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Mitchell Reel Museum Discussion Group

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 3:01 pm • #  
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Hi Guys,
I'm based in Sydney and I have been collecting some vintage rods, Sportex, Butterworth etc. Recently I've come across some Michell Conolon Companion Spiraflex. The model numbers are 61:132 11ft, 62:126 10ft 6 and a guy on another forum has a 42:108.
I've been told they may have come out of the Kilwell factory in New Zealand.
What period are we looking at? I take the last 3 numbers to be length in inches, but what about the first 2, do they represent wraps or casting weights?
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Ryder.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:26 am • #  
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Greetings Ryder,
Welcome to the Mitchell Reel Museum.
I think you must have asked a tougher question since there's not been answer in a couple days.
I wish I could help, but this isn't in my area. But hang in there, one of the mates may be away fishing and will help when they return.

Regards,
Ted Lanham


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:46 pm • #  
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Thanks Ted,
I found a little something which suggests Garcia Conolon set up the Kilwell factory in the 1960s.
http://fiberglassflyrodders.com/forum/v ... =3&t=17390


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:02 am • #  
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Ryder,
Thanks for the link about conolons produced in that part of the world. I don't believe that I had ever read anything like this before.

Regards,
Ted Lanham


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:32 pm • #  
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Hey Ryder,

Very interesting! Hopefully we may dig up more.

I have seen some scant information.

Australia imported Conolon blanks and manufactured rods domestically - which was helpful in not having to pay importation tariffs. I can't locate my sourcing on this - whether it occurred in the 1960's or '70's.

My sense about New Zealand back then (please correct/update me if otherwise) is that the government restricted imports to encourage domestic manufacture. For instance, Kilwell partnered with ABU (Sweden) in order to be able to manufacture ABU metal lures in New Zealand from 1964 to 1985 (I have a copy of the incorporation document). Kilwell, at that time, was also active importing lures, such as Lemax (Switzerland), Norwich (UK), Hot Shot (US), Mitchell (France), and other(s). I was also aware Kilwell imported Conolon blanks then, but knew not much of the specifics (other than some fly rods) until your updated post.


Mates,

This is Halcyon (in the interest of full disclosure).

Long story here: cleared cache, failed hard drive, lost password, no help for a month from administrator to get back in MRM as Halcyon. And, I have run out of email addresses in order to be able to create yet another new profile, such as Halcyon1.

Best wishes to all.

John


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:57 pm • #  
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Welcome back John,
I was waiting for you to join this thread :sFun_eyescan: :tup

May your lines always be tight, Don


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:10 pm • #  
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I hope these pictures upload. May answer some questions. On different SLOW computer. Have had them since 10/10/2005. Lost out on ebay..........
Kim :sCo_hmmthink:

Well they did not upload. Will transfer them to my phone and go from there. Sorry for the suspense..........

And yes the mega pixels were within parameters....


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:20 pm • #  
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Ryder and Mates,

The fly rod images from Fiberglass Flyrodders' Forum linked above by Ryder and one of Wayne Real's fly rods shown at realsreels.com have decals that show Kilwell-ABU Conolon. So, those Spiraflex fly rods were from the period of the Kilwell-ABU partnership.

Wayne has a few Kilwell catalogs from the 60's-70's at his site (linked below). Many of the images enlarge or link to catalog pages, that include some Kilwell history and pages with rods.

I still haven't been able to find the email with Conolon blanks importation to Australia information.

John


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:27 pm • #  
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Hey Ryder,

I'm not seeing "Kilwell-ABU" in the image of your Kilwell "Mitchell Companion" rod that you posted elsewhere. The Mitchell Companion logo matches that used in the US during the 1950's. So, that rod may predate Kilwell-ABU.

"Custom Line" or "Customline" is a series name I've seen in a couple Killwell catalogs (1968 & 1982), but I have not seen a "Mitchell Companion" series in those Kilwell-ABU era catalogs.

John


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:13 am • #  
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Thanks John.
From a New Zealand forum, the Customline surf and light surf 61 and 62 Spiraflex models were produced from 1972-76. The decals are later than those in the link I added. There is no mention of Abu or Garcia on the rod.
I have no doubt your right about importing blanks and not completed rods to avoid taxes/tariffs.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:25 am • #  
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Hey Ryder,

Sorry, but I don't think you're following what I'm saying.

Does your 62:126 "Mitchell Companion" have "Kilwell-ABU" on it anywhere? From what I could see, no.

"Mudfish marquand" (your NZ responder) referenced the "Custom Line" rods he knew of from 1972-76 without the benefit of a photo of your 62:126 "Mitchell Companion" you had posted at yet another forum. From what I'm seeing, a 1972-76 "Custom Line" rod would have had "Kilwell-ABU" on its decal(s).

John

P.S. A "factory" to assemble rods (that is attach reel mount and handle, wrap line guides) is a relative term. There are companies in the US early days that did this in a barn or garage. So, your Kilwell "Mitchell Companion" could have been assembled in the late 1950's to early/mid 1960's prior to any later larger production operation.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:30 am • #  
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More info from 1968/69 catalog:

The first number in the series indicates the type of rod:
6 for surf and salmon

The second number indicates the number of pieces.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:02 pm • #  
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Ryder,

"Mataura mayfly" was indeed correct in his FFR post you linked, Garcia Conolon helped Kilwell set up a fiberglass factory by 1968 (see 1968/69 catalog excerpt below). So, from then on Conolon rod blanks would have been made in New Zealand.

