A Frederick Skinner Archimedian Winch c.1848 for Christmas

Rummaging through a long-lost box of papers marked “JS Private”, a huge pile of old adverts, press cuttings and ephemera relating to my tackle shop, The Tackle Exchange, which I launched in 1988, made interesting reading.

The concept was simple: we specialised in used and antique tackle as well as new, and you could buy, sell or swap anything for anything tackle related.

It took some people longer than others to grasp the concept.

One day early in the business’ life a chap popped his head around the corner and asked, “Do you do part exchange? I want a pair of carp rods”. “Yes” I replied, and he disappeared muttering he was going to get the stuff!

A few minutes later, we heard a thump, thump, thump coming up the stairs to the shop.

In comes the same guy dragging a UPVC front door and a window frame?

“What you gimme for these, I don’t need them”

Never looking a gift horse in the mouth as I was building an extension at home, 2 carp rods left the building pronto.

Same scenario applied when a chap came in and wanted to trade his speedboat and trailer.

Stoke on Trent is about as land locked as you get, but as we were on one of the busiest traffic light junctions with a car park in the world, it only a took a few hours for a boating enthusiast to nip in and out as the new owner. It’s just as well as the shop was located on the first floor of a Victorian building with no ground storage.

So if variety was the key to success very early in my collecting career, some 30+ years ago I traded in one of the rarest reels for any early brass collector.

My son Jon, then about 8, is shown holding the reel, whilst the newspaper claiming “£10,000 reel found by tackle dealer” was all good advertising, and what a find.

The Frederick Skinner Archimedian Winch was produced c.1848, pre-British Patents which started in 1852, but it has covering Registered Design no. 1426 stamped to the brass ventilated drum.

Skinner, a Sheffield man, had here a design well before its time and despite being 150 years old, they all work.

The little reel is pillarless, side mounted on an iron foot blade which is rare for an English reel. It may have played a part in the USA explosion of Billinghurst and bird cage style reels which followed, who knows.

Despite its rarity I have owned 4 Archimedian reels over the years, in two sizes, and one with a nickel drum, and I wish I had a Christmas stocking filler of another to make it 5 in all.

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