The excellent magazine Popular Mechanics always had a keen interest in tackle makers and their inventions, even from its earliest days. This article from the July 1910 edition covers the Gyratory Reel, a strange addition to the fishing world. It was invented by Henry F. Crandall of Milwaukee, Wis., who was issued Patent #366,931 on April 8, 1907. The magazine wrote:
The gyratory reel is so named because the spool not only rotates, but performs eccentric gyrations, the purpose of which is to cross-wind the line so that it cannot tangle. It is applying to the reel the winding principle employed in winding a ball of twine by hand, and it cross-winds the line without the aid of hand or complicated spool. When the line is being cast, no part of the reel is in motion except the spool itself.
Apparently the reel was manufactured for several years, as Lake Brooks wrote about it in his lovely book The Science of Fishing (1912) as follows:
Some time ago there was placed on the market a reel and rod handle combined which winds the line in a crisscross style. It is known as the Gyratory reel. It can only be used with the handle supplied with it as it is not made to be fastened in a reel seat. The object is to so wind the line that it will not cut in (one round wedged between others.) It consists of a simple spool on a spindle, the spindle projecting through the rod handle and the reel handle attached to the spindle. The reel is one of the free-spool kind and no part moves when casting except the spool itself. It is the wobbling motion of the spool that cross-winds the line.
It must have also taken some time to get financing, because 1917 seems to have been the year when the firm made a concerted effort to break into the crowded tackle market. Ads in many magazines, ranging from Outing, Recreation, Forest & Stream and other outdoor monthlies were supplemented by ads in major mainstream magazines like the popular Literary Monthly and Collier's.
It was billed as being sold by the Guy-Ra-Tory Reel Co. of Racine, Wis.
I can find very little reference to this reel after 1917, so it must have fizzled out quick. Launched just before America's entry into World War I, the firm had terrible timing.
For more information on the strange Gyratory reel, see Steve Vernon's "Roots o' Reels" in ORCA's Reel News for January 2011.