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2000-2003 Phil White

Horton/Meek Reels

On Monday, August 14, 1916 the Bristol Press reported on page one:

"General Manager Charles R. Riley and Secretary Towndsend G. Treadway of the Horton Manufacturing Company returned this noon from Louisville, Kentucky from a business trip which is very important to this city. While at that place on Saturday, the purchase of the B. F. Meek Company, manufacturers of fishing reels, by the Horton Manufacturing Company was completed...."

Thus Horton entered the reel business. In 1916 they went from having no reels in their catalogs to being the manufacturer of the most famous fishing reel name in America. Over the years they expanded the line, and at the end of World War II, the Meek name was finally dropped from their catalogs. Here are a few of the reels that they produced during that period.

A pair of Horton Meeks #3 size. This was the most common Meek reel. The one on the left, however is a tournament reel, with small crank, balsa arbor, and thumb rest. It is still being used today in antique tackle casting contests.
Another line of "Kentucky" reels produced by B.F. Meek & Sons, and carried on my Horton was the Bluegrass series. These were still high quality German silver reels, but at a lower price.
A fairly scarce Horton Meek #30. This is the only level wind reel produced with the Meek name. It came out in the late-1930s, and was a victim of WWII.
The lowest priced Meek designed reels were the Bluegrass Simplex tube frame models. The #34 (left) was a free spool reel, while the #33 had a fixed spool.
The Bristol Electromatic reel was a beautiful, and innovative, level wind casting reel that came out after WWII. It had little success due to the spinning tackle craze. It lessened backlash with the use of magnets. A practice that is common today.
Horton manufactured several fly reels under their own banner, but they also carried on the Meek series of cast aluminum fly reels. This is the #55 reel one of three sizes produced.

 

Notes

Horton Meek reels have been relegated to a lower status than the genuine B. F. Meek & Sons reels. All were machine made, and I have found the quality of the Horton products to be as good, or perhaps even better than the Meek & Sons products (blasphemy).

 

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