For sale here is a very rare Julius Vom Hofe raised pillar fly reel retailed by Conroy's of New York, dubbed "The Wells" after Henry P. Wells who designed the reel. Circa 1889. Only 4 to 6 of these reels are thought to have been made. Aluminum construction. Stamped "Thos. J. Conroy N.Y." and "The Wells". 3" diameter (3 1/2" pillar to pillar), weighing 6 3/4 oz. The German silver reel foot is full length, un-filed, in fine overall condition, and fits contemporary rods if that is your desire. The German silver handle arm is fitted with an ebonite grasp, also in fine condition. The reel has a strong fixed click drag that favors left hand retrieve. The reel also features shouldered German silver pillars and a caged arbor. The ebonite on/off switch on the backplate works as intended. The reel appears to have been lightly polished at some point in its life.
Henry Parkhurst Wells (1842-1904) was a prominent New York City Attorney and well known author of fly fishing books and articles in the mid-to-late 1800s. His titles include Fly Rods and Fly Tackle Suggestions as to their Manufacture and Use (click the link for an available copy), The American Salmon Fisherman, City Boys in the Woods or a Trapping Venture in Maine, Fly-Fishing for Trout in the Rangeley Region, the latter an article for Charles Orvis' Fishing with the Fly, and articles for magazines like Harper's Monthly and Life. He is also widely known as the inventor of the very popular fly pattern, the Parmacheene Belle in 1876, naming it after Lake Parmacheene in Maine’s Rangeley Lakes Region. I've also read that he was Julius Vom Hofe's patent attorney!
This ad appeared in the 1888 edition of Field and Stream.
These reels are exceedingly scarce so don't miss this chance to add a very nice example of a very historic and very high quality early American fly reel to your collection. We will probably never see another one!