The Walter Stanley Threadline ball bearing reel.

We have blogged on this topic in past, however, a call from a local tackle shop turned up a Walter Stanley pre-production reel I owned some 30 years ago!

The astute tackle shop boss decided to advertise that he bought and traded in vintage tackle, and his business has expanded as a result.

In two of my books, Understanding Threadlines, and The Stanley Story, much is written about the epic 25-year struggle Walter Stanley endured to bring his reel to market.

I was fortunate enough to buy the fishing tackle contents of his estate after his death. A small number of the pre-production reels were included. Reams of letters and papers tracked the fight he endured on a weekly basis with manufacturers, lawyers, wholesalers, and tackle retailers.

Perhaps the biggest, Shakespeare of Redditch, was his best ally and worst enemy, himself being no shrinking violet when it came to confrontation.

In a David and Goliath battle, he not only took on this global company but the skills of works director Capt. Courtney Williams.

However this blog is not about the tussle, it’s about this reel.

This one has a series of ball bearings running in a recessed track in the front of the spool casing.

The others I have opened in the past used a spring tensioner to make the drag work, much like the later palace Superb reels, but not this one.

It has only two balls remaining, but these are easy to replace with others.

Once more this demonstrates Stanley’s attempts to get the reel to run smooth.

The downfall of the reel was the friction drive washer at the rear of the spool. Climatic temperature and moisture changes killed the reel’s efficiency yet it remained on sale for 30 years!

It’s in my mind to fish with one of the later black production models for another blog. If Walter Stanley can catch a 20 lb pike using this reel when spinning surely I can land a tench or small carp? Watch this space….

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