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Mitchell Fishing Reels History

"Celebrating 75 Years"

1939 ~ 2014

 The-Mitchell-Reel-75th-Anniversary-1939-2014-sm

From the origins of Mitchell reels in the Arve Valley of France, through its formative years starting in 1939, to its formal exporting launch in 1947 and meteoric rise for "30 Glorious Years", to its place in history as the greatest fishing reel ever made! This is the story of how it all happened beginning in Arve Valley, Cluses, France in the year 1310.


 

Pre-History 1310 to 1937

Old Water-Mill Cluses France 1836

 

 

Arve-Valley-Cluses-FranceSnuggled in the Arve Valley by the French Alps is a city named Cluses in eastern France, the birthplace of “The Mitchell” spinning reel. The French word “cluse” means a gap between mountains. This narrow gap is where the birth home is. The city was formed in 1310 when Baron Hugues de Faucigny Clusiens granted a Charter of Franchises, an act of empowerment that sets the municipal borders, the rights of Clusiens, and created the first form of governing elected officials.

In the early 18th Century an economic adventure began in Cluses when a man from the valley named Ballaloud first introduced watch making to Clusiens. He learned the art of watch making in Germany and started making many variations thus creating many jobs. Everyone worked together to produce different types of parts used in the composition of watches and clocks that were then resold in Geneva through major watchmaker centers.

economie-histoire-industrie

Louis-CarpanoThroughout the century, the watch making industry increased. In 1848, the Piedmont government created a school in Cluses for Royal watches called Ecole Nationale d'Horlogerie de Cluses (Cluses' National School of Watchmaking) that quickly became the center for teaching the clock making art.


Constant CarpanoOn the eve of 1914, the school was the most famous of the three existing national institutions and began international recruitment. From this institution men such as Louis Carpano were born who will make the reputation of the valley. In addition to being a training center for young people, it was also the center for higher learning of new business technologies.

 

Charles-Pons

The original clock-making factory in Cluses was owned by Francois Jacottet but was bought by Louis Carpano who later on gave the factory to his nephew, Constant Carpano. Upon Constant's death in 1927, this factory was given to his heirs that included his son-in-law Charles Pons. In mid-1930 Charles Pons, now owner and CEO of Carpano & Pons employed Maurice Jacquemin, a top graduate from the French National Mechanics College in Paris, France.


 

From 1937 to 1951

During this same time, a fishing tackle company called La Canne à Pêche located in Angers, France started developing a reel they named after their own company called the C.A.P. They contracted Carpano & Pons for further development. Maurice had helped Mr. Pons with this reel but at the same time worked on another reel.

Maurice-JacqueminMaurice, now chief engineer, believed he could produce a reel that was not just a simple container to hold fishing line, but a precision tool that would cast at a greater distance with precision and be able to recover the fishing line without tangling. After years of research and development, the Mitchell moulinet spinning reel was born, a marked departure from the reels of its day in mechanics and appearance.

 

1939 first version mitchell reel smallThe revolutionary design incorporated special gearing and a longer axle to accommodate a wider spool between plates. In other words, the reel was designed around the spool. Due to the axle length required for the spool, the classic elongated “egg-shape” body was designed. The oscillation had to be increased by about 30% and extreme level-wind gearing was used.



1939 first version mitchell reel restored wallace carneyThe first versions did not have any paint primer on any parts of the reel. For this reason you will not find one in very good appearance unless they’ve been restored. When you find one most of the paint will have fallen off. This is the main point to look for when trying to locate one. The “light” colored Rosewood Handle Knob also helps but many of these have long since deteriorated and replaced with round aluminum knobs.


This reel (just called The Mitchell at the time) was named after Maurice Jacquimin's son Michel but French law prohibited proper names to be used as product brand names thus the "Anglicized" name Mitchell.


Prototype-CAP-Reel

Carpano & Pons began production of the C.A.P (aka CAP) reel in 1937 and in March of 1939, both reels were in test run production we call first versions but in fact; they were pilot or test reels. In 1942 the first Mitchell second versions were produced for sale in France with several minor design changes up to 1946. The Mitchell third version started in 1946 and due to the forthcoming success, clock making was gradually lost and then completely disappears behind this new industry.



 

Jules-Gumprich

Export was quickly put in motion in 1946 by Jules Gumprich, owner of Impecco, Paris, an established import/export company with close ties to Carpano & Pons and La Canne à Pêche and his brother Otto Gumprich, owner of Charles Garcia & Company in America.

 



Otto-GumprichOtto and Jules had been working together starting in 1937, selling large quantities of Silkworm Gut. Demand was high since the varieties used for surgery and for leaders came in various lengths and diameters. Fishing lines of various sorts were also imported including the special double tapers for fly-fishing and the common braided lines, which were the only ones available for fishing reels at the time. 

 

Other imports included various raw materials such as Lamb Gut for tennis and badminton rackets as well as for stronger sutures, Kapok and other natural fibers used for domestic wares such as mattresses, carpets and so on.

 

Dick-Wolff

Before France was invaded during early WWII, Jules had sent both reels to Otto with the suggestion they would be desirable products. The reel was shown to Richard C. (Dick) Wolff, an assistant in a New York tackle store, for appraisal. His report was favorable. Garcia got the agency and Dick Wolff joined the Company and rose to the position of a Vice President.

 



Tom-LenkTom Lenk, who had worked for Garcia back in 1938, returned from The War and took to running the company alongside Otto Gumprich with their focus on Mitchell fishing reels beginning in 1947 with The Mitchell third version and the C.A.P reels. It was during this time when Tom Lenk, a marketing genius, took control of selling these new products.

