John Kopf Fishing Reels

John Kopf Fishing Reels

John Kopf - Brooklyn, NY

John Kopf made reels from the 1880's through the 1890's. Most of his reels are plain, unmarked and made of nickel plated brass. It is very unusual to find one marked on the outside. Sometimes they are marked on the inside under the head plate. He also did make high quality reels made of German silver. Kopf received 5 reel patents in 1884 and 1885. On four of his patents, he assigned half of each patent to Thomas B. Mills (son of the then deceased William Mills) and one patent completely to himself. His sixth patent for wooden fishing rod case was granted in 1890.

John Kopf was born in Bavaria (Germany) in 1857 to George and Apelona Kopf. In the 1870 US Census, his occupation is listed as working in a "Clock Factory". In the 1880 census, his occupation is listed as "Engineer". The 1884 to 1889 Brooklyn City Directories shows his occupation as "Fishing Reel Manufacturer." In 1900, John Kopf declared bankruptcy and later passed away  on July 21, 1907.

The JOHN KOPF Reel, circa 1890

JOHN KOPF Reel in July, 1887 "American Angler" Magazine

The JOHN KOPF Patents

The JOHN KOPF Patents

To see an article written by Steve Vernon on Kopf reels, click on the links below.

John Kopf, Reel Maker

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: or Call or Text me at: 407-496-7940


Ron Gast

Orlando, FL

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