Fortunately for collectors most makers of fishing tackle enjoy having their names adorn the product they sell.
This in the main helps us to date and cross match items to give a fair guesstimate of the date or production or sale period.
Take in this case a lot of 4 brass crank wind winches.
All basically the same, two named Chas Farlow, Maker 191 Strand (1852-1884) one by Eaton & Deller, Maker 6&7 Crooked lane ( 1857-1950s) and one without a name, who made that one?
Now, I’ve always held that the 5 pin steel foot fixing all but disappeared by the late 1850s, so these reels fit into and support that theory in part.
Other makers I researched were Jones, 1852 onwards, Thomas Bowness 1843-1859, you get the drift. It’s not out the way if you find a quality made English all brass crank winch with a 5 pin foot and a raised check housing, you will be in the 1850-60 period as a starting point. As catalogues from this period are rare and information scarce, it’s a matter of taking a sensible approach to dating based on the evidence available and wait to be shot down in flames!
As soon as day follows night, the minute you produce some information another contradicts or updates and so the research develops nearing the truth.
So, if all these reels are the same who made them?
Certainly some early catalogues suggest these are Redditch and Birmingham made, engraved for the supplier who bought them in and sold them as theirs. This practice was common in the tackle trade then and continues today.
The style of the script engraving is virtually identical on all the makers reels here and this supports the single maker theory too.
Who are these makers? Well try Smith & Wall or Heaton’s of Birmingham for starters.
Any more information of examples with unusual makers, drop me a mail with a pic and we will follow it up.