One of the most intriguing of all the Hardy reels for the collector is the one with the “Spitfire finish”.
Many collectors attribute the use of Spitfire to Jamie Maxtone-Graham, who invented the term some 40 years ago to help describe the bright finish.
I knew Jamie well and was happy to do some of his tackle collecting in the English counties.
When visiting him in Dumfries, then later Peebles he would often talk of his family, his tackle trips and the wealthy clients he met.
One such client, Mr Laurel of Castle Bromwich, a seasoned salmon angler, sold his father’s tackle to JMG. Laurel owned a massive engineering factory which was seconded by the War Ministry in 1941 to manufacture aircraft parts and later built the iconic Spitfire aircraft.
My fascination in this story not only stems from my father, who was in the RAF during WW2, as well as my interest in Reginal Mitchell, a Stoke- on-Trent born engineer from the city to which I now adhere.
Hardy Bros. of Alnwick were also seconded to assist with WW2 engineering projects, and during one meeting of LR Hardy and Mr S Laurel on the River Tweed, a deal was struck.
Upon discovering the nimble-fingered ladies in Laurel’s factory were adept in the manufacture and polishing of metal components, the Spitfire range of reels was born.
Made only on the nightshift, it’s been difficult to prove this story until I was recently sent an old ragtime album of postcards and inside, well, see for yourself, proof beyond belief the Spitfire factory made the spitfire reels
Another tackle conundrum solved!