 

Ecole-Nationale-de-Horlogerie-de-Cluses-h

Carpano & Pons and the owner, Charles Pons, filed for a patent on August 3, 1948. Because of this some mistakenly believe The Mitchell was “invented” on this date but this is simply not true. Truth is that in 1948, Carpano & Pons closed the Cluses' National School of Watchmaking forever and turned the building into the new manufacturing plant for Mitchell reels. It just so happens that in 1948, Clusians were celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the school. Mouse over the celebration medallion to the right for more information.

 



MILBRO-LOGOJust prior to these major events, Millard Brothers – a major wholesaler in Britain a/k/a Milbro –  had already taken the Mitchell exclusive agency for The UK, known to be the first and only foreign agency known who actually sold The Mitchell second version reel. Mouse over their logo to the left for more information. The Canne à Pêche (CAP) Company was always a major player for sales in France throughout all the years of French made Mitchell reels. Albatros took the agency in 1947 for the Netherlands and a couple years later, Arca for Belgium and Balzer for Germany.



 Mitchell-Reel-Agencies-Albatros-Arca-Balzer

Mitchell-Reel InscribedInitially, the first Mitchell reels made and owned by Carpano & Pons were only made with the Mitchell name engraved but starting in the early 1950s the range grew with models covering both fresh and salt water of various sizes. These began with the Mitchell Salt Water, the Mitchell Otomatic and the Mitchell Rapid.


 

From 1951 to 1962



Louis DeSimoneTom Lenk's efforts were first publicly recognized in a New York Times newspaper article in February, 1951 with the reporter’s statement “The Mitchell, an import, is one of the finest spinning reels we ever tried” after seeing it at a NYC Sportsman’s Show! With sales volume rapidly expanding, Louis DeSimone opened Impecco Ltd. (USA) as the new and exclusive importer for Garcia and C&P in 1954 located at 268 Park Avenue in NYC. Garcia still handled the advertising, distribution and service.

 



Garcia LogoDuring this same time period Otto Gumprich retired and Tom Lenk took over Garcia as President and changed the name to The Garcia Corporation, Inc. These North American Garcia and Impecco operations were family managed businesses under the leadership of four related families being: The Lenks, The DeSimones, The Mesiscas and The Pisapios for both The USA and Canada. Garcia Outdoor Sports Ltd. of Mississauga, Ontario, handled the Mitchell distribution for Canada.



 

Mitchell-10000-Crates-1955 smallCarpano & Pons privately announces the first Mitchell “milestone” in 1955 by celebrating 10,000 crates of Mitchell reels being exported. Each crate contained 60 reels for a total of 600,000 reels! It was then reported in The New York Times that “Mitchell reels were brought here shortly after WW2 by servicemen” and that “300,000 spinning reels came (imported) here in 1955, mostly Mitchell” and last but not least; “Garcia promoted this reel shortly after invention of mono-filament line”, a profound statement if you think about it!



 

1957 1mil Celebration Reel SmallCarpano & Pons again privately celebrates another Mitchell milestone in 1957 with the 1,000,000 Mitchell reel. This privacy was very well kept! These reels were only revealed in 2007, 50 years later, by Doug DeSimone, surviving son of Louis DeSimone. There had been rumors of a special reel that was painted by school children but that rumor turned out to be wrong.



 

In his search he has only been able to located two. One was originally presented to Otto Gumprich and the other recipient was Otto's brother, Jules Gumprich. We located Jean-Pierre (JP) Gumprich, surviving son of Jules Gumprich, nephew of Otto S. Gumprich and my new best friend and colleague. Turns out that he had inherited his father's reel.





By 1958 the Mitchell 300, Mitchell 302 (Salt Water), Mitchell 304 (round body), Mitchell 306 (intermediate), Mitchell 308 (ultra-light), Mitchell 330 (auto-bail) and the Mitchell 350 (high-speed) series reels were being marketed worldwide. Many other models evolved throughout the years from these original seven, too numerous to mention as you can see in our list of All Mitchell Model Reels Made in France page.


 

From 1962 to 1971

Mitchell 300 Hand Engraved Reel Small1962 marked the time of 5,000,000 Mitchell reels being made. There’s been much speculation as to exactly what Mitchell did to “privately” celebrate this milestone but nothing has been found to date. I believe there's a strong possibility of the Hand Engraved Mitchell 300 being a part of this celebration. Garcia moved from New York City to their permanent location in Teaneck, New Jersey in this same year.

 



Robert-Lenk Medallion 1966In 1966 Mitchell privately celebrated 10,000,000 Mitchell reels sold. The 1966 10 Million Medallion shown was presented to Robert Lenk, VP of The Garcia Corporation for his valued contributions to Mitchell. Bob was Tom Lenk’s Brother.

 



By 1968 Mitchell was now producing several new models including the big game fishing reel series that had been in R&D for several years. By this time Garcia, USA was selling on average 80% of all Mitchell reels sales sold worldwide.





The Garcia family had been operating separate companies called Garcia Tackle in America and another Garcia Tackle in Canada but in 1967, Barrie Welham opened his own Garcia Tackle company, in England.

 Barrie Welham



Barrie Welham had been a close personal friend of Tom Lenk, President of the Garcia Corporation in America, from his days at J.W. Young whom Garcia were presented for fly reels in America. Barrie had attended Garcia sales conferences in the U.S so he knew most of the key staff and also the innermost workings of the company. Elsewhere in the world, Mitchell reels were sold under various vendor names but in America and Canada, Mitchell was prefaced with Garcia to bond it into their wide range of fishing tackle products.

