ORCA Convention Presentation


To see an interview with B.F. Meek contained in the April 13, 1895 Frankfort Roundabout Newspaper, click on the link below.

Link to B.F. Meek Interview in 1895 Frankfort Roundabout Newspaper


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


William Carter Reel Patents

William Carter Reel Patents


Granville Medley's 1901 Free-Spool Reel Patent

Granville Medley's 1901 Free-Spool Reel Patent



For any questions about vintage antique fishing reels, lures or tackle, please feel free to Email or Call me. I always like to talk about old tackle.

Remember, I'm always buying old vintage fishing lures and reels!

Email me at: ron@luresnreels.com or Call or Text me at: 407-496-7940

Thanks!

Ron Gast

Orlando, FL

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