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Mitchell Reel Museum Discussion Group

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 8:04 am • #  
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Just how quickly half bail reels fell from favour once the full bail was released I don't know but here in the UK we had to wait a little longer for the full bail due to patent issues, so I suppose we continued to buy half bails?

Has anyone ever heard of a half bail with a 6 number serial number?

One has turned up here in the UK with no letter prefix and just such a six number serial number.

It's clearly a late 'third' with black shiny handle knob, nylon cross/wind transfer gear and loop style bail arm spring.

I've a feeling it might be one of the very last half bails made.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:53 pm • #  
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Sorry bailarm,

All of my 3rd Version Half-Bails are a "B" followed by five digits. I also have several "BXXXXXX" and a couple of "CXXXXXX" full bails but as you, I believe, correctly stated, the full bail Mitchells were available earlier here in North America. I think they were assembled and serialized specifically for export to the US/Canada at the factory while some half-bails were still in production but I can't prove it.

Kind Regards,
Chris


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:29 am • #  
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Thanks for the reply, Chris. The serial number on this reel is 133263 so I guess it's a pretty late half bail.

I have come across the odd few C prefixed full bails over here, but they might well be US reels that have lost their Garcia sticker, of course.

Attachment:
008 (Small) (2).JPG




I confess I didn't spot something else interesting about this reel until it was pointed out.....it has the mark that only early versions had on the flyer ( or rotor).

I wonder if the foundry had stopped half bails and then Mitchell asked them to do some more just for the UK market and they used the earliest mold? Maybe they'd broken up the others??

We came to the conclusion that the mark was a partially formed slot to allow a fly cutter to machine the required slot for a right hand wind reel bail arm lever. There's a bit about it here:

http://traditionalfisherman.com/viewtop ... 36&t=20359


How strange that this very late reel should share the mark with a very early reel!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:55 pm • #  
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Here's an internal shot

Attachment:
peter's reel inside 003 (Small).JPG


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:54 pm • #  
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In case I haven't said it before :sSig_welcome2:

Of course, it could have been dropped breaking off a stem or part of a foot and a replacement body with that serial number added. My own Nylon gear has the serial number of 111736 on the side of the body. That's how I got started in Mitchell collecting - looking for a replacement body. Randy


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 8:28 am • #  
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Ah, so you have a six figure serial number half bail too? But are you saying you replaced the housing / bodyshell, Randy?


It's certainly a possibility, but the cover plate is a perfect match...but of course that can be changed too.

If it was a replacement housing the buyer was had! Only yesterday I noticed the foot was twisted off to one side.....fortunately I got it straight again without breaking it......


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:18 am • #  
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Firstly I should explain that "Moorhen" and "Tinca" are one and the same. I had great difficulty in joining the Form and tried alternate names. Long story short, I have 2 user names and never know which will work !!
The mark on the rotor where the trip slot for a RHW reel would be is present on the majority of claw-bails; and not only early reels. It is fully and most crisply formed on the very first reels when the moulds were fresh, but there is some sign, even if only faint, on nearly all rotors.
On some reels there is some indication of hand filing in this area as if the mark was removed. the latest claw I have is no. C64212 and on this reel the mark is fully formed.
A similar situation occurs with the "Mitchell" engraving. As a rule of thumb it is fair to say the engraving is deepest on the first reels, but I have seen 2 no. firsts with fine engraving and a third version with the deep style.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 11:40 am • #  
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Hello! I do have a half bail Mitchell 3rd version that has just the number 5 stamped on the foot. And no other serial number. I read that starting with 3rd version, the reels had a serial stamped and that 1st and 2nd versions had no numbers. Why number 5?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:02 pm • #  
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Hello, between '46 - '49 3rd versions did not have serial numbers, but sometimes had various stamping on the foot (not sure anyone has cracked this stamping code). later 3rd versions '50 - '53, did have have serial numbers beginning on the side plate and very late moving to the foot. So, you would have an early 3rd version. Not sure anyone can tell for sure how early...some 2nd version parts were used on 3rd version reels, so when this occurs it can be an indicator of an early 3rd version.

Sandman


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:18 am • #  
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I think it's important not to get too fixated with 'versions'.

Mitchell wouldn't have recognised the term, .... in their minds there was a long, steady series of improvements and modifications to the reel.

The main change with the 'third version' was one of the most obvious; the change from a knob to a lever for the anti-reverse.

I think this is the defining change to most collectors, but in truth it's just one part changed.

