B.F. Meek started as a jeweler and watchmaker in Frankfort, KY. He moved to Louisville
in 1883 when he established his reel making shop with his sons. The reels he made from
1883 up until 1892 were marked "B.F. Meek". He had previously been partners
with his brother and made reels
marked "J.F. & B.F. Meek" (circa 1839 to 1850) and later with fellow apprentice
B.C. Milam and marked the reels "Meek & Milam" (circa 1853 to 1881). He is
credited with making the first reel to incorporate spiral cut gears, jeweled pivot bearings
and oil holes for the bearings. B.F. Meek died in 1901.
Meek History - B.F. Meek's son,
Pitman, and his brother, Sylvanus, are credited with making the early reels
marked "B.F. Meek &
Sons". Pitman started making reels with his father when it started as "B.F. Meek" in 1883.
Pitman died in 1896. Sylvanus started reel making in 1886 and continued in the business until 1898 when the company was sold.
They sold the
company to the 3 businessmen Sutcliffe, Carter and O’Conner. For a 2 year period around 1900,
the reels were marked "Blue
Grass Reel Works." This was a time when there was litigation between the Meek
company and the Milam company on who can lay claim to the title of "The
Frankfort Kentucky Reel."
There are three grades of reels marked "B.F. Meek &
Sons." The most expensive were simply marked No. 2, No. 3, etc. The mid-grade
reels were the Blue Grass line. They were marked Blue Grass No. 3, 4 or 5. The
inexpensive line were take-apart-type reels and were marked with the No.'s 25, 33
or 34. The reels were marked "B.F. Meek &
Sons" until 1916 when the company was sold to Horton
Mfg. in Connecticut.
The No. 44 fly reel is by far the most sought after by collectors. It's simple, yet
elegant design makes it aesthetically pleasing. The other reels that are scare
are the larger size reels like the No.'s 6, 7 and 8. The No. 10 and No. 11 were the
largest reels made by them. Another unique Meek reel is one
marked "CLUB SPECIAL." It's a No. 2 size reel with a larger than normal
1 3/4 inch wide spool.
All Meek fishing reels are collectable and those
marked "J.F. & B.F. Meek" or "B.F. Meek" are very rare.
B.F. MEEK Photo
The B.F. MEEK NO. 3 Reels
The B.F. MEEK NO. 4 Reels
The B.F. MEEK NO. 1 Reel, circa 1885
The B.F. MEEK NO. 2 Reel, circa 1885
The B.F. MEEK NO. 2 Reels, circa 1885
The B.F. MEEK NO. 3 Reel, circa 1885
The B.F. MEEK NO. 3 Reel, circa 1892
The B.F. MEEK NO. 3 Reels, circa 1883
The B.F. MEEK NO. 4 Reel, circa 1885
The B.F. MEEK NO. 5 Reel, circa 1885
The B.F. MEEK NO. 6 Reel, circa 1885
The B.F. MEEK NO. 7 Reel, circa 1885
The B.F. MEEK NO. 7 Size Narrow Spool Reel, circa 1890
MEEK Reel Sizes 6, 7 & 8
To see the PowerPoint Presentation made by Ron Gast at the 2013 ORCA Convention in Frankfort, KY,
about B.F. Meek Reels, click on the link below.