Heaton’s Patent 1888 fishing reel – forerunner to large arbor reels

Heatons 1888 fly fishing reel

The principle of drying fly lines and reducing weight has been an ongoing challenge for reel makers for years.

The modern hi-tech reels feature the same broad principle patented by Rueben Heaton of Birmingham, England on December 24th 1888. He clearly didn’t have Xmas on his mind.

The Patent No 18,817 applies to a series of centre core tubes in the drum allowing the line to dry and building up the core diameter too, we now call it a large arbor. The Patent goes on to say “the side plate may be perforated to facilitate the admission of air to dry the line” – how quaint!

Often referred to as a Jardine reel after Alfred Jardine, various makers names appeared on this reel including Slater who marketed it as Slaters SEJ Winch.

This reel had both features and looks great on any collector’s shelf, measuring 2-1/2” diameter, it features a black ebonite perforated back plate, brass perforated face and drum and German silver binding to the front rim and polished horn handle.

One of the most decorative of all dry fly reels.


Thomas Turner Fishing AntiquesDo you have any vintage or classic modern fishing tackle to sell?

We are always interested in purchasing high quality vintage or modern tackle items. If you have a collection or an individual item to sell please get in touch. You can use our contact form, or email me at john@thomasturner.com. Please include some good clear images, watch our helpful video for some advice on that. We will get right back to you by phone or email.

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