Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Mystery of Toledo's Buddy Reel Company

Researching tackle companies is tricky under the best of circumstances. Mostly, it’s an exercise in futility. This is especially true when one considers a company like the Buddy Reel Company of Toledo, Ohio, whose existence (as far as I can tell) comes down to a single advertisement run in a single month.

The ad in question, pictured below, can be found in two slightly different styles. The top one is from the August 1922 issue of Popular Mechanics and the bottom one is from the August 1922 Elks Magazine.

These ads were run in a variety of different magazines, including (but not limited to) Hunter-Trader-Trapper and American Legion Weekly, among others.

What’s interesting, and strange, about this advertising campaign is that it was run mostly in large circulation national magazines not specifically aimed at anglers. It was a very ambitious plan that put the Buddy Reel Company in front of millions of potential buyers.

The reel itself is a mystery. It certainly looks like a simple nickle-over-brass Montague or Shakespeare trade reel, and the price of $2.65 was right in line with that style of trade reel.

The ad raises many, many questions. Were these reels marked “Buddy” or “Buddy Reel Company”? Who made them? Why did the firm disappear so quickly, as the only known ads were run in August 1922, when the fishing season was mostly over? Who was behind the Buddy Reel Company? It’s slightly depressing we may never have answers to these questions.

There are hundreds if not thousands of companies like the Buddy Reel Company. We may be able to find information on 10% of them, but that doesn’t keep us from trying to find information on them.

So who has information on the Buddy Reel Company?

— Dr. Todd

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