Medley's 20th Century Kentucky Fishing Reels

Medley's 20th Century Kentucky Reel, Medley Reel Co.

Granville E. Medley - Hopkinsville and Gracey, KY

Granville E. Medley was born in Kentucky on May 5, 1854. He attended the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery and graduated with his doctoral degree in 1878. His first practice was in Baltimore, but he moved to Hopkinsville, KY in 1882 and practiced there. Even though he was a dentist by trade, his interests were in mechanical design and the outdoor life. Granville was granted 8 patents in his life. Three of which were related to fishing reels that would eventually be produced. Granville patented an automatic fly reel and the free-spool mechanism for a casting reel. The automatic fly reel was truly an innovative design. The patents for this reel were granted in 1892 and 1895 while Medley lived in Hopkinsville, KY. Medley's "20th Century Kentucky Reel" included his November 26, 1901 free-spool patent. The name implies he's bringing the classic Kentucky reel into the next century. The 1901 patent was subsequently acquired by B.F. Meek & Sons and incorporated into their product line about 1915. The "Free-Spool" feature and marking can be seen on a B.F. Meek & Sons No. 3 and Horton Mfg. Co. Meek No.'s 2, 3 and 4. The Horton Meek No. 6 also had the free-spool feature. A letter written in 1945 by Mrs. Ora Medley to the owner of the reel below gives insight into Granville's life. The letter can be seen at the bottom of this page.

The B.F. MEEK & SONS and MEDLEY Free-Spool Reels



(Photos of the Medley Automatic Fly Reel courtesy of Bill Graves)

The Medley Reel Co. Catalog, circa 1895

Classified Ad in the October 1, 1886 "Semi-Weekly Southern Kentucky" Newspaper

Medley Patent Description in the 1916 B.F. Meek & Sons Catalog

Mrs. Ora Medley's Letter to Medley Reel Owner

Link to PDF file of Mrs. Medley's Letter

Ron Gast Article about Granville Medley and the Meek Free Spool Reel in ORCA March 2018 Newsletter

Link to PDF file of Ron Gast's Article on Medley

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

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


Ron Gast

Orlando, FL

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