 



Thomas T Lenk smallGarcia Mitchell reels had superior packaging and finer sales literature to the Mitchell reels sold anywhere else in the world. Barrie felt he needed something similar to get him going in England. He spoke to the Impecco owners and they jointly approached Tom Lenk who had no ambitions to enter the European market but liked the idea of having someone in the U.K. who could look after any Garcia visitors be they company or private friends of Tom Lenk. Tom doubted if the Garcia name could be registered, as they had once tried for this, but Barrie was successful and he registered the name and the new company was born but not as a Garcia subsidiary but as a fully independent company in 1967 in London, England.

 



Barrie Welham Trilby HatBarrie moved his new business in 1968 to Southampton -the sea port where the consignments of Mitchell reels would arrive. From then on, all reels coming into U.K. were in Garcia U.S. boxes with Garcia U.S. literature but with a U.K. Guarantee card with Barrie’s picture (as Barrie says "the man in the trilby hat") together with a welcoming message. Up until 1967 the Millard Wholesale Company (Milbro) had been the Mitchell U.K. agent but they had chosen to import some cheaper reels from a company in Japan who later became the Diawa brand that's also famous to this day.



 

London Exhibition Free Mitchell Reel Repairs smallBarrie retained Millards as a wholesale distributor but also widened the U.K. distribution network to include other large wholesalers such as Forshaws of Liverpool, Pegley Davies and several others. Records show that Millards top ever year for sales was some 32,000 Mitchell reels with an average of around 28,000. In 1967, when Garcia U.K. (London) came on the scene they had sold some 19,000 with 4 months to go. In Barrie's next full year U.K. sales totaled over 50,000 and within three years, 100,000 and topped out at over 164,000. Most of these were fixed spools like the famous 300.



 

Chris Ball Carp TalkAt the time it was as if nothing could stop the Mitchell brand. Every angling schoolboy aspired to owning a Mitchell, every match angler certainly had at least one and many had more. Richard Walkers British Record Carp was caught using a Mitchell 300. Chris Ball (Carp Talk Magazine) shown to the left is the proud owner of a very special Mitchell presentation reel given to Richard Walker by Mitchell. Many of the largest and most talked about coarse fishing competitions were won by anglers using Mitchell reels. The heaviest weight ever to win the All England match was taken on a Mitchell.

 These outstanding achievements were recognized by the U.K. Garcia Company with a top quality, beautifully engraved, laurel wreath medal that are still highly coveted by tackle collectors today.


 

From 1971 to 1978

20-Mil Sterling Silver Mitchell 300 ReelIn 1971 Barrie received the very special Silver Mitchell 300 20-Millionth celebration reel shown below that was presented to National Agents to commemorate the worldwide sale of 20 million Mitchell reels. The other reel collectors refer to as the Mitchell 410 20-Millionth Global was also presented to a select few top executives.

 



In a 1971 press release it’s reported by Carpano & Pons that out of 83 counties importing Mitchell reels, The Garcia Corporation was importing 65% of all exports. “Each week, 25 tons of reels are dispatched from Cluses bound for the American fishermen.” This article also states they were currently making 10,000 Mitchell reels per day with 15% of these being sold in France. The 83 countries were selling to over 5,600 retailers.



 

1971 20-Mil Mitchell 410 Presentation Reel SmallThe main purpose of this article was to announce that on June 22, 1971; 20,000,000 Mitchell reels had been made since March 1947. This date is when “four large French companies set up the Industrial Group Carpano & Pons” to begin what I call mass-production of the 3rd version Mitchell. Group Carpano & Pons and Cluse in Haute-Savoie hosted representatives from all 83 countries in a celebration of this event. For reasons unknown, two different 20,000,000 presentation reels were presented as shown above.



 

The Garcia Corporation was a dominant and revolutionary force in the fishing tackle market and purchased “Mitchell” from Carpano & Pons on June 17, 1974. To celebrate this occasion a very special Garcia Mitchell 300DL was made in France and presented to a few top executives.

 



1974 Garcia Mitchell 300DL Celebration Reel SmallThe one shown was presented to Louis DeSimone, President of Impecco, USA. At this point in time, The Garcia Corporation was a highly successful operation with annual revenues rising from $50.1 million in 1970 to $100.1 million in 1975. Suffering from over diversification, in 1977 Garcia had to sell the majority stock in “Mitchell” back to Ets Carpano & Pons and the primary focus was placed back on selling Mitchell fishing reels but it was too late. On August 10, 1978 The Garcia Corporation declared bankruptcy and closed forever.

 


 

From 1978 to 1990

BrowningStarting in 1878, Carpano & Pons and Impecco had been meeting with various tackle companies to find another North American distributor for Mitchell. This included Browning and many other interested tackle companies including Garcia Tackle, Garcia Canada and Zebco but by 1980, exclusive distribution rights was awarded to Browning.

 

abu garcia logo trademarkThe bankruptcy courts did not allow Garcia Tackle or Garcia Canada due to close family ties.

Abu Sweden purchased the Garcia Tackle (USA) assets and most important, the Garcia name. Distribution of all Abu products in North America moved to Fairfield, New Jersey under Abu’s new name, Abu Garcia, Inc. Garcia Tackle (USA) was reestablished under the Abu Garcia label. They wanted a world exclusive on the Garcia name and Barrie sold it to them in 1981.
 
