Joe Coxe worked for the Tufts-Lyons Arms Company, fished the waters off Catalina Island in the early 1900s and was a member and past president of the Avalon Tuna Club.
Coxe experienced first-hand the inadequate tackle of the day and in 1919 decided to start work on a reel of his own design.
The result was a handmade reel that for many years would be considered the finest salt water reel money could buy.
Coxe stated in 1935, "I pretty much knew what I wanted before I started in, but God only knows how many reels I tore down, before I got what I wanted and put my first reels on the market. The best thing I can say for them is that I haven't changed them materially since then - the principles are just the same today as they were then."
Coxe is believed to be the first reel maker to build a reel larger than a 9/0 size and it was a special order for his friend and good customer, Zane Grey. Coxe also claimed to be the inventor of the star drag reel, however, most historians give the credit to William Boschen and Julius vom Hofe with Coxe perhaps doing some fine-tuning to the reel later. When new, Coxe reels were quite expensive costing almost twice as much as the comparable Edward and Julius vom Hofe reels of the day.
Coxe's 12/0 size reel cost a whopping $750.00 in the 1930 Abercrombie & Fitch Catalog during the great depression, that's $11,000.00 in 2017 dollars. Coxe advertised reels in the 4/0, 6/