The Mysterious United States Reels
by J.K. Garrett and L.P. Brooks
The reel series designated as "United States" reels are thought to be examples of standard inexpensive Bronson manufacture so far as is known. It is suspected they were made for and sold by the VIM company of Chicago in the 1930's but no advertising for them has yet been identified in available VIM catalogs. Reels were named after either States or in one case a River (Algonac) in available examples.
Three classes of reels are known to have been sold and they are as follow:
1) Casting (Ohio, Penn, Illinois and Indiana)
2) Fly (Algonac, Dakota, and Idaho)
3) Salt Water (Florida).
Although the boxes for Fly and Salt Water reels are clearly marked as United States reels and the model (i.e. Florida) is printed on the box, the reels themselves in available examples are unmarked as to maker or seller. This is not the case for United States Casting reels. In each of the three cases where we have a reel, the name is stamped on the headplate. We have a box for the Ohio but have not seen an example of the reel. If it follows the example set by the other United States casting reels it will also have the name stamped on it. It is worth noting that, although we have a very small population of boxes to study, in cases where we have multiple examples of boxes for the same reel, (i.e. Penn and Florida) there are substantial differences in box color or labeling.
If anyone has a box, a reel, or any advertisement for United States reels which will add to the information presented above, please contact us at reelguys AT aol DOT com.
Thanks to Jim and Skip for this neat little piece. Hopefully other collectors with United States reels will chime in!
-- Dr. Todd