Mitchell, a separate company owned by Carpano & Pons, continued suffering from the tremendous financial losses from Garcia’s bankruptcy. This along with the loss of Garcia's perfected marketing skills, service and pipeline and many other factors led to Mitchell's bankruptcy in 1981.

Philippe Blime Mitchell SportsAfter Mitchell's bankruptcy, Jean-Pierre Gumprich, son of Jules, was then president and CEO of Impecco, Paris and fought for ownership of Mitchell but the French courts awarded ownership to Philippe Blime who had already been hired by Carpano & Pons to run Mitchell the year before. Mr. Blime started Mitchell Sports who would eventually become the sole distributor of Mitchell reels worldwide.

Mitchell had appointed various importers but starting in 1984 Mitchell Sports of France took over distribution of all Mitchell reels worldwide, thereby closing the doors to the Browning and Garcia (Canada) relationship with Mitchell. Just as they took control there was a surge and Mitchell finally appeared to be on a rebound. This is during the time of new models reels like the PRO line, the S-series, the 400G and other fine reels but unfortunately it turned out to be too late.

Mitchell 300 PRO 45th Anniversary Reel SmallThe French assembly plants started closing in 1988 and though a few good reels like the Mitchell 300 PRO 45th anniversary reel were still assembled in France, most parts were sent to Thailand for assembly. The engineering quality, for which Mitchell, France was famous, and the quality of their Mitchell reels has never been surpassed.

 

Carpano & Pons, Mitchell and Mitchell Sports built many millions of reels and there has never been a range of any other major item of fishing tackle, be it rods, reels, lines, that has achieved anything like the same quantity for a single brand and producer. In 1990 the Mitchell "company" closed its doors in France forever. After that and until this day, Mitchell is only a brand name.


 

From 1990 to 2014

Mitchell Logo Trade Mark 1990In 1990 Johnson Worldwide Associates (JWA), a successful company well known for their Johnson line of fishing reels and other tackle purchased Mitchell Sports. At this time they claimed over 30 million Mitchell 300 fishing reels alone had been sold!



 

Pure Fishing Logo Trade MarkIn 2000 Pure Fishing purchased the Mitchell brand as part of their JWA fishing products acquisition. Pure Fishing with locations worldwide still owns the Mitchell brand name but has also acquired many other famous fishing tackle brands including Abu Garcia, Penn, Shakespeare and many others. Pure Fishing, Inc. is a subsidiary of the mighty Jarden Corporation, headquartered in Rye, NY.

 

Click HereClick Here to find out why the Mitchell story is never-ending!

Pure Fishing Product Bar

 

This Mitchell Fishing Reel Story is an accumulation of 14 years of hard research and one of the last things I wanted to do on my "Mitchell" bucket list. Respectfully submitted, Wallace Carney


 

With the help and permission of Carpano & Pons Archives ~ Florence POIRIER

Archives municipales de Cluses                        Le bénéficiaire du prêt
Florence POIRIER                                          Wallace CARNEY

 


 

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Mitchell-First-Version-Cover-PlateDating Mitchell Reels is easy if you have the right tools and here it is; the Original Mitchell Reel Dating Guide by Wallace Carney of the Mitchell Reel Museum!

 

Though most vintage Mitchell reels have oval shape bodies; my purpose for identifying these reels as Egg-Shape is very simple. They all have the basic classic body (housing) design of the very first Mitchell with a three screw "Cover Plate" as shown to the left.

 

Plus and most important; these all were serial numbered in sequence at the Mitchell factory after assembly regardless of the different models or even which distributor (country) they were made for. It's very important to know that ALL Mitchell reels started using this dating system starting in 1974 to their last reel in 1989!

The classic cover plate models I’ve found to have the same SN sequence are the Mitchell 300/301, 300C/301C, 300DL/301DL, Otomatic, 330/331, Rapid, 350/351 400/401, 410/411, 410DL, 440/441, 440/441 Match, Garcia Mitchell Match (no 440/441 engraved), 500, 510 and 540. Other Classic Egg-Shape models made after 1970 were included in the same serial number sequence.

There were certain “events” that happened and documented that helped “date” a change in the reel. Other artifacts and celebrations also documented dates. These are from a continuing spreadsheet study I originally did and self-published in January 2006 called Mitchell ~ Rebirth of a Legend.  Because this is not an exact science some may be off but they can’t be by much.

Please note that these dates are the approximate date of manufacture at the factory and NOT date of receipt by the wholesaler, retailer or when it was first advertised or purchased. Gaps between the serial numbers I give are ones I’ve not found and documented. Therefor these gaps in serial numbers could be the years before or after. Please use this as a general dating guide only!

The first four versions of the 300 called “The Mitchell” at the time did not have the 300/301 model number engraved. The first two versions did not have serial numbers at all and the beginning of the 3rd version also did not have numbers. Keeping this in mind:

 

Dating Mitchell Reels by Mitchell 300 Study

 

1st Version – 1939/40 No Serial Numbers but a  “unique” #5 is stamped on foot

2nd Version – 1940/46 No Serial Numbers but various stamps on foot

3rd Version – 1946/49 No Serial Numbers but various stamps on foot but in 1949/52 Serial Numbers first begin within the 3rd version release. These have a letter prefix starting with “A” followed by only 5 numeric digits. The serial numbers were stamped on the bottom of the foot at first but between SN A66544 and SN A74901 it was moved to the Housing. The breakdown of these years are:

1949/50 – SN “A” Prefix began within 3rd Versions with the lowest serial number I’ve found being #A02558 however; a new discovery was made in 2008 by Jan Haanstra, a well known Mitchell Collector in Holland, a unique 3rd Version with very unique Cross-Wind Gears! It has now been fully documented that Mitchell first introduced the Cross-Wind gearing in 1949/50. To distinguish these from the common Level-Wind gearing they installed a red anodized Handle Knob. The lowest serial number found to date is #A07127 and the highest is #A07324 with two others in between. The red knob had been replaced on one that was discovered but when checked it had the “unique” Cross-Wind gearing. These are extremely rare so start looking!

