Hardy Bros started way back in 1872 in Alnwick England by William Hardy, and joined a year later by his brother John. It soon started to produce what many consider to be some of the finest fishing reels in the World, that would endure for a century and more. Hardy fishing reels are made from the finest materials sourced from around the globe, and handcrafted into the finished reel.
The reels are at the forefront of precision engineering, thus making reels that will perform in any circumstances, whether playing a skillful patient trial with a fish, or enduring a long drawn out fight, Hardy’s have the reel and rod to fit the required venue and species. Hardy Bros were always testing and innovative, for instance they were the first to produce ball bearing reels. They incorporated a check mechanism housed inside the reel arbour, once again a first. In 1911 they made the first large arbor reel, this all goes to prove that Hardy Bros were predominant in innovation producing top quality Hardy fishing reels, and other fishing tackle products. If anything went wrong with a reel then it could be returned and rectified often for no cost, all Hardy products are guaranteed.
The heart of Hardy’s product line are their fly reels, one of the most valuable reels on the vintage reel market today is the Original Perfect in the 2 ¼” diameter size, it is the ultimate Hardy collectors reel of which theirs only a few known examples, if you are lucky to have one then you will be sitting on reel worth in excess of £6000, maybe more.
The Perfect was the foundation of the fly line fishing reel, and remained so till a few years ago when production stopped. The original perfect fly fishing reels were made between 1890 – 1892 and the sizes between 2.1/4″ to 5.1/4″, it was based on a new ball bearings concept and fully described and patented in 1888. Then came the traditional perfect between 1892/3 which did retain some of the original features but also had nickel silver pillars, ivory handle.
The 2 1/2″ brass Perfect is great example of their early workmanship. A circular spring checking mechanism demanded exact tolerances and workmanship. The interior detail was finished to the same high standards as the exterior ones. It had an ivorine handle a brass strap protecting the drag adjusting knob.
Many Hardy fishing reels were produced by Hardy’s over the years, the following just a few:
The Birmingham Half-ebonite 1889-1896
Hercules 1880 – 1904
Original Perfect 1890 – 1891/2
Traditional Perfect 1892/3
Perfect brass faced wide drum 1898 – 1908
Bronzed Crank 1880 – 1909
Hardy Nottingham 1888-1921
Nottingham Silex 1899-1911
Nottingham lever action reel 1912-1922
Silex Major and minor 1923-1952
Super Silex Multiplier 1930-1939
The list just goes on, the Longstone, Farne, Uniqua, St.George, Sea silex, natal, Fortuna etc.
All Hardy fishing reels ever produced have been produced to exacting standards, most were great successes a few flops, nearly all Hardy fishing reels are avidly collected, and exchange hands at ever escalating prices. If you are lucky to get some of the earlier models, especially the original and traditional perfects then keep hold of them, they will be a great investment especially in harder financial times, better than money in the bank.