Library Catalog - Kentucky Historical Society

Object Record

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Object Name Reel, Fishing
Catalog Number 1986.81.4
Maker Milam, Benjamin C.
Date 1881-1896
Material(s) Brass/Ivory/Nickel
Dimensions H-3 W-3.75 D-2.5 inches
Description This is a No. 4 German silver baitcasting reel made by Benjamin Milam. It has a single crank with counterbalance. The handle is made of ivory. There are click and drag switches on the headcap. The headcap has a decorative rope design on the rim which is reflected on the bottom posts, crank collar, and crank. The maker's mark is stamped on 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 Milam, Benjamin C.
Subjects Fishing
Fishing & hunting gear
Sporting goods
Sports equipment
Physical Holder Kentucky Historical Society - KHS