Mitchel Reel Musem - Mitchel Mates Discussion Group

Mitchell Reel Museum Discussion Group

If you are looking to collect, buy, repair, service, learn, ask questions or go fishing with a vintage Mitchell Fishing Reel, you are at the right place! We are just Mitchell Reel collectors and enthusiast who enjoy an open discussion forum on "vintage" Mitchell Fishing Reels. Please Click Here to learn how to make a post and ask about Mitchell reel service or repairs, get advice on buying or collecting, or any other question in this free public forum.

"Click Here to Find Vintage Mitchell Reels For Sale Worldwide"

It is currently Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:29 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




  Page 1 of 1   [ 17 posts ]
New Topic Add Reply
Author Message
 Offline
 Post subject: Serial number breakdown.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:48 pm • #  
User avatar
Full Member

Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:00 pm
Posts: 44

Happy Turkey Day!

On Ebay, 130458521741, a seller wrote the following about his Garcia Mitchell 624 with serial number G20107:

"The G indicates it was manufactured in 1978 and the 07 represents the month (July). Mitchell's financial year begins in September and runs through July of the next year so your reel would have been made the last month of their production year in 1978. Mitchell closed in August for a month long holiday and then began their new manufacturing year in September back in the 1970's."

I was wondering if anyone has heard of this breakdown of serial numbers. Say the serial number was E317111, would the breakdown mean E=1975, reel number 3,171 for the 11th month and produced in the 11th month (Nov)?

I have looked at my spreadsheet of 600 series serial numbers and none of the serial numbers staring with a letter have the last two digits higher than 12. If this system is valid, I will have to rearrange my spreadsheet and my tracking of numbers of reels produced.

On my spreadsheet of 300 series serial numbers this does not hold true as I have numerous serial numbers ending higher than 12.

Any information would be appreciated.

Salty (Norman)



Top
  
 
 Offline
 Post subject: Serial number breakdown.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 9:00 am • #  
User avatar
Administrator

Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:00 pm
Posts: 2096
Location: Asheville, NC-USA
Norman,

There are at least two "theories" on what the numbers mean after the letter. The first was as you say; the first 2 digits is the day, the last 2 is the month and; the one in the middle is the production line. The newest is being referred to as the Julian calendar method and like the other; can not be true in a lot of cases unless some were made on other planets with longer years.

My method of dating Mitchell reels does not take either of these into consideration for one simple reason, I'm happy to know the year and even with that, it's still an approximate since Mitchell's production overlapped years; from September 1 to July 31 of the following year. If, as an example, the production ran from September 1, 1959 to July 31, 1960; they called it The 1960 Season.

When this seller says: "
Mitchell closed in August for a month long holiday and then began their new manufacturing year in September back in the 1970's." That is misleading since all French companies closed in August, not just Mitchell, as a employee holiday for hundreds of years. This is still true to this day but the now have a choice of closing in either August or September.

Everyone should keep in mind that it was only 5 years ago when serial numbers from the beginning to 1970 meant nothing until I published the book Mitchell Re-Birth of a Legend where I proved these serial numbers meant everything including dating.

Wallace


Like Using This Site? Please Support Us By Clicking The Link Below



Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:34 pm • #  
User avatar
Jr. Member

Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:24 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Indiana, PA
For clarification, are you saying that the letter at the beginning of the s/n of a 1975 to 1989 reel denotes the production year? In other words, for year "E," would that mean between September 1, 1974 and July 31, 1975? If the last 2 numbers identify the month,
is September month 01 or 09?


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:53 am • #  
User avatar
Sr. Member

Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:11 am
Posts: 113
Dear jr.evansii,

Mike DiMattio made a study of the numbering of Mitchell reels and published his findings in a book mainly about Mitchell 300 boxes.

Mike believed that starting in 1974 and running through to 1988 the Julian Calendar Dating system was used.

The first letter of the serial number denotes the calendar year in which the reel was made beginning with the letter D in1974. It is generally believed that the letters "I" and "O" were not used because they looked like the numbers "1" and "0". However, the letter "O" has been found on some reels.

The first three numbers denote the day when the reel was made based on the Julian calendar. The Julian calendar simply counts the days of the year from 1 to 365; starting on 1st. January.

The next one or two numbers identify the production line.

The last one or two numbers denote the calendar month; so September is no. 9.

It is generally accepted that the Mitchell factory closed for the month of August, but this does not necessarily mean that the production year ran from 1st. September to 31st. July. I would regard the production year as being the same as the financial year for accounting purposes. Certainly, the production records that are available for Mitchell reels show numbers for only one year, which suggest to me that the production year ran from January to December.

I hope this helps. I have not personally carried out any work on this so have no fixed views. I own a handful of reels numbered with the Julian system and Mike DiMattio's conclusions work perfectly well with those. I understand that there are examples of reels where the numbering does not fit the system outlined above. This could be for a number of different reasons, and might make for an interesting discussion.

