Artifact of the Month

Winchester Fishing Reel
Donated by Dale Slaughter

To celebrate a summer pastime, our August 2016 artifact of the month is a Winchester fishing reel. Best known as a manufacturer of firearms, Winchester Company, located in New Haven, Connecticut, purchased a fishing tackle production business from another New Haven manufacturer, Andrew B. Hendryx Company, in 1919. Winchester was looking to make use of its factory space left idle by the cessation of World War I, and diversified into a myriad of product lines: guns, fishing tackle, kitchen cutlery, pocketknives, flashlights, tools, roller skates, and clay pigeons.

Hale Hardware Company in Harrison, Arkansas, ran an ad touting Winchester fishing tackle in in the July 19, 1923, issue of the Harrison Daily Times: "For anglers who want the best. Nothing pleases us so much as the opportunity to show fishermen Winchester fishing tackle. You'll agree it's real tackle."

Winchester sold its fishing tackle line to industry leader Horrocks-Ibbotson around 1930.

According to a 2011 survey by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, over 500,000 Arkansas residents and nonresidents fished in Arkansas that year (down 29 percent from a survey done in 2001). Those anglers spent an average of twenty-eight days fishing in Arkansas and spent almost $500 million dollars in trips and equipment.

There are over 2,300 named lakes and reservoirs in Arkansas. According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, at least 215 fish species can be found in Arkansas and 197 of those are native.

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