Clarence Gayle took over the Gayle company after George’s death in
1896 and continued to make reels up until the 1940’s. Clarence started
marking his reels “HAND MADE” in about 1930. The last reels were marked “HAND
MADE” and the maker’s name “CGayle” in script. Clarence did make some reels
using B.C. Milam & Sons parts he had acquired when that company dissolved in
1928. Typically, these reels have Milam marked head plates with Gayle handles and
Gayle style knurling. The latest ad I've seen is from a 1946 issue of
Kentucky Happy Hunting Grounds magazine. Gayle also made an inexpensive
fly reel named the "Simplicity" that was mass produced.
Clarence died in 1948.
Early Gayle History - George W. Gayle was a silversmith and watchmaker by trade. The 1850 Frankfort, KY US Census shows
George did work for
Benjamin F. Meek as an apprentice. George went into partnership with his son
in 1883 and that is when they made their first reels. The first reel were solid
brass. George and Clarence went to work for one of the major reel manufacturers
in Brooklyn, NY in 1886 and 1887. When they returned to Frankfort in 1887, the
first reels they made for sale were German silver with hard hard rubber end
plates. Clarence Gayle was the main person involved in making the
Gayle reels found today. His reels can be found made of solid German silver and of aluminum alloy.
The "Standard" Gayle reel has a flanged head plate that looks like a man's top
hat. The "Frankfort Reel" style Gayle reels are the most ornate and heavily knurled reels.
They are of the highest quality. The reels can be found marked G.W. Gayle as well as Geo. W. Gayle.
Clarence also made a reels for the famous tackle
companies VL&A, Chicago and William Mills & Son, NY. The William Mills & Son
models were named "Intrinsic". "Intrinsic" reels came in the "Standard" and
"Frankfort Reel" styles and had extra fancy knurling. The Gayle fly reel is made of
aluminum and is also sought after by collectors. George died in 1896.
A Pair of Reels by Clarence Gayle, circa 1937
1937 Field & Stream Magazine Ad
(Notice the similarity to the
Clarence Gayle Reel above made with B. C. Milam parts)