JF.


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:22 pm • #  
User avatar
Jr. Member

Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:24 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Indiana, PA
Jeremy,

This is where I am confused. You replied stating that the production year is strictly calendar, January to December. Mr. Carney's previous post to this question seems to indicate that he believes that it ran September through July! I guess that no one has a clear and definitive answer.

Thanks,
J.


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:08 am • #  
User avatar
Sr. Member

Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:11 am
Posts: 113
Dear jr.evansii,

I don't know what the production year was, but was making the point that the fact that that the factory closed for holidays during August does not automatically mean that the production year ran from September to end of July.

Production records exist showing the number of reels made year by year from 1948 to 1985. If the production year spanned two calendar years, I would expect each entry to also span 2 years. This is not the case. As an example, the first entry is 4600 reels for 1948. If the production year ran from September, I would expect the entry to show 4600 reels for 1947/8 or 1948/9.

The Julian calendar which DiMattio believes was used to date stamp reels is calendar : it counts the days from 1 to 365 beginning on January 1st. It therefore follows that the months will also be numbered on a calendar basis with January being month number 1. I think this answers your original question.

I have looked up your original enquiry and agree with what Sandman said in his final reply. My hunch is that the "S" should be a "8". Then the number makes sense.

I think it is quite possible that the factory operated on Saturday and Sunday. My father was a factory worker in the UK and weekends and nights were worked. We call it shift work.

You raise some interesting questions which are worthy of research. As is usually the case with Mitchells, the answers are probably to be found in France. Perhaps a French member could look into this.

Kind regards,

JF.


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:11 am • #  
User avatar
Full Member

Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:53 am
Posts: 92
It certainly used to be the case that factories in Northern France closed for two weeks, (not a month) in August but I am unsure if this was the case in Southern areas nor just how old this tradition is.....certainly it was still going on in the seventies when I first started holidaying in France.

On one occasion there were twenty miles of traffic queues to get into Biarritz at 1 in the morning as the drivers from the North arriveed en masse.

I have yet to see any concrete evidence, rather than speculation, that Carpano et Pons followed this mass holiday practice or numbered their reels that were 'year dated' from September or not. Why would a summer holiday cause you to ignore the calendar, after all


Indeed, after all once more, we have no ideas why Mithell reels even carried serial numbers.


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:35 am • #  
User avatar
Jr. Member

Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:45 am
Posts: 12
I have collected over 200 of the mid size reels from the Julian numbering period of 1974 - 1983, and six of these have a weekend day number. Five are Saturdays, one is a Sunday.

Two of these reels are 900's, from the end of 1978 and the beginning of 1979. Given that production was over 280,000 of this model during those years, It is certainly conceivable that this could have necessitated some weekend working to meet order demand.

The other four are unremarkable, except for one which has the serial number J104563. This is one of several examples that I have collected from this period where the number does not entirely conform with the Julian numbering theory.

I have four reels with seven digit numbers after the letter all 1977), two with day numbers higher than 365 (both 1979), eleven with month numbers higher than 12, and my favourite, the enigmatic G328611H289510, which appears to have been born in 1977, and then born again in 1978!

These are all interesting curiosities, but I do not think that they necessarily call the Julian numbering theory into question.

As for August, I have four reels with August day and month numbers, one each from 1974 and 1976, and two from 1977. The 1974 and 1976 numbers correspond with days right at the end of the month, and I think that all this indicates is the return to work after the break. 1977 is a little different as both the day numbers are in the middle of the month, which might suggest that there was a shift in place during the holiday period.


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:49 am • #  
User avatar
Jr. Member

Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:24 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Indiana, PA
The original title of this topic is probably apropos! There was a systemic "breakdown" of the system.

From about 1950 to 1973 there were serial numbers applied to the reels.

But from 1974 to 1983, there was something more like a date of manufacture or production number, not a serial number. If the system is date based, there could be hundreds of reels (likely the same model) with the same number. If it was based on some other system, we may never know.

After 1983, apparently all bets are off!


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:51 pm • #  
User avatar
Sr. Member

Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:11 am
Posts: 113
Dear Bailarm, gpsaul and jr.evansii,

Excellent information to a very useful topic, which has certainly helped me.

I have been unable to find anything that confirms that factories in France closed en masse for the whole month of August. I must say, it seems unlikely to me.

The evidence from over 200 reels is significant. I agree that the odd anomaly doesn't necessarily discredit the Julian Calendar theory. They could be down to simple error as evidenced by the double-stamped reel. Reels also slipped through occasionally without a number.

It seems likely that after 1974 reels were numbered for quality control purposes. It would be useful to be able to identify the date of manufacture and the production line, in the event of bad product.

JF.


