Essex County · History · New Jersey · Outdoors

For the Love of Fly Fishing: Meisselbach Fly Reels

As I have mentioned here before, my husband and I are passionate about fly fishing. We have a fly fishing instruction service and love to share our knowledge with others. At a show back in November, I came across an antique reel I was just drooling over. After a little bit of thought, I decided to get it. Besides being an incredibly important fly reel in fly fishing equipment history, it had a special meaning for this Jersey Girl. It was manufactured in Newark, NJ. Yes, I said Newark, NJ.

Meisselbach 250 Featherlight
The Meisselbach 250 Featherlight. Note the Newark, NJ imprint!

August Frederich Meisselbach’s first reels were considered simple and useful by many. He received the patent for his first reel in February of 1886 named the “Amateur.” In 1895, the “Featherlight” was introduced, which is the reel I purchased and is shown here.

In 1917, Meisselbach sold the company and name to Heineman & Bro. of New York, but they continued to make the reels with the Meisselbach name in Newark until 1921 when it was moved to Elyria, Ohio. If you are interested in learning more about Meisselbach reels, check out

Now think about it – the reel I purchased is over 100 years old and looks pretty good. I love this style of reel and am incredibly impressed at the manufacturing process that had to take place to create this reel. What I am most proud of is that this reel was made right here in the city of my birth – Newark.


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