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Steelite fishing reel

Date: late 1940s
Overall: (Three pieces included) 313.5 x 25 mm
Medium: Bakelite, metal, silk line
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Paul Leaudis
Object Name: Reel
Object No: 00050840
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    This was reel manufactured by Stewart and Allwood Pty Ltd in Sydney. S & A Steelite Reg no 1869 29.4.3' is moulded into the back plate.

    It was used by Dave Collis for recreational angling on Sydney Harbour in the late 940s with a three-piece cane fishing rod he made during World War II [00050841]. The reel features a plated cast brass reel seat, Bakelite spool and back and spool release button.

    SignificanceThe 'Steelite Nottingham' style reel was the most popular of all Australian made fishing reels. Between 1931 and 1987 over one million reels were produced.

    HistoryThe Nottingham style reel enabled bait to be cast from the reel rather than from loose coils of line on the ground and was used in Australia from 1900. It was suited to rock and estuary fishing and was particularly popular for catching black fish (Girella tricupspidata). Its simple construction appealed to the do-it-yourself angler. Wooden Nottingham reels were superseded by cheaply manufactured Bakelite reels in the 1930s.

    The Sydney based firm Stewart & Allward (S&A) was founded in 1910 by Harold Stewart. In 1919 Stewart went into partnership with Norman Allwood, an Englishman with extensive contacts with the British tackle industry. The firm operated as an importer and wholesaler until the late 1920s. In 1931 Stewart registered a patent for a Bakelite Nottingham reel using the brand name Steelite. Between 1931 and 1987 when manufacturing ceased over a million Steelite reels were made, making them the most popular model of all Australian-made reels. They were also exported to the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada where they were popular for salmon fishing.

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