The excerpt also states that blanks were imported prior to that. I think it's likely that your Kilwell "Mitchell Companion" was prior to 1968.

John
Attachment:
Conolon excerpt 1968.jpg


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:52 pm • #  
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Mates,

Here are Kim’s (piscesman’s) photo’s he referred to above. They are of a Kilwell “Mitchell Companion” 32-78.
Attachment:
mitchellcompanion1.jpg

Attachment:
mitchellcompanion2.jpg


Below is the Kilwell-ABU Conolon decal. Such a decal is present on the Kilwell “Custom Line” 32-78 included in the 1968/69 catalog. I don’t yet for certain know how long this decal was used, other than by 1982 there appears have been another rod decal in use.

John
Attachment:
Kilwell-ABU Conolon decal.jpg


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:33 am • #  
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Thanks again John,
Your advice on the 61,62 makes perfect sense.
I originally posted the question on Fishraider my local forum.https://www.fishraider.com.au/topic/892 ... -treasure/

I didn't realise there was so much history behind the brand, brands until I found this forum, I love a bit of research.
The is no mention of Abu, Garcia or Kilwell on the rod.

The rod appears to be painted, gel coated or expoxyed in a kind of olive brown. A few spot of wear reveal the blank is a deep red colour. All the guides are just wire, no inserts.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:00 am • #  
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Hey Ryder,

In 1958, Narmco Conolon announced a new finish, Conolock (without saying what type it was), that bonded to the rod blank and was UV resistant. I've seen Conolock advertised on later Garcia Conolon rods. Unknown to me whether Kilwell used Conolock.

Also starting in 1958, Conolon had a new version of fiberglass that had a reddish brown resin (visible on rods with clear finish), while the earlier fiberglass version was honey-colored between brown fibers. Again unknown later, whether Kilwell used Conolon's resin for its fiberglass, but likely.

What about your 61-132? Is it really a 1-piece 11-footer as the model number would indicate? What does/do its decal(s) say and look like?

John

Oh, and Kilwell started in 1958.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:39 am • #  
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The 61:132 was the first one I found. It came in a lot of 4 surf rods. The decals were for the most part gone. All I had to go on was Custom Line 61:132, and the seller telling me Mitchell Conolon.
The blank is 11ft, with a sand spike insert bringing it up to 11ft6.
The decals are the same style as the other, and where the coating has worn off you can see the same deep red colour of the blank.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:23 am • #  
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Hey Ryder and Mates,

Wayne has just posted a catalog that shows 11½ and 12’ Companion rods (no “Mitchell” in the name):
1967 Kilwell Sporting Annual: Surf and Salmon Rods

Also from that era (1964-68), although not applicable to Ryder’s rod, an ebay seller has a listing:
Vintage Kilwell-Abu "TROPHY" Conolon
Courtesy of that seller, elmarworjnr, decals from that rod are attached (below), earlier than "Mataura mayfly’s" and Wayne’s rods (above). The text below the Kilwell-abu logo states: "Leading NZ Craftsmanship."

I do have to say I have more uncertainty about the date of your (Ryder’s) rod. The spiral texture does not match Conolon rods of the 1950’s (which were smooth), nor does the underlying red color of the blank. I am left wondering whether “Mitchell Companion” was a name applied by Kilwell much later than it was used in the US/France and the blank was made by Kilwell (not Conolon).

John
Attachment:
Kilwell-ABU Conolon decal 1a.jpg

Attachment:
Kilwell-ABU Conolon decal 1b.jpg

Attachment:
Kilwell-ABU Conolon decal 1c.jpg


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:51 am • #  
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Great pictures John.
Kim :tup


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:37 am • #  
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Hi Guys,
Thanks for all the input, it has really opened my eyes to a great international brand.
I contacted Kilwell in New Zealand, this is the response re the
61:120.
That should have been 62:126 ( it was late)


Hi Andrew,
Yes that was a while ago, the rod dates back to the early '70's, it was a 1 piece 10' surf / salmon rod with Varmac wire guides and Varmac chrome plated reel seat finished at the bottom with a wooden beach spike the company ceased producing them about 1974-75
Cheers

Petah Woollams
Customer Services
Kilwell Sports


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:04 am • #  
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Hey Ryder,

So, "Mudfish marquand" (in NZ) was in the correct date range for the "Custom Line" rods he knew of from 1972-76.

Good that Kilwell was able to provide you with an answer. I'm sure many of the Mates wished they could have received an answer from Mitchell to an inquiry.

Thanks for your update.

John


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:46 pm • #  
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Hey Ryder,

So, I'm rereading your last post and I realize you asked about 61:120, which you do not own. These code numbers make a difference in identifying a rod.

The "1" in "61" identifies a 1-piece rod. The "120" means 120" or 10'. Given that salmon/surf rods (= 6) of different lengths were produced over the years, I am left wondering what we may conclude about your 62:126 (by its code number, a 2-piece 10½' rod). Also, you did not ask Kilwell about "Mitchell Companion" versus "Custom Line."

That said, given the characteristics of the blank you've described, I do believe its likely production was in NZ during the early 1970's.

Warm regards,
John


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