The very first of these reels with the 'boomerang' or 'butterfly' lever had no serial numbers, but Mitchell decided to introduce them at this point in time, but no one actually knows why...

The first serial numbers were a simple 5 digit number but it occurred just at the time these reels were really taking off sales-wise and the available numbers got used up very quickly indeed, so Mitchell introduced a letter prefix, starting with A, of course.

But these got used up quickly too and by the time the letter C prefix had been used up Mitchell dropped the letter prefix and went over to a six number serial number.


Garcia seem to perhaps have had a hand in this serial number matter, putting them on the reel, the box and even the brown paper wrapping!


As I've written elsewhere, I don't think 'third' versions were made as early as 1946...indeed Mitchell themselves claim that was the year the first ever reels went into production. Rather, I think the 'first and second' versions were made in 1946 and 1947 through to 1950 and the 'thirds', with their new lever, started around 1950 and were made until 1954 for the UK market, though may have fallen from favour in the USA as it seems the new full bail reel arrived there the year before, 1953.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 5:15 pm • #  
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Perhaps I have misunderstood Bailarm's post, but the very first serial nos. on claw bail reels carried an "A" prefix. These were not preceded by serial numbers comprising of just 5 numbers.
There are serial numbers which comprise of just 5 nos. but these are part of the second numbering system and date according to DiMattio's guide to 1954/5.
The ideal way to classify the reels is by reference to date, and this is the method that Jan Haanstra generally prefers. The trouble is that there is no universally accepted dating guide. I've carried out quite a bit of work on this and I'm satisfied that the dating guide on this website is inaccurate for the early years.
The version system works well enough, provided one accepts that not all reels of a particular version are exactly the same. It is possible to sub-divide the versions quite easily, although this would probably only interest the hardcore collector.
The fact that this site calls itself a "Museum" means that people researching Mitchells give great credence to the information to be found here. It is regrettable, therefore, that no interest is shown in up-dating that information. Clearly, a lot of hard work went into creating this site and carrying out the initial research. It is very sad to me that the site is now effectively stagnant.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:13 pm • #  
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Tinca,
A Museum preserves the past and tries to uncover the truth, persay. Since Mitchell didn't keep or threw out their " reference material", NO ONE KNOWS 100% on the dating system to the release of these reels and their changes or variations....... If you have ever purchased a new item you will see a disclaimer from the manufacture for further developments for improving their products. Now it is considered mandatory but back then no. Have you ever started a project at home and found better ways to complete it as it progressed?? Did you inform anyone of these improvements?? I'm just trying to give reasons for this and come down hard. NOONE here has all the answers to all the questions. That's why we get together to compare our findings with theirs and come to a logical conclusion. You may not agree and that is your choice. With 30,000,000 reels made for distribution across the world for over 50 years you would be hard pressed to find a better sight devoted to Mitchell Reels than this..........
Kim :sCh_fisherman:


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:11 am • #  
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Dear Kim,
I am sorry if I have caused offence.
I have a high regard for the active membership of this Forum which is why I joined. However, the fact remains that information on the early Mitchell years is more readily available in Europe than USA.
My main interest is the first 10 years of production and I have carried out my own research which involved, in part, buying 50 claw bail reels to study.
It quickly became apparent that some information on the Museum site is incorrect. I contacted Carney with information and photos. I know of at least 2 other people who contacted him with their concerns. I received abuse for my trouble.
I respect the work that was involved in setting up the Museum, but it is after all a work in progress. It is unfortunate that there is a disconnect between the active members and the person who controls the site.
It is for the benefit of all collectors that reference material should be accurate and regularly revised as new information comes to light. I would point out that I have spent a lot of time on dating and I was surprised at the results. So surprised that I ran it past other collectors before going public. I have gathered my information from a variety of sources and much of it is anecdotal. All of this information supports a very different narrative to that presented by the Museum.
I have never seen any evidence to support the notion of Wartime production or Pilot reels. Mitchell themselves state quite clearly that the Mitchell was designed in 1946 and first assembled in March 1947. There is definitive evidence that RHW first appeared in 1952/3.
We are led to believe that the MK1 was made in tiny numbers and is super rare. I found 12 in under 3 years.
Of course, Carney did gather information from UK collectors and it is to their discredit that certain facts were not made available to him. There is nothing new in what has been turned up.
We now have the unfortunate situation where Carney appears to have withdrawn from the scene while retaining control of the Museum site which presumably belongs to him; and some of the UK old guard seek to undermine the new collectors and cause discord. I do understand that the current Museum membership will not wish to antagonise WC and thereby jeopardise the future of this site.
All in all, it is a very unfortunate situation.
Once again, let me make clear that I am in no way being critical of the current active members,


