William Wm. Mills & Son Fishing Reels

William Mills & Son Reels

William Wm. Mills & Son, T. H. Bate & Co. Fishing Reels - New York, NY

William Mills & Son reels were sold by one of the longest run sporting goods stores in the USA. The company was started in 1822 under the name T. & J. Bate. The company name changed to Thos. Bate in 1836, to T. & T. H. Bate in 1843, to Thos. H. Bate in 1853 and then to T. H. Bate & Co. in 1859. The name was finally changed to Wm. Mills & Son in 1875.

Probably the most famous brand name reels sold by Wm. Mills were those by H.L. Leonard. Hiram Leonard was a famous rod maker from Bangor, Maine. In 1877, Francis Philbrook assigned his patented raised pillar reel to him and that was the start of the Leonard reel history. The earliest models have beautiful marbleized orange and black hard rubber end plates and handle knobs and are marked Philbrook & Paine, Makers. Marbleized fly reels and salmon reels have also been found unmarked and marked William Mills & Son. The next series were bimetallic and had nickel silver frame with bronze rims and pillar attachment tabs. The first bimetallic fly reels had nickel silver spools and later ones had aluminum ones. Either of these reels is considered rare and highly collectable. Most Leonard reels found are the later ones sold by William Mills & Son and are marked "H.L. Leonard, Patented" or "Leonard-Mills." The Leonard-Mills reels were made for the William Mills Co. by Julius vom Hofe starting around 1900 up until World War II. All the Leonard reels are high quality and sought after by collectors. Reels marked Philbrook & Paine or T. H. Bate are also highly collectable.

William Mills & Son reels were not made by them. Reels made by Julius vom Hofe and other New York reel makers were marked with "William Mills & Son" for them. They offered these reels made specifically for them. Reels that were made by Geo. Gayle & Son for them were named "INTRINSIC." One was a high quality bait casting reel of German silver with an aluminum spool. It came in two variations and in No. 2 and No. 3 sizes. One version had a flanged head plate and the other was a standard Kentucky style reel. Gayle also made a 9/0 size reel made of German silver with hard rubber end plates. William Mills & Son is considered one of the great New York tackle dealers.



William Mills & Son reels

Company History from William Mills & Son Catalog


William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels

The T.H. BATE & CO.  Reel, circa 1860


William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels

The T.H. BATE & CO.  Reel, circa 1860


William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels

The WILLIAM MILLS & SON Brass Reel, circa 1880


William Mills & Son reels

The PHILBROOK & PAINE Fly Reel, circa 1877


William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels

The PHILBROOK & PAINE Salmon Reel, circa 1877


William Mills & Son reels

The H.L. LEONARD Bi-Metal Fly Reel, circa 1900


William Mills & Son reels

The H.L. LEONARD Salmon Reel, circa 1905


William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels

WILLIAM MILLS & SON Aluminum Fly Reel


William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels

The LEONARD-MILLS Salmon Reel


William Mills & Son reels

The LEONARD-MILLS Fly Reel


William Mills & Son reels

The WILLIAM MILLS & SON "Intrinsic" Reels


William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels

The WILLIAM MILLS & SON "INTRINSIC" Reels Made by GEO. GAYLE & SON


William Mills & Son reels

The WILLIAM MILLS "INTRINSIC" Variations


William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels

The WILLIAM MILLS "INTRINSIC" Tarpon Reel by GEO. GAYLE & SON


William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels William Mills & Son reels

The WILLIAM MILLS "INTRINSIC" Casting Reel by Julius vom Hofe


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WILLIAM MILLS & SON August, 1880 Forest and Stream Magazine Ad


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WILLIAM MILLS & SON June 2, 1888 American Angler Magazine Ad


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1909 Catalog Images of The WILLIAM MILLS "INTRINSIC" Reels


The WILLIAM MILLS & SON 1933 Catalog Pages

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The WILLIAM MILLS & SON 1933 Catalog Pages


The WILLIAM MILLS & SON 1938 Catalog Page

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The WILLIAM MILLS & SON 1938 Catalog Page


The WILLIAM MILLS & SON 1954 Catalog Page

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The WILLIAM MILLS & SON 1954 Catalog Page


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The WILLIAM MILLS & SON 1958 Catalog Page


The JULIUS vom HOFE June 12, 1928 Patent Used on William Mills Salmon Reels

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The JULIUS vom HOFE June 12, 1928 Patent Used on William Mills Salmon Reels


To see 1899 William Mills & Son Catalog click on the link below.

Link to 1899 William Mills & Son Catalog

To see high quality digitized versions of early William Mills & Son Catalogs on Google Books website, click on the links below.

Link to 1909 William Mills & Son Catalog

Link to 1922 William Mills & Son Catalog



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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