B.C. Milam Kentucky Fishing Reels

B. C. Milam, The Frankfort Kentucky Reel

B.C. Milam - Frankfort, KY

Benjamin Cave Milam was born in Frankfort, KY in 1821. He was a jeweler and watchsmith by trade in Frankfurt. He is credited, however, with being one of the earliest of the high quality Kentucky reel makers. Milam started off in the reel making business in a partnership with B. F. Meek. In 1881, Milam broke off the relationship with Mr. Meek and began making reels under the name B.C. Milam. The earliest B.C. Milam marked reels do not have serial numbers. Ones made after 1883 were serialized. He continued marking them this way until 1890 when he made his son, John W. Milam, a partner. B.C. Milam died in 1903.

Mr. Milam earned a lot of respect in Frankfort because of his accomplishments. He was Captain of a Calvary Company in the war with Mexico in 1846. At that time, he was only 25 years old. Later, he was mainly involved with his reel making business. He was also very active in the business community. He served two terms as a member of the Frankfort City Council and was later president of the Council and mayor pro tem. In 1893, he was elected president of the Deposit Bank of Frankfort.

Early Milam History - The first Milam reels were marked Meek & Milam. Meek & Milam reels were made under the partnership of B.F. Meek and B.C. Milam.  Reels that bear the Meek & Milam name were made by Milam from about 1854 to 1881, a total of 27 years. During this time, Meek was in charge of the watchmaking and jewelry portion of the business. The earliest Meek & Milam reels have numbered screws that match the screw hole number stamped in the reel's head plate.



Photo of B.C. MILAM


B.C. MILAM No. 1, 2, 3 and 12 Reels


Brass Reels Made by B.C. MILAM


The B.C. MILAM No. 3 Sterling Silver Reel, circa 1885


The B.C. MILAM No. 1 Reel, circa 1885


The MEEK & MILAM NO. 2 and B.C. MILAM NO. 2 Reels


The B.C. MILAM No. 2 Reels, circa 1885


The B.C. MILAM No. 3 Reel, THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL, circa 1902


The B.C. MILAM No. 3 Reel, THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL, circa 1902


B.C. MILAM Marking Variations


B.C. MILAM Brass No. 2


B.C. MILAM Brass No. 3


B.C. MILAM Brass No. 2, THE FRANKFORT KENTUCKY REEL


B.C. MILAM No. 12


B.C. MILAM Reel Catalog, circa 1885


B.C. MILAM Reel in 1888 Catalog


The B.C. MILAM Wooden Box and Reel


To see an early B.C. Milam Catalog, circa 1885, click on the link below.

Link to B.C. Milam 1885 Catalog


To see high quality digitized history of the Kentucky Reel on Google Books website, click on the links below.

Outing Magazine, Dr. Henshall's Evolution of the Kentucky Reel, Dec. 1900

Forrest and Stream Magazine, Interview with J. L. Sage, Jan. 1915

Forrest and Stream Magazine, Dr. Henshall's More About The Kentucky Reel, Feb. 1915



For any questions about vintage antique fishing reels, lures or tackle, please feel free to Email or Call me. I always like to talk about old tackle.

Remember, I'm always buying old vintage fishing lures and reels!

Email me at: ron@luresnreels.com or Call or Text me at: 407-496-7940

Thanks!

Ron Gast

Orlando, FL



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