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:47 pm • #  
User avatar
Jr. Member

Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:45 am
Posts: 12
When the Julian system was introduced, Mitchell were manufacturing over 2 million reels a year, across every model, with over 1 million mid size, egg shaped reels per year and 800,000 of this production for the 300 alone.

This would be over 3,500 reels a day if they just produced the 300 on every working day of the year. I have collected many examples of reels with the same number stamped on the foot, and these are, not surprisingly, not that hard to find.

What I find more interesting and more fun to track down are two different models manufactured on the same day, and I have eleven examples of these in my collection. The production number stamped is identical, apart from a different number for the production line.

I have yet to find two different models with the entire number identical, and think that this is possibly due to quality control only permitting a run of one model on each line each day.

The system became less interesting after 1983, with the simplification of the production number to Year, Production line, Month, e.g. P.1.01. It is easy to find multiple reels with the same number during this period, as the entire production month on the same line had the same number, and you will find different models with the exact same number from 1984 through 1987.


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:49 pm • #  
User avatar
Jr. Member

Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:24 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Indiana, PA
I was thinking along much the same lines.

At about 2 million reels a year, that would be 8000 a day for a 5 day/50 week year, or 5700 a day for a 7 day/50 week year. Since there seem to be more 6 digit numbers under the Julian system, with only one digit denoting the production line, that would suggest a maximum of 10 lines (0 through 9) That could mean a minimum of 570 for one line's one day production that would be identically marked!

The more that I think about it, the more questions I have. How many working days per week or year? How many production lines? How many shifts per day per line? Ouch, my head is starting to hurt!

One other thing is nagging at me about the current thinking on the Julian system. Why is the month listed? A Julian number would identify precisely which day the unit was manufactured which already tells you the month. It seems to me that the listing of the month is redundant and sort of a waste of 2 digits that could be used more productively. 2 digits give you 100 possibilities, 00 - 99. One possibility might be to more precisely note the time of production. There are 96 - 15 minute periods in a 24 hour day. I'm sure that there are many other possibilities of information that could be usefully documented.


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:24 am • #  
User avatar
Jr. Member

Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:45 am
Posts: 12
jr.evansii,

I have also spent much time thinking about the working year in the factories, and have an opinion on how many days were actually spent on production. The analysis on the reels that I have collected does not support any material weekend working, nor much activity in August, except for 1977.

France has, I believe, eleven public holidays per year, not all are statutory paid days off, but none of the reels that I have collected fall on day 001 (January 1st), day 121 (May 1st - or day 122 in a leap year), or day 359 or 360 (Christmas Day). Since Easter, is a movable feast, I have not yet mapped every Easter Monday to my reel database, but think it is likely that this day may also be taken off.

I do not know whether the French habitually take the other days off e.g. Whit Sunday, Ascension Day, Assumption Day, Bastille Day, All Saints Day and Armistice Day, but expect that some of them are paid holidays too.

So my assumption is that most years there were 48 weeks of production, less a number of public holidays, possibly up to 10, which would give us about 230 working days.

I do not know how the factory was configured, nor how many facilities that they had during the peak production times in the early seventies, but think that I read once that there were several of them. There is a press article from 1971 that states that they were assembling 10,000 reels a day at that time.

I also wondered about the single digit for the production line, so have taken another look at my database, which shows that all but 17 of my reels were assembled on lines 1 - 6.

Could this number actually refer to a facility, or production section within the facility, rather than a single production line? There are a few delightful photographs around of the Mitchell staff assembling reels, and they all seem to show small groups of workers, numbering up to about ten in each group. Having stripped, cleaned and reassembled over 800 reels, I can attest that this is not quick work, and I would think there must have been hundreds of staff when they were assembling 10,000 reels a day.

You make a good point about the possible redundancy of the last two digits as the month. However, as stated before, I only found 11 reels with the last two digits of the number higher than 12, out of the 283 that I have collected, so in my opinion, this supports the theory that this is the month of manufacture.

George


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:21 pm • #  
User avatar
Sr. Member

Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:11 am
Posts: 113
jr.evansii makes a good point about the last two numbers. A little research suggests that the Julian date code system was initially developed by the US military as a simple 4 digit code to date ready meals for soldiers. The first digit was the last number of the year and the next 3 digits the day of the year. There was no need for a month code.

Many industries, particularly pharmaceutical and food, developed their own versions of the Julian code.

Why it is called Julian is a mystery. The Julian calendar was named after Julius Caesar, but most countries now use the Gregorian calendar, although the differences between them is slight in the short term.

On the subject of the production line DiMattio says that this can be identified by one or two digits. I have a reel numbered G3331211. From what George said, it seems a two digit production line is unusual, although he mentions a couple from the same year as mine..

It seems to me that the case for the prefix letter and first 3 numbers is well made, but where the other 3 or 4 numbers are concerned we are on slightly shaky ground.

