If the Billinghurst is the first American fly reel, then the Orvis 1874 patent reel is the first modern American fly reel. Invented by Charles F. Orvis (1831-1915), the founder of the Orvis Company, the Orvis reel is mounted upright, has a narrow spool, and has ventilated sideplates—all features present in most of today’s models. The earliest Orvis reels came in a handsome black walnut case with a hinged lid. The crank handle was removable and fit into its own compartment.
The American Museum of Fly Fishing Collection
Gift of the Orvis Company
Yearc. 1880Accession No.1971.014.003Made byCharles F. Orvis