Library Catalog - Kentucky Historical Society

Object Record

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Object Name Reel, Fishing
Catalog Number 1986.81.5
Maker Meek & Milam
Date ca. 1865
Material(s) Brass; ivory
Dimensions H-3.25 Dia-2.25 inches
Description This is a Meek No. 1 brass baitcasting reel. It has a single crank with no counterbalance. The large handle is made of ivory. The foot is attached with two screws and has grooving on the top. The headcap has a bead around the edge but no additional knurling or decoration. The click and drag are both located on the headcap and are functional. The maker's mark and model number are stamped in the headcap.
Notes The Milam Family was in the reelmaking business in Frankfort from the 1840s until 1927. Ben C. Milam (1821-1904) worked as an apprentice in the shop of watchmaker Johnathan Meek. When the J.F. & B.F. Meek Company failed in 1852, Milam entered a partnership with Ben Meek as fishing reelmakers and watchmakers, with Milam as the primary reelmaker. In 1881, Milam began stamping reels under his own name. That stamp was altered in 1902 to recognize the contributions of his son, John (1859-1928) who became a full partner in 1890.

This reel is from the collection of Mt. Sterling dentist William D. VanAntwerp. VanAntwerp became good friends with Dr. J.A. Henshall, author of Book of the Black Bass. At Henshall's request, Dr. VanAntwerp designed or modified a baitcasting reel, later marketed by T.H. Chubb & Son as the Henshall VanAntwerp reel.
Collection Howard VanAntwerp Collection
People Meek & Milam
Milam, Benjamin C.
Meek, Benjamin
Subjects Fishing
Fishing & hunting gear
Sporting goods
Sports equipment
Search Terms Franklin County
Franklin County
Fishing reels
Meek, B.F.
Meek, J.F.
Physical Holder Kentucky Historical Society - KHS