JF.


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:24 pm • #  
User avatar
Jr. Member

Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 2:24 pm
Posts: 17
Location: Indiana, PA
Dear Jeremy, Bailarm, and George,

I would like to thank you all for your thoughts and input. I do find this discussion very interesting, even if we can't solve the riddle!

As Jeremy already noted, I started out trying to date a 306 that I just acquired. http://www.mitchellreelmuseum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=88&t=6196&sid=9d63a18165f176daab31dc160cb1a23d and it seems that the more I learn, the more questions that I have.

The S/N looks like H0S0103, but I'm guessing that it's actually H050103 with some sort of doublestrike. H = 1978 (OK) 050 starts to be problematic because day 50 doesn't align with March (03) but if the 050 is correct, February 19th (day 50) was a Sunday. Sandman opines that the doublestrike would have been an attempt to change the 050 to 080 which would be in March. I can only bow to the accumulated knowledge of those of you who have been kind enough to try to help me.

But, I keep coming up with more questions.

Taking the Julian system as it is currently accepted: year letter, 3 digit date, 1 digit line, 2 digit month. We have already talked about the possibility of a minimum of 570 units for one line's one day production run that would be marked identically. How many got through the line before it was caught? Maybe I got lucky and it was the first one of the day, after which the numbers were corrected.

But, if there is a quality control issue with the number, and the decision is made that it must be re-stamped or it has to be corrected, wouldn't you think that someone would make absolutely certain that the re-worked number was clear and correct?

A couple of people have noted that we are unlikely to get absolute answers unless we find someone who actually worked there, but it continues to generate some interesting conversation.

J.


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:42 pm • #  
User avatar
Jr. Member

Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:45 am
Posts: 12
Jeremy,

I have 38 reels from 1977, four of which have seven digit numbers. These are:

G3831303
G3111661
G3541212
G3731663

Clearly this is not a large enough sample to draw any definitive conclusions, and only one of my reels, G3541212, has a number that resolves itself into a possible two digit assembly line no, with a correctly matching day and month, if that theory is correct.

There is also a picture of an 840 Match in James Partridge's Mitchell Match and Autobail book, with this exact same number, but mine is on a 440A Match, so the mystery deepens.

1977 was the year that the 'A' suffix was introduced, and the factory production data suggests that they potentially manufactured up to 30 different mid size egg shape models alone during that year. The variety across all the other product lines may have necessitated a change to the regular numbering system, which resulted in some of the variations that we are looking at today.

This is the only year that I can see that had that much variety in production, and it is also the only year that I have found, or seen, these seven digit numbers after the year letter. The simple explanation may just be that this was their way of identifying all the different sections working on the many different reel types. Just a thought.

George


Top
  
 
 Offline
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:22 am • #  
User avatar
Sr. Member

Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:11 am
Posts: 113
Dear George and jr.

Whilst theorizing is fun, I agree with jr. that the only way to get a definitive answer is from people that worked in the factory and were familiar with the numbering system. It's not that long ago so there must be plenty of people who know.

In the absence of this, Mike DiMattio's proposition works reasonably well.

I attach pictures of an assembly line and quality control. I can't date them. The assembly line picture shows 12 people and they are carrying out a small part of the job. Actually, I'm not exactly sure what they're doing! The 2 girls at the front seem to be attaching the baffle plate. The axle isn't in place yet, the handle is there so some gears must be in place.

I'm not familiar with factory working, but I've made some rough calculations (guesstimates).

Working an 8 hours day, I imagine that one worker could completely assemble about 12 reels a day. Allowing 47 weeks per anum and a 5 days working week, that gives around 2750 reels per worker per anum. I assume that the idea of an assembly line is that greater productivity can be obtained.

Judging by the photo, it might be a reasonable guess that there were about 50 workers in total on each line. One group might fix the bail arm, another assemble the body, another install gears, another assemble spools etc. 50 working as individuals might assemble around 140000 reels per anum. With the benefit of working as a team on a line might they achieve 150000 or so ?

As George pointed out, in the early 70's about 800,000 Mitchell 300's were being produced. Based on my guesstimates that might involve 5 or 6 assembly lines with 50 workers on each line. This works very well with George identifying that most of his reels have assembly line 1 - 6.

I feel somewhat embarrassed about this post, because it's the worst type of "what if" theorizing, so please don't take it too seriously !!

It's unfortunate that French reel collectors aren't more interested in Mitchells because a quick trip to Cluses would probably provide definitive answers. Having said that we appear to be able date reels to a day, which should be good enough.

Regards,

JF.


You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.


Top
  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  

  Page 1 of 1   [ 17 posts ]
New Topic Add Reply

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Oscillator1 and 25 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.130s | 16 Queries | GZIP : Off ]