America Company, America-Meek Reels - Rockford, IL
Reels from the America Company of Rockford, IL were based on the patent of William
S. Sutton of Belvidere, IL. Sutton was granted a patent on February 18, 1902 that
covered the quick take-down head plate and the use of ball bearings for the shafts of
the spool and the drive gear. The 1903 Rockford, IL City Directory lists Sutton as the
Superintendent at the America Company. The America Company address changed several times over a few years.
In 1904, America Company ads show the address as 660 Race Street in Rockford. Later that same year the address
is listed as 662 Race Street. And finally that same year, it's address is listed as 670 Race Street.
In 1906, the company listed its new
address first as 91 North Street, Momence, IL and later as 153 North Street. The
America Company failed in 1907 and was forced to sell all the company assets.
America Company offered a
variety of models over a short 3 year period from 1904 to 1906. The first models were the No's 1 and 2 ball bearing reels and cost $6.
In 1905 the No. 12 was introduced. Instead of ball bearings, it had steel pivot bearings and was constructed of nickel plated brass.
The No's 3 and 32 were also introduced in 1905 and were made of German silver, or German silver
and aluminum. The No. 32 cost $12.50.
Around 1903, Sylvanus Meek, the son of famous reel maker B.F. Meek, went to work for The America Company.
He was responsible for the addition of a high quality German silver reel into the new America reel line.
His reel was named the "America-Meek" reel and was introduced in 1904.
The America-Meek reels that Sylvanus made for the America Company were expensive. They cost from $35 to $70
depending on specifications. Specifications for a reel could range from trout to tarpon size. The America-Meek reels
found to date are marked a No. 22 and a No. 26. The No. 22 is similar in size to a regular B.F. Meek No. 3. The No. 26
is comparable in size to a B.F. Meek No. 7 reel. I doubt very many were made. As a matter of fact, the America-Meek
reel was dropped from the America Company ads in 1905. That means the America-Meek reels were only made for about one
year. There seems to have been a falling out between Sylvanus and the America Company.
The Richardson Level winder was another interesting feature incorporated on some of
the America reels. Harry H. Richardson of Beaver Falls, PA assigned his April 17, 1906
patent to the America Company. The interesting looking level winder had a worm gear shaft which
sat in eccentric holders on each end. By rotating the line guide forward, the crank gear
and the worm gear would disengage. This allowed the spool to turn more freely during a cast.
The AMERICA COMPANY and AMERICA-MEEK Reels
The AMERICA COMPANY No. 1 Reel
The AMERICA COMPANY No. 2 Reel
The AMERICA-MEEK No. 22 and 26 Reels
The AMERICA-MEEK No. 22 Reel with RICHARDSON Level Winder
The Large AMERICA-MEEK No. 26 Reel
The AMERICA COMPANY No. 32 Reel with Richardson Level Wind
The AMERICA COMPANY No. 12 Reel
AMERICA-MEEK 1906 Brochure
AMERICA COMPANY 1904 Ads
AMERICA COMPANY 1905 Ads
AMERICA COMPANY 1906 Ads
To read a detailed history of Sylvanus Meek and the America Company, click on the link below.