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:50 pm • #  
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Tinca,
I have been a small-time collector of Mitchell 300 reels since I bought my first one in 1963. I loved the durability and long- casting that these reels offered. All that I knew about them was that I was able to catch a variety of fish species depending on how the reel and rod were rigged.
Of course, this meant that, whenever, I ran across another one for the right price, I’d pick it up.
I had, probably, bought a dozen of the reels before I ever noticed that there were minor differences in them. I’m sure I went several years wondering about the history behind these fantastic fish catchers, and why many of them were a little different.
I had found a bit of information on eBay that was like a message board for those interested in Mitchells, but I never felt welcomed there. I think that the regulars there were a bit stuffy, and not welcoming.
Then I found Wallace Carney’s new website in 2010.
I was given a friendly greeting, and I was always able to get all the help I requested. I could always rely on the “mates”. I had found a home.
Only after a few visits, I was amazed at all the information and photos that were found here, and I never passed up an opportunity to show my appreciation to Wallace and all the contributors listed in the “about us” string at the forum. The project must have taken years and tens of thousands of dollars to establish.
I know from your previous posts that you don’t agree with several issues around the “dating” and “versions” of these reels, and as I’ve stated before I can’t debate either you, or Wallace about those issues. I, also, haven’t had access to the multitudes of old Mitchell reels and information, that I’m sure exists across the Atlantic, which would help me decide who might be correct.
I recall once Wallace stating that at one point he had over 800 reels. That was way out of my league.
Furthermore, I have no idea where exactly he gained the information that was the basis for his “dating” and “versions”, and I can only assume that any reasonable person wouldn’t just imagine all this up, and then publish it over the net for the world to critique. Let alone publish a book about it.
I supposed that if I’d found another website dealing with Mitchell reels, I would have never ended up here, and my perspective could have been a bit different, but that never happened.
Who else would have, or could have put the time and money into a project like this?
At this point in time, a historically accurate date for any certain model Mitchell reel is a minor issue compared to what hackers may have done to this website.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to contact Wallace for several months, and he was having health problems then, so with the absent administrator, I fear that our time on the “Museum” may be winding down. We need to enjoy it while we can.
Regards,
Ted Lanham


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:34 am • #  
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Mates, I too am sad that this site is seeing a decline in activity, as even though I am not long tenured, I have gained so much joy through the expertise and camaraderie presented here. I owe that, in large, to WC. I wish him the best.

So, as Ted so astutely reminded us of the importance of focusing on enjoying this site while it remains, I just acquired the attached reel and am wondering when the wooden handles were made, which years? I may of read it once somewhere on this site, but don't recall...Or maybe a better way to ask it is when did the black plastic handles appear?

I would like to hear all mates thoughts, as the culture of this site dictates, and WC wanted it, we share and are open to all, and that is what makes this site so great, and evolutionary. At least for as long as it's running.

I appreciate any info on this reel.

Sandman


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:43 am • #  
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Dear Ted,
I appreciate what you say. As a responsible collector I felt obliged to let the members know of my concerns. If you call a site a "Museum" it denotes a certain status in the eyes of the public; and I think imposes an obligation on the owners to make sure information is accurate and up-dated as necessary.
I appreciate these are difficult times for the "Museum" and will write no more on this subject.
Wooden handled reels are a passion of mine, Sandman, so congratulations on yours.
I believe that the MK1 was first made in 1947 and can be identified by the absence of Made in France on the housing. If Made in France is present it probably dates to around 1948 and is what I call a MK2.1. Either is a very nice addition to any collection.
A Mk2.2 is a similar reel with a metal handle and probably dates from 1948/9.
The plastic handle first appeared on the MK3 in the early 50's.
Regards,

Ro.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:33 am • #  
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Tinca,
Wow, that's is a great reel for any Mitchell collector! To me, that is like the "Holy Grail" of the early Mitchells. I have examples of all of "Wallace's" versions of the Mitchell 300 except that one, and I ,realistically, don't believe that I'll ever own one.
It may be what most of us consider the "First Version" and it they were produced for just a short period of time. Your reel seems to have most of its paint, which I believe is rare since there isn't supposed to be a primer under the paint, and those wood handles didn't last long and were replaced by the metal versions.
You proximity to the producer, no doubt, aids in making a find like this possible.
In the years of my collecting, I've seen only no more than 4 or 5. Maybe, not even that many.
I'm curious, how many of these have you run onto?

