Very Rare & Important George Snyder Kentucky Reel



Widely accepted by many to be the "father" of the multiplying Kentucky reels in America, George Snyder reels date back as far as the 1820's. Snyder, a watchmaker and silversmith from Paris, Kentucky, began his reel making sometime between 1813 and 1820 for his own personal use.


This example, from the Frank M. Stewart III collection, is featured on page 16 of the book he co-authored with Steve Vernon, labeled reel "E". The 1 13/16" diameter, 1 7/8" wide spool reel features a 2 o'clock positioned crank handle and rim mounted drag switch, with a foot attached via three rivets. As noted in the book Fishing Reel Makers of Kentucky, the reel sports a replaced click switch, with initials "G S" inscribed, with the entire click mechanism likely replaced.


Documentation included in Mr. Stewart's notes point out the reel was passed down from the family of William Van Antwerp, contained in a wooden box with a note in pencil inside the lid that reads "Mfd by Schneider (the name was registered that way in the 1820 Paris, KY census) Paris Ky - "This reel is to any son of yours who loves to fish, and he is to hand down to posterity - Aunt Mandy Robinson - Made 1830".


Examined by both Stewart and noted Kentucky collector and historian Howard Fortune, his notes include a statement by Mr. Fortune that this is in his opinion, as well as Stewart's, that while some parts may be replacements, this is a genuine Snyder made in Paris, KY, signed by both men. The all brass reel with adjustable pivots and full length brass foot is a true testament to the quality Kentucky reels are known for, with a smooth turning spool and fully functional drag.


With very few known examples in advanced collections, a truly rare provenanced Kentucky reel from an important collection.