1950/52 – SN  “A, B & C” Prefixes are found on 3rd Versions but again another anomaly occurred; Test or “Pilot” 4th Version full bails were made on what I currently believe on two runs. The first run was found with serial number B29598 and the second with #B49681 or about 20,000 reels later. Between these two numbers I’ve documented regular 3rd versions with serial numbers as low as #B32817 and as high as #B42156. Besides the serial number, they are easy to document as authentic with very unique parts within the Head including the Baffle Plate. These are also extremely rare!!!

This was the end of the standard half bail and the beginning of the 4th version with a full bail:

4th Version 1951/52 – SN “C” Prefix was carried over with the transition period occurring in the very low “C” serial number prefix range. The lowest number I've found on a common 4th version was #C00447 but the highest number found on a 3rd version with a prefix was #C03203. The highest number found with this prefix on a 4th version was #C92525.

This is when Mitchell realized there wasn’t going to be enough alphanumeric numbers so they changed to just numbers. The lowest SN I’ve documented is #40779 and the highest is #9963012 and over 900 more serial numbers in between and growing!

Matching Serial Number stickers started being placed on each box’s outer brown paper shipping wrap somewhere within this time period. Unfortunately almost all of these wrappers have been discarded but several have been found and documented, still in their original factory state.

1953 – SN 40779 to 203519
1954 – SN 235985 to 617792
1955 – SN 624001 to 1004270

SN 624001 was the earliest 5th Version I’ve found.
1956 – SN 1040182 to 1517887
1957 – SN 1520736 to 1883288
1958 – SN 1889513 to 2225412

SN 1889513 was the earliest 6th Version I’ve found.

NOTE: Between SN 1883288 and SN 1889513 marks the beginning of matching Serial Numbers on boxes. It’s also when they moved the serial number stamp forever back to the reel’s foot.
1959 – SN 2282964 to 2959786
1960 – SN 3067452 to 3579119
1961 – SN 3616448 to 4218719
1962 – SN 4267369 to 4870499
1963 – SN 4918411 to 5494100
1964 – SN 5546867 to 5953668
1965 – SN 5996632 to 6579351
1966 – SN 6656941 to 7276825
1967 – SN 7282575 to 7895887
1968 – SN 7959216 to 8570524

SN 7959216 was the earliest 7th Version I’ve found.
1969 – SN 8603501 to 9244733
1970 – SN 9295633 to 9963012
When nearing 10 million "Classic Egg-Shaped" reels made; in 1971 Mitchell reverted back to their original alphanumeric serial numbers with a wide variety of digit combination's. This makes it very easy to date these reels by just the serial number letter prefix. These started in 1971 with the letter “A” prefix and so on. Interesting to know that in 1971 Mitchell also celebrated the 20-Millionth Mitchell reel manufactured in Cluses, France.
1971 = A
1972 = B
1973 = C
1974 = D

Matching Serial Number stickers on boxes ended in 1974.

NOTE: It's very important to know that ALL Mitchell reels started using this dating system starting in 1974!
1975 = E
1976 = F
1977 = G

SN G018501 (1977) was the earliest 8th Version I’ve found.
1978 = H
1979 = I

The letter I was not used to my knowledge due to the similar # 1.
1979 = J
1980 = K
1981 = L
1982 = M
1983 = N
1984 = O

The letter O was used on a few reels but stopped due to the similar #0.
1984 = P
1985 = Q
1986 = R
1987 = S
1988 = T (The last of the serial numbers. Mitchell closed the factory in 1988/89)
1989 = T (New Old Stock Parts were used to make limited quantities of Mitchell reels that were still being hand assembled in France)
1990 = No serial numbers with few exceptions such as the Mitchell 300 PRO Anniversary that has been documented as one model still being assembled in France however; most models are now being manufactured in Taiwan.

 

Wallace Carney

 

 

 

Mitchell-Reels-All-Models

Made in France 1939 - 1989

When we started this task in the Mitchell Mates forum, little did we know what we were in for. The number of Mitchell reel models turned out to be much larger than expected. We never gave up and four years later, here's the Mitchell models we know were made for sale to the public. Other Mitchell models like tournament, presentation reels, display cutaways and other Mitchell reel models were made but not sold to the public.


THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:

01- Mitchell made mostly Right-Hand (RH) models meaning you cast with your right hand and reeled with your left hand. These are also known as “even numbered” models. They also made south paw Left-Hand (LH) models meaning you cast with your left hand and reeled with your right hand also called “odd numbered” models.

02- Many of the “Years Made” dates and “Quantity” of each are not accurate but they are the best info we have found to date. Also know this “list” used ended in 198? so reels made after then are not included. I’ve tried to add 1st known schematic or advertisement dates only as a guide whenever these were not supplied in the list.

 

03- Last and most important! My Rating column is just a guide based on my knowledge of rareness, popularity, and what I believe future Mitchell reel collectors would be most interested in. In other words, this "rating" is no more than my opinion and in no way, shape or form is meant to place values on any Mitchell reel. As a museum, so to speak, we have never placed values on any Mitchell reel but we are very happy to share our knowledge and opinions with others, especially novice collectors. Always remember that the biggest asset in vintage or antique collecting is knowledge!