Regards,
Ted Lanham


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:34 am • #  
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Tinca,
As a collector and enthusiast of Mitchell Reels, maybe you can share your version of timelines vs what the museum has.
I would be interested in seeing the differences.
Happy Holidays,
Vic


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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 8:13 am • #  
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Apologies to Ted and Vic for the belated reply : I did not realize that this site was active again.
Ted, I have made a point of buying as many wooden handled reels as possible over the last 4 years in order to make my own study. I have found 25. Most of these are MK.1's if one regards the defining feature as being the absence of "Made in France" from the housing.
Not all MK.1's are devoid of paint and the later reels have some primed parts. I will try and send some photos in a later post.
Vic, my views on early dating are based on the following information plus supporting anecdotal and advertising evidence.
The Anniversary Pro owners leaflet states that the Mitchell reel was designed in 1946. The illustration in the leaflet shows a claw-bail reel, which Mitchell regard as the first model. I don't attach any significance to the fact that the picture is of a reel with a boomerang check as the version system is an invention of collectors.
A press release from around 1971 tells us that the first reels were assembled in March 1947. It names the individual who assembled the first reels, which indicates how small an operation it was at the start. I believe that there is evidence that that the production number for 1949 was below 4,000. This was referenced elsewhere in this Forum.
Patents were applied for in 1948.
Correspondence between 2 of the leading UK anglers of the time confirms that RHW was not yet available in mid 1952. Catalogues confirm that RHW was in the course of development in 1951 and available by 1953.
A RHW reel without serial number has been found.
I am not alone in thinking that the first reels were made in 1947 possibly as demonstration reels (?) and that the reel was first marketed in 1948 when "Made in France" was stamped on the housing. Serial numbers were introduced around 1952/3 shortly after RHW was introduced.
An American advert from 1954 (currently available on ebay) shows the reel being offered as either claw or hoop-bail.
The hoop-bail was first available in the UK in late 1954 after the Hardys patent expired.
Now I am not a Mitchell expert or Historian, and I am not seeking to be controversial. I am just an ordinary guy who has applied a commonsense approach to material that is readily available. Maybe I've gone wrong somewhere. What is interesting is that I am not alone and certainly the consensus in France is that the reel was first made in 1947.


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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 8:45 am • #  
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Photos of MK.1 with and without primer.


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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 9:06 am • #  
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Tinca,
Those are beautiful reels!

Regards,
Ted Lanham


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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 5:02 pm • #  
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Hello Mates,

I can assure all of you that my findings are facts and not conjecture based on ads (for heaven's sake). Here's a small bit of Mitchell's beginnings as told by Pure Fishing, owner of the Mitchell brand name...

"Constant‘s son-in-law, Charles Pons, joined the family business, now called Carpano & Pons, and was the moving spirit in the company. In the 1930’s they worked with two fishing tackle manufacturers to refine their round reel designs. They created the first prototype open-faced spinning reel in the latter part of the 1930s and a patent was granted in 1950 for this new reel design."

All the facts I've stated in dating Mitchell egg shaped reels came from reliable sources. These sources include:

Doug DeSimone, VP of The Garcia Corporation, Son of Louis DeSimone, nephew of Tom Lenk.

JP Gumprich, VP of Mitchell France, Son of Jules Gumprich, nephew of Otto Gumprich

Barry Welham, President of Garcia Tackle UK and close friends of all the main players. In several interviews with Barry, he put in writing that the Mitchell was first made in 1939/40!

Florence Poirier, Author and historian of both Carpano and Pons and the City of Cluses archives.

Have Fun, :sFun_crazydance:
Wallace

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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 1:39 pm • #  
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With all due respect, the fact that Mitchell themselves have clearly stated on more than one occasion that the first Mitchell reels were produced after the War is, I think, rather more than conjecture.
Contemporary documents, correspondence and adverts are legitimate tools for the researcher.
Barrie Welham stated in an interview with a UK fishing magazine "It wasn't until about 1937 that we became involved with fishing tackle.....Anyway to cut a long story short he designed a reel of his own and the end result was the first Mitchell 300. War broke out so the idea was shelved until 1947 when the 300 was launched".
I recall reading somewhere on the Pure Fishing site that the Mitchell reel was launched in 1948.
The press release which gives a date for assembly of the first Mitchell reel is reproduced in part in Wallace Carney's excellent book.
Whilst writing, I would ask that consideration be given to updating the MK.1 study. I think that WC is aware of the new information that is available, but I am happy to supply it again if necessary.


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