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Vintage Mitchell

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The Mitchell RAPID Prototype shown below believed made circa 1955 is from the collection of Doug DeSimone, a former Garcia executive who inherited this reel from his father Louis DeSimone, President and Founder of Impecco (USA), the exclusive importer for Mitchell beginning circa 1955. It is now in the collection of Mike Read as one of his most prized Mitchell reels. A thorough study was performed by Wallace Carney with hundreds of micro photographs taken from  "as found" (very dirty and gummed up) to cleaned and documented.

 

This reel was the prototype of the first high speed (5:1) Mitchell made that evolved to a black Mitchell Otomatic and then the Mitchell 350. The high speed was an evolution in the spinning reel industry and took time to catch on. By the early 1960s Mitchell had learned that the high speed could be in demand so they started making the Mitchell 400 in a dark blue color. It appears the standard black 350 reel color was prohibiting sales or as my dad use to say, "if you want a faster reel, reel faster" which at the time (1958) made sense to me.

 

This reel was questioned as being authentic by a few shallow collectors when first disclosed in 2006. Now in 2010 I've decided to show why this reel is without question an authentic prototype. Besides who it came from that gives it provenance and the very poor condition as found in an old tackle box, I now offer up the following proof:

 

  1. Pic #04 shows the very light engraving was done after painting. This same light engraving is found on Mitchell Rapids...
  2. Pic #13 shows the of sanding marks done during this time to mesh the Cover Plate with the Housing. It's like a fingerprint...
  3. Pic #16 shows there is never a serial number found on any prototypes just like this one but it does have a special marking on the foot...
  4. Pic #19 shows paint over-spray on the inner Lube Port reinforcement through the Anti-Reverse Lever not yet installed...
  5. Pic #20 shows the same over-spray through the Oscillating Guide Screw screw ports again, not installed until after painting during this time...
  6. Pic #21 shows the dirty condition of the reel as found. Several other pictures were taken of the entire reel prior to cleaning, not shown...
  7. Pic #22 shows the special features Mitchell did on prototypes including an unknown stainless steel Axle.


For More information go to the 350/351 Gallery



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