 

Happy Hunting, Wallace Carney 

 

MODEL # YEARS MADE QUANTITY MY RATING
Mitchell 204 1973 - 198? 546,539
Mitchell 204 S 1979 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 205 1974 - 1982 1,607 ♥♥
Mitchell 206 1973 - 198? 751,023
Mitchell 206 S 1979 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 207 1973 - 198? 30,416 ♥♥
Mitchell 207 S 1979 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 208 1977 - 198? 194,357
Mitchell 208 S 1979 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 209 1977 - 198? 17,023 ♥♥
Mitchell 209 S 1979 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 216 S 198? - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 218 1977 - 198? 189,227 ♥♥
Mitchell 218 S 1979 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 219 1977 - 1982 7,415 ♥♥
Mitchell 219 S 1979 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 228 S 198? - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 282 1982 - 198? 15,012 ♥♥
Mitchell 283 1982 1,644 ♥♥
Mitchell 288 1982 16,984 ♥♥
Mitchell 298 1982 17,183 ♥♥
Mitchell (300 1st Version Half Bail) 1939 - 1940 --- ♥♥♥♥♥♥
Mitchell (300 2nd Version Half Bail) 1940 - 1946 --- ♥♥♥♥♥♥
Mitchell (300 3rd Version Half Bail) 1946 - 1953 269,700 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 300 (FULL BAIL) 1951 - 1989 13,128,960 ♥♥
Mitchell 300 A 1977 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 300 C 1969 - 1985 271,270 ♥♥
Mitchell 300 DL 1961 - 1974 4,101 ♥♥♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 300 PRO 1985 - 198? 15,072 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 300 PRO ANNIVERSARY 1989 - 1989 --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 300 S 1982 - 198? 104,253 ♥♥
Mitchell (301 3rd Version Half Bail) 1950 - 1953 --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 301 (FULL BAIL) 1951 - 198? 1,335,253 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 301 A 1977 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 301 C 1969 - 1985 30,695 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 301 DL 1969 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 301 S 1982 - 198? 9,689 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell (302 1st Version) 1951 - 1953 --- ♥♥♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 302 (FULL BAIL) 1953 - 1977 2,192,741 ♥♥
Mitchell 302 N 1974 - 1978 43,816 ♥♥
Mitchell 302 PUM (Factory Made) 1954 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 303 (FULL BAIL) 1954 - 1970 161,438 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 303 N 1974 - 1978 4,557 ♥♥
Mitchell 304 1953 - 1972 2,992,405 ♥♥
Mitchell 304 S 1970 - 1973 82,493 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 305 1955 - 1970 204,034 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 306 1958 - 198? 1,270,403 ♥♥
Mitchell 306 A 1979 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 306 CW      1975 - 1983 90,032 ♥♥
Mitchell 306 PRO 1985 - 198? 4,935 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 306 PRO PUM      1985 - 198? 856 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 306 PUM      1972 - 1977 2,015 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 306 S 1982 - 1987 22,285 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 307 1958 - 198? 222,285 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 307 A 1979 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 307 PRO 1985 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 307 PUM 1973 - 198? 5,630 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 307 S 1983 - 1987 3,557 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 308 1959 - 198? 1,771,109 ♥♥
Mitchell 308 A 1979 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 308 PRO      198? - 198? 2,302 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 308 S 1982 - 1987 41,285 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 309 1960 - 198? 169,238 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 309 A 1979 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 309 S 1983 - 1987 3,281 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 310 UL 1989 - 198? ---
Mitchell 314 1958 - 1972 465,132 ♥♥
Mitchell 315 1958 - 1967 31,011 ♥♥
Mitchell 316 1963 - 1984 183,295
Mitchell 316 PUM      1972 - 1978 7,664 ♥♥
Mitchell 320 1965 - 1983 2,590,452
Mitchell 321 1966 - 1981 139,982 ♥♥
Mitchell 324 1967 - 1983 1,490,544
Mitchell 325 1968 - 1984 76,167 ♥♥
Mitchell 330 1955 - 1979 771,934 ♥♥
Mitchell 330A 1978 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 331 1970 - 1976 8,331 ♥♥
Mitchell 331A 1978 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 340 1967 - 1974 92,813 ♥♥
Mitchell 350 1956 - 198? 613,402 ♥♥
Mitchell 351 1958 - 1971 28,482 ♥♥
Mitchell 358 1961 - 1974 82,421 ♥♥
Mitchell 382 1983 - 198? 9,297 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 386 1968 - 1980 53,781 ♥♥
Mitchell 387 1969 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 396 1969 - 1979 57,813 ♥♥
Mitchell 396 PUM 1970 - 1979 19,462 ♥♥
Mitchell 397 1969 - 1970 1,929 ♥♥
Mitchell 397 PUM 1971 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 398 1983 - 198? 11,047 ♥♥
Mitchell 400 1963 - 1978 320,433 ♥♥
Mitchell 400 G 1984 - 198? 7,808 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 400 S 1985 - 198? 4,034 ♥♥
Mitchell 401 1963 - 1977 41,908 ♥♥
Mitchell 402 1963 - 1977 189,313 ♥♥
Mitchell 403 1963 - 1974 29,481 ♥♥
Mitchell 406 1963 - 1979 231,986 ♥♥
Mitchell 406 CW 1975 - 1978 18,535 ♥♥
Mitchell 407 1963 - 1979 36,659 ♥♥
Mitchell 408 1963 - 1981 578,098 ♥♥
Mitchell 408 DL 1971 - 1974 1,863 ♥♥♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 408 G 1984 - 198? 5,662 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 408 S 1985 - 198? 2,206 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 409 1963 - 1980 55,133 ♥♥
Mitchell 410 1966 - 1985 762,132 ♥♥
Mitchell 410 A 1977 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 410 DL 1971 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 411 1966 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 411 A 1977 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 440 1966 - 198? 343,332 ♥♥
Mitchell 440 A 1981 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 440 A LIGHTNING CAST 1984 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 440 A MATCH 1978 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 440 S 197? --- ♥♥♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 441 1970 - 1984 22,006 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 441 A 1981 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 441 A MATCH 1978 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 441 MATCH      1976 - 1984 6,276 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 486 1968 - 198? 154,239 ♥♥
Mitchell 487 1969 - 198? 94,758 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 488 1969 - 198? 154,239 ♥♥
Mitchell 489 1969 - 198? 53,911 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 496 1968 - 198? 81,736 ♥♥
Mitchell 496 PRO 1984 - 198? 6,164 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 496 PUM 1971 - 198? 38,162 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 497 1969 - 1973 2,448 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 498 1968 - 198? 175,454 ♥♥
Mitchell 498 PRO 1984 - 198? 12,133 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 498 X 1989 - 1989 --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 499 1970 - 198? 35,872 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 499 PRO 1984 - 198? 3,700 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 500 1970 - 1971 3,293 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 508 1970 - 1973 15,560 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 510 1969 - 1971 41,307 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 524 1971 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 540 1970 - 1971 1,140 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 600 (MULTIPLIER)    1964 - 198? 124,675
Mitchell 600 A (MULTIPLIER)        1966 - 1979 111,991
Mitchell 600 AP (MULTIPLIER)        1966 - 198? 35,462
Mitchell 602 (MULTIPLIER)    1964 - 198? 74,914
Mitchell 602 A (MULTIPLIER)        1966 - 1977 56,951
Mitchell 602 AP (MULTIPLIER)        1966 - 198? 28,435
Mitchell 604 (MULTIPLIER)    1964 - 1974 34,523
Mitchell 604 (MULTIPLIER)    1984 - 1985 1,821
Mitchell 606 (MULTIPLIER)    1964 - 1974 33,272
Mitchell 606 (MULTIPLIER)    1984 - 1985 625
Mitchell 620 (MULTIPLIER)    1966 - 1974 33,272
Mitchell 622 MC (MULTIPLIER)        1973 - 1976 46,000
Mitchell 622 ML (MULTIPLIER)        1967 - 1985 130,382
Mitchell 624 MC (MULTIPLIER)        1972 - 1978 97,349
Mitchell 624 ML (MULTIPLIER)        1964 - 198? 334,549
Mitchell 710 (FLY) 1967 - 198? 216,070 ♥♥
Mitchell 720 (FLY) 1977 - 198? 26,359 ♥♥
Mitchell 752 (FLY) 1971 - 1982 16,602 ♥♥
Mitchell 754 (FLY) 1971 - 198? 42,723 ♥♥
Mitchell 756 (FLY) 1971 - 1982 18,103 ♥♥
Mitchell 758 (FLY) 1971 - 198? 29,719 ♥♥
Mitchell 762 (FLY) 1985 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 768 (FLY) 1972 - 198? 2,955 ♥♥
Mitchell 782 DOWN-RIGGER 198? - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 810 1975 - 1983 59,229 ♥♥
Mitchell 810 A 1978 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 811 1977 - 1980 1,882 ♥♥
Mitchell 811 A 1978 - 198? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 840 1975 - 1979 19,460 ♥♥
Mitchell 840 A 1978 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 840 A MATCH 1978 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 840 MATCH 1978 - 1980 6,237 ♥♥
Mitchell 841 1977 - 198? 205 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 841 A 1978 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 841 A MATCH 1978 - 198? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 841 MATCH 1977 - 1978 1,292 ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 900 1977 - 198? 320,075 ♥♥
Mitchell 901 1978 - 1981 21,339 ♥♥
Mitchell 906 1977 - 1985 78,377 ♥♥
Mitchell 907 1978 - 1980 4,916 ♥♥
Mitchell 908 1978 - 198? 117,205 ♥♥
Mitchell 909 1979 - 1981 4,520 ♥♥
Mitchell 910 1989 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 1020 Fixed Spool Spinning 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 1040 Fixed Spool Spinning 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 1040 4/0 - 2:1 Trolling 1969 - 197? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 1040 4/0 - 4:1 Trolling 1969 - 197? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 1060 6/0 - 2:1 Trolling 1969 - 197? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 1060 6/0 - 3:1 Trolling 1969 - 197? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 1060 6/0 - 4:1 Trolling 1969 - 197? --- ♥♥
Mitchell 1090 9/0 - 3:1 Trolling 1971 - 197? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 1110 G Fixed Spool Spinning 1989 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 1120 12/0 - 3:1 Trolling 1972 - 197? --- ♥♥♥♥
Mitchell 1120 G Fixed Spool Spinning 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 1120 RD Fixed Spool Spinning 198? - 198? ---
Mitchell 1140 G 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 1140 RD 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 1160 G 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 1160 RD 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 1165 G 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 1170 G 1989 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 1180 G 1989 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 2110 G 1989 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 2120 G 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 2120 RD 198? - 198? ---
Mitchell 2140 G 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 2140 RD 198? - 198? ---
Mitchell 2160 G - HS 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 2160 RD 198? - 198? ---
Mitchell 2165 G 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 2170 G 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 2180 G 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 2180 G PUM 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 2210 RD 1983 - 198? 32,639
Mitchell 2210 Z 1983 - 1985 17,957
Mitchell 2230 RD 1983 - 198? 65,637
Mitchell 2230 Z 1983 - 1985 24,561
Mitchell 2250 RD 1983 - 1985 60,414
Mitchell 2250 Z 1983 - 1985 22,812
Mitchell 2310 RD 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 2330 RD 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 2510 RD 198? - 198? ---
Mitchell 2530 RD 198? - 198? ---
Mitchell 2540 G 1988 - 198? ---
Mitchell 2540 RD 198? - 198? ---
Mitchell 2550 RD 198? - 198? ---
Mitchell 2560 G 1988 - 198? ---
Mitchell 2565 G 1988 - 198? ---
Mitchell 3210 1983 - 198? 24,876
Mitchell 3230 1983 - 198? 34,262
Mitchell 3250 1983 - 198? 25,165
Mitchell 3310 1980 - 198? 79,983
Mitchell 3310 Z 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 3330 1980 - 1987 128,227
Mitchell 3330 Z 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 3350 1980 - 198? ---
Mitchell 3350 Z 1980 - 198? 48,775
Mitchell 3360 1980 - 1983 29,239
Mitchell 3370 1982 - 198? ---
Mitchell 3370 Z 1984 - 198? 16,898
Mitchell 3390 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 3390 Z 1982 - 198? ---
Mitchell 3510 RD 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 3530 RD 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 3550 RD 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 4410 1980 - 1985 91,207
Mitchell 4410 Z 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 4420 1974 - 1985 116,846
Mitchell 4420 Z 1983 - 198? ---
Mitchell 4430 1979 - 198? 259,683
Mitchell 4430 Z 1983 - 198? ---
Mitchell 4450 1979 - 198? 193,227
Mitchell 4450 Z 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 4470 1979 - 198? 106,394
Mitchell 4470 Z 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 5170 RD 1987 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 5540 RD 1984 - 198? ---
Mitchell 5540 RD PRO 1987 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 5540 RD MATCH 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 5570 RD 1987 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 5570 RD PRO 1987 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 6610 Z 1985 - 198? ---
Mitchell 6630 1985 - 198? 1,326
Mitchell 6630 Z 1985 - 198? ---
Mitchell 7730 1982 - 198? 16,315
Mitchell 7750 1982 - 198? 10,281
Mitchell 8210 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 8230 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 8430 198? - 1989 ---
Mitchell 8430 RD 198? - 1989 ---
Mitchell 8530 1988 - 1989 ---
Mitchell 8610 198? - 1989 2,957
Mitchell 8630 198? - 1989 2,687
Mitchell 8810 198? - 1989 1,062
Mitchell 8830 198? - 1989 ---
Mitchell PRESIDENT 2/0 (TROLLING) 1989 - 1989 --- ♥♥
Mitchell PRESIDENT 4/0 (TROLLING) 198? - 1989 --- ♥♥
Mitchell PRESIDENT 6/0 (TROLLING) 198? - 1989 --- ♥♥
Mitchell PRESIDENT 9/0 (TROLLING) 198? - 1989 --- ♥♥
Mitchell PRESIDENT 12/0 (TROLLING) 198? - 1989 --- ♥♥
Mitchell PRESIDENT 14/0 (TROLLING) 1989 - 1989 --- ♥♥
       
MODELS WITHOUT NUMBERS:      
Garcia Mitchell MATCH (RH) See 440 Series --- ♥♥
Garcia Mitchell MATCH L (LH) See 441 Series --- ♥♥
"Blank" (1st Version Model 304) 1954 - 1954 --- ♥♥
Mitchell CAP (304) 1955 - 1956 --- ♥♥
Mitchell (RH) Full Bail See 300 Series --- ♥♥
Mitchell (LH) Full Bail See 301 Series --- ♥♥
Mitchell OTOMATIC (2 - Versions) See 330 Series --- ♥♥
Mitchell RAPID (1st Version 350) See 350 Series --- ♥♥
Mitchell SALT WATER (RH) See 302 Half Bail --- ♥♥
Mitchell SALT WATER (RH) See 302 Series --- ♥♥
Mitchell SALT WATER (LH) See 303 Series --- ♥♥
       
OTHERS BY CARPANO & PONS:      
BHV (304) See 304 Series --- ♥♥
BHV (306) See 306 Series --- ♥♥
BHV (314) See 314 Series --- ♥♥
BHV SUPER (1st Version Model 314) 1965 - 196? --- ♥♥
BLACK FISH B10 (320) 1974 - 197? --- ♥♥
BLACK FISH B20 (324) 1974 - 197? --- ♥♥
BLACK FISH B30 (300) 1974 - 197? --- ♥♥
BLACK FISH B40 (316) 1974 - 197? --- ♥♥
BLACK FISH B50 (386) 1974 - 197? --- ♥♥
C.A.P 1939 - 1953 88,435 ♥♥
KILT 0 (300) 1963 - 196? --- ♥♥
KILT 4 (304) 1963 - 196? --- ♥♥
KILT 6 (306) 1963 - 196? --- ♥♥
M34 (ARCA and Balzer 340) 1967 - 196? --- ♥♥
PAGE (1st Version Model 320) 1965 - 196? --- ♥♥
PRISU 0 (300) 1967 - 196? --- ♥♥
PRISU 4 (340) 1967 - 196? --- ♥♥
PRISU 6 (306) 1967 - 196? --- ♥♥