James L. Sage made reels for sale between approximately 1883 and 1900.
This is interesting since he was
78 when he died in 1900, which means he started making them when he was 63.
According to Dr. Henshall, author of the "Book of the Black Bass", he also made a click fly reel earlier.
Sage was not a jeweler or watchsmith like the majority of the early Kentucky reel makers.
He was apprenticed as a gun maker and maker of fine mathematical instruments in the 1850's.
He then went to work in the gas and water works business into the 1860's.
Sage started making reels in Frankfort and then in Lexington about 1887. All of
his reels found have the Frankfort, KY stamp. The majority
of the Sage reels found today are a No. 3 size and appear similar to the
B.C. Milam reels. One noticeable difference between them is that Sage used Buffalo horn for the crank knob
and Milam used ivory. All Sage reels are collectable and scarcer than Milam reels.
J.L. SAGE Photo
The J. L. SAGE Brass No. 2 Reel, Circa 1885
The J. L. SAGE German Silver No. 2 Reel, Circa 1885
The J. L. SAGE German Silver No. 3 Reel, Circa 1885
The J. L. SAGE Brass No. 3 Reel, Circa 1885
The J. L. SAGE Brass No. 3 Narrow Spool Reel, Circa 1885
To see high quality digitized history of the Kentucky Reel on
Google Books website, click on the links below.