Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Voices from the Part: The History of the Nottingham Wooden Winch (1895)

The following article came from the London Fishing Gazette, 07 September 1895. It details the background history of the famed Nottingham Wooden Winch.

History of the Nottingham Wooden Winch

Anglers throughout the country are by this time familiar with the qualities of the Nottingham wooden winch, and a few facts in connection with its invention and production may prove acceptable to readers of the Fishing Gazette.

The old bobbin or bush reels were in use on the river Trent years before the admirable work, The Angler's Instructor," was written by the late William Bailey, of Nottingham. They were of primitive pattern, and were made for the most part in Radford and Sneinton, suburbs of Nottingham. The mechanic who first conceived the idea of a centre reel was one Joseph Turner, of Pomfret-street, Nottingham. He made several, and one is now in the possession of Mr. Stephen Dale, whose grandson, Mr. H. Dale, carries on business as a fishing tackle and reel maker in St. John's-street in the town named. Mr. Stephen Dale himself retired from the business so long conducted by him a season or two ago, and resides at Burton-on-Trent.

Scarcely had Mr. Turner placed his reel on the market than Mr. S. Lowkes, of Upper Parliament-street, Nottingham, produced one on an improved principle. This, however, possessed defects, not the least being that, if the line by any means became entangled in the aperture surrounding the spindle, and on which, of course, the reel revolved, the angler was compelled to break off his line. Moreover, in order to clear the spindle of any line which might have accidentally fouled it, he was under the necessity of running off the whole in. order to reach the seat of the fastening. This lay on the bobbin or revolving plate (wood) itself, and was unlocked by means of a key.

The reel, however, was eagerly sought after, and was, without doubt, the best in the market up to that period—forty years or more ago. Scores of the reels are still in existence, and in a few isolated cases old Trent fishermen are accustomed to use them. The late Mr. John Morley, fishing tackle dealer, of Carrington-street, Nottingham, used to take the centres, whilst those of the ordinary pattern were taken by Mr. S. Dale. A Mr. Steers, also of Nottingham, used to produce scores of first-class centres, and just previously to his death he was engaged on the production of reels working on two centres.

A Nottingham Winch from Alfred Jardine's "Pike and Perch" (1898).

-- Dr. Todd


tony said...

I actually have this reel.I have no idea where did i get it.Very good and interesting information.
Thank you for looking out the article from "London Fishing Gazette", and writing it here for others to read.Although my relatives have a lure making company, so i think i somehow got it from there.If someone is interested Lure Making .

Teal said...


Thanks for the link! Nifty article. What lure making company did your relatives own?

-- Dr. Todd

Teal said...


Can you email em at whitefishpress@yahoo.com? Thanks! I have a question for you...


Dr. Todd