Mitchell Reel Museum - Mitchell Mates Discussion Group

War-time reel production in France.
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Author:  Tinca [ Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:29 am ]
Post subject:  War-time reel production in France.

When the history of Mitchell is discussed, the question of war-time production inevitably crops up. How much manufacturing was carried out ? Would that have been a sensible time for Carpano et Pons to enter into a new line of business ? What was the availability of tools, materials and labour ?

John Fishkat has found an archive of over 10 years worth of the French magazine " Au bord de l'eau ", from 1935 until the end of 1946.

They contain no mention of Mitchell or CAP reels, but in January 1946 Pezon et Michel wrote an article giving details of the difficulties of war-time production and possibilities for the future. I'm sure some members will find this interesting :

" The efforts of French manufacturers during the war.

The possibilities for manufacturing in the future.

It seems to us that fishermen might be interested in the efforts of manufacturers to overcome all of the difficulties before them : from the declaration of war, during the occupation and since the liberation. Many raw materials used for our manufacturing came from abroad, such as .........

Our industry is essentially peaceful and was of no interest to the occupier, the allotment of raw materials that was made to us was either nil or quite ridiculous. On the other hand, many of the specialist staff had to go to work in Germany or leave the workshops to avoid deportation.

At present, these workers have returned from Germany but a number have dispersed and the difficulties remain considerable. The availability of raw materials is very small, imports have not resumed, power cuts are continuous and we intend to introduce a 3 day working week.

So that the fishermen do not regard us too harshly if they do not find in available supplies all that they desire. Our business wants to retain the quality in it's products that existed before the war, as far as that is possible; and for items that bear our mark we were able to succeed.

Let's take a look now at what we had to do to produce each of the items that are essential for fishing, and what we can hope to have in the not too distant future.

Metal products :

During the war, most of the materials needed were banned from distribution other than in very small quantities. The occupier completely forbad certain manufacturing. The workers were deported or assigned to other work. In spite of this, by the use of ruses, we could continue to supply in small quantities, but still supply, the good Luxor articles which are so appreciated.

Except for possible restrictions, we expect to significantly increase our production. We have already started to do it, but we are still far from being able to satisfy the demand, which is considerable, given the quality of these items.

You see, then, that despite all of the difficulties, our manufacturing has never stopped and that we are trying to produce quality articles. The information we have indicates that our foreign colleagues have completely ceased their manufacturing and cannot resume at present. Like us, they now lack materials and, not having the experience gleaned from our 6 years of misery, it will be long enough before they get back on the road with replacement items.

Despite the difficult times we have gone through we have always sought to improve our products and we have created new prototype tackle that will delight anglers. The tooling is ready and as soon as the raw materials and working conditions allow, you will find these new products at your suppliers. We hope you will then congratulate us on the efforts we we have made for you. "

Author:  really [ Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: War-time reel production in France.

I found this about the connection to the Luxor reels that appeared to be made during the war...

First the history, (early) LUXOR reels were all designed by Paul Mauborgne. He had them made under his supervision by a company called LLM. LLM delivered the reels to Pezon et Michel that provided the boxes, did the marketing and distribution. The NAME Luxor was owned by Pezon et Michel. The technical patents were owned by Mauborgne.

A little after Mauborgne died the Mauborgne family separated from Pezon et Michel in 1967/68.

The Mauborgne family continued making technically the same reels under the name CRACK.

Pezon et Michel continued using the name LUXOR for different reels (the square Luxor Nr.1 e.g.), as they did not have the rights to the technical part, only the name !

I can write 200 pages on Crack and Luxor but that won't help you.
So about your large size Luxor, it's the older version of the later Crack 300.

Called Luxor Saumon-Mer (Salmon-Ocean)

First version 1940 half-bail, knurd. handle knob, also with Manual p/u

Second version 1949 full bail now with marking "LICENSE P MAUBORGNE"
also available in manual p/u version, sold as Surfcasting

Third version 1954 handle can be folded, also available in manual p/u version, sold as Surfcasting

Fourth version from 1955 - till ? different a/r knob, different handle, also MPU version first marked "A",

Fifth version from ? till 1959 marked "B"

Fifth version from 1960 till 1967 now marked "C"

That's it !

The Crack 300 was made from 1968.
About 5 or 6 different versions exists
First versions marked Bernouville sur Eure (Bernouville is the name of the place were the Mauborgne family lived, Eure is a river).
Versions with manual pick-up marked 300S

from Belgium

Author:  Tinca [ Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: War-time reel production in France.

Dear Jean-Paul,

Thank you for that very interesting background information on Luxor and Pezon et Michel.

What I had presented was a translation of an article written by P & M in 1946 concerning the difficulties they had encountered during the war.

I see you are in Belgium so it would be very interesting to know of any information you may have concerning the beginning of Mitchell and CAP reels.

Kind regards,


Author:  really [ Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: War-time reel production in France.

Hey Tinca,


I was not clear about that post...Sorry...

It was copied and pasted from another site and I posted it here...

I am sorry for the mistake in not explaining its source more accurately...

Perhaps I should not be so hasty...

Please accept my apology...


Author:  Tinca [ Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: War-time reel production in France.

Dear Jean-Paul,

No problem. It was an easy mistake to make.

Kind regards,


Author:  Laroupane [ Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: War-time reel production in France.

During the war the various materials were missing, the resumption of productions was progressive from 1946 and what was waiting in the design offices began to be produced in large series and no in "confidentiality".
In a French fishing magazine of April 1946, there is an article on fly fishing flooded with light equipment.
The author of this article indicates that "I know that a reel with ingenious and novel features will soon emerge".
What is this reel? I don't know, maybe ........ but do not extrapolate too much !
Best regards

Author:  Tinca [ Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: War-time reel production in France.

Dear Laroupane,

That is very interesting and suggestive information. Merci.

The article by Pezon et Michel shows us that some limited reel production carried on during the War, but the difficulties were considerable, both with availability of labour and materials.

It is interesting that the Luxor and Pecos continued to be advertised during War-time.



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