For approx. 200 years the angler and engineer/designer have been working on an efficient way to stop, check, brake or slow down the drum on a fishing reel.
This little 2” diameter multiplier action brass winch, or wind as they were known, dates c.1850, many date earlier.
Its main brake feature is the little ball top rod on the rim, which acts as a drum lock when applied.
Years ago, winches were little more than a store of additional line should you catch a larger species which would run or fight. Bearing in mind the line would probably have been twisted horsehair, which was thick and not very supple until soaked through.
The rods tended to be long, perhaps hazel wood and later greenheart, and the winch fitted with reel rings or lashed onto the butt with leather thongs or cord.
The winches were in evidence pre-1800 and could still be bought into the 1900s, slow progress if any.
Yet these little winches worked well and they are built to last.
The value may only be £100-200 currently, but as an avid collector of “early brass” they form an important core to any collection.
Similar reels were built and sold in the USA, France and later Germany, but we reckon the market leaders in brass winches are UK based companies.