One of the nice things about early magazines--like the 1908 Field & Stream from which the information in this short article came from--is that when they profiled new tackle, they gave real detail.
Take for example the new attachments for 1908 made by the Redifor Rod & Reel Company of Warren, Ohio. Makers of outstanding quality baitcasters (and soon to be gobbled up by Pflueger of Akron, Ohio), they also produced a really neat Flegel thumbing device. As the article declared:
Appreciating the need of the unskilled for a reel that does not have to be "thumbed," and with which an amateur can cast comfortably without keeping in practice, they have adopted the wonderfully simple thumbing device brought out by Benj. F. Flegel last fall, and have taken Mr. Flegel into the Redifor Company as its secretary.
The first image shows a reel with the Flegel thumber, the second is an image of the spool with the thumber installed. What a simple device!
The article continued:
The thumbing devide is entirely out of sight and reach, and is so simple--there being no springs--that it cannot get out of (or)der and requires no adjustment whatever. The thumber takes care of the outgoing line absolutely, so one can cast and take the thumb off entirely.
This was not the only development:
For the incoming line the same company is putting out a spooler or level winder...that can be attached to the Redifor reel, or to any other reel, in a minute. In operation the motion of the cast throws the spooler forward as shown in the last cut. The line passing through the bail touches nothing, produces no friction, and does not shorten the cast. WHen ready for winding in the spooler is thrown up toward the reel, and the line running over the trolley, which is cannot possibly "jump," causes it to travel to and fro and lay the line evenly on the spool.
The article noted that Redifor bought the basic patent of Hon. S.L. Bean covering all thumbing devices attached to the spool of a bait casting reel, "and therefore insist that no reel of this type can legally be bought from, nor be made by, any one else."
Some great information on one of the early reel makers of the mass production era! By 1920 (for many long before this date), most magazines stopped doing such detailed analysis. What a shame.
-- Dr. Todd