Albert N. Pettengill (1837-1903) from Ilion, NY applied for a patent on August 3rd, 1885, and was granted patent #361,890 on April 26th, 1887 for his "Improvements in Reels for Fishing Rods". His invention, primarily formed from a disk of sheet brass and drawn up to form a rim or band, featured a perforated cylinder that formed the spool. Pettengill's reel was intended to be convertible from a side mount to a top mount reel by way of an additional mount (reel seat) that would be secured by a screw and a pin - the pin to prevent the foot from rotating on the screw - that would attach either on the underside of the reel or on the rim (band) to form a top mount.
Pettengill reels were fitted with a constant click* and cylinder shaped wooden grasp, and are nearly always nickel plated brass. It is not at all uncommon to find the foot altered on these reels, almost always necessary to fit on rods of the same era.
Found with various markings, these reels thus far are always found in one of four "size" markings, from a #1 to a #4. It's interesting that two of the more difficult to find versions, the #1 and the #4, both have open spool designs that differ from the patent claims, the #1 with a four post cage, and the #4 completely open. Several of Pettengill's reels are simply marked "Mohawk", and do not bear his name, while others can be found that read "A. Pettengill - Maker", usually found near the center of the spool. "Pat Appl'd For" can also be found marked either on the side, or in the center of the spool. As shown below, these were also sold by A.F. Seeberger & Co. in their 1888 catalog.
With spool design variations, size variations, and even brake variations found on the model #4, it can be a challenge to assemble a complete collection of Pettengill reels.
*I have a #2 size reel that sports a click switch that I believe was a late addition - perhaps near the end of the run of reels produced by Pettengill.
Checkered pattern on a #2 Pettengill
Circular pattern on a #2 Pettengill
Plain center on a #2 Pettengill
The ad below* for a "Travis Lightning" reel comes from an 1888 A.F. Seeberger & Co. catalog. Clearly a Pettengill, this model # 4 sold for $20 per dozen.
*Thanks to Jim Brown for the catalog pages
I'm always interested in adding reels to my collection. If you have a reel you'd like to discuss, trade or sell please feel free to e-mail me at Jim@sidemountreels.com