In every threadline or early spinning reel collector’s den should be one of these.
A Harding’s of Bognor Regis, England, The Bercol friction drive reel.
Made from cast alloy, these are a rare find for any collector.
Harding’s only sealed Patent appears in 1932 and was for a drag assembly on drum type reels, a far cry from this style here. However the threadline reels were appearing all over the UK & Europe and models such as the Allcock Stanley, the Palace Superb and others may have influenced this one.
In 1934 Illingworth patented its No 4 pattern reel in all alloy, so the race to have a forward mounted spool reel was on. Hardy patented the little Hardex reel in 1936 and although very simple, it worked and they were a marketing giant.
The issue with friction drive reels is the drive washer itself. Open to the elements they warped, slipped when wet, stuck when dry and basically became unreliable in terms of a drag setting.
A few models exist in this reel range, how many is difficult to quantify with little reference material to go on.
The early Patent applied for Bercol had a guide wheel at the rear to balance the drive wheel. Other versions later were black painted with an altered stem to use one friction drive point.
Occasionally the maker’s stamp is at the back of the drive wheel, so always look over any unusual reel for maker’s marks in odd places.
All rare, values all over the place depending on demand but can go into the hundreds ££.
Images from the Chris Sandford Collection