Philbrook & Paine Payne Fishing Reels

Philbrook & Paine Fishing Reels

Francis Philbrook & Edward Payne - Bangor, ME

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. Philbrook was actually in partnership with Edward Payne and hence some confusion when one sees the name Paine on these early reels. Some reels have been found with Payne's name spelled correctly. Marbleized fly reels and salmon reels have also been found unmarked and marked William Mills & Son.

Payne's 1890 patented sliding drag bar can be seen on Philbrook & Paine and H.L. Leonard reels. The next series after the marbleized versions were bi-metallic and had a nickel silver frame with bronze rims and pillar attachment tabs. The first bi-metallic fly reels had nickel silver spools and the Philbrook 1877 patent date on them. Later ones had aluminum spools and the patent number. 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.

The PHILBROOK & PAINE Trout Size Fly Reel, circa 1877

The PHILBROOK & PAYNE Bass Size Fly Reel, circa 1877

The PHILBROOK & PAYNE Salmon Reel, circa 1877

The H.L. LEONARD Trout and Salmon Bi-Metal Reels

The H.L. LEONARD Bi-Metal Salmon Reel with Edward Payne Drag, circa 1890

The H.L. LEONARD Bi-Metal Salmon Reel Variation, circa 1890

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

Francis Philbrook's 1877 Patent assigned to H.L. Leonard

Edward Payne's 1890 Sliding Drag Patent

To see an excerpt from an article by The Museum of American Fly Fishing about the History of Francis Philbrook, Edward Payne and his son, Jim Payne and their reel and rod making, click on the link below.

Link to Article

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

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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