James J. Deally & Co. Kentucky Fishing Reels

James J. Deally & Co. Kentucky Fishing Reels

J. Deally - Louisville, KY

James Deally was born in Pennsylvania in 1825. He moved to Louisville, KY and was a locksmith that made locks and keys. His company was James Deally & Co. and he received a patent for a door key on May 29, 1860. The Louisville City Directories list him as a model maker from 1885 to 1891. He later on was listed as a fishing reel manufacturer and model maker from about 1892 until 1897. In the 1894 Louisville City Directory, he his listed alongside B.F. Meek as Fishing Reel Manufacturers. From 1898 to his death in 1901, he is listed as only a fishing reel manufacturer. He had the mechanical ability and realized the market for high quality reels. His earliest reels were not marked with the size number. Later, he followed the style of his fellow Kentucky reel makers and marked a size number on the reels. The reels have been found with both ivory and buffalo horn handle knobs. All of his reels are high quality and made of nickel silver. His reels are considered scarce and desirable by collectors. The reels have been found in sizes varying from the typical No. 3 size to the large No. 12 size.

The J. DEALLY Reels, circa 1895

The J. DEALLY No. 3 Reel, circa 1895

The J. DEALLY Reel No. 3 Size Reel, circa 1895

The J. DEALLY Reel No. 10 Reel, circa 1901

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

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


Ron Gast

Orlando, FL

Member and Co-Founder of Florida Antique Tackle Collectors, Inc. (FATC), Charter Member of Old Reel Collectors Club (ORCA), Member of National Fishing Lure Collectors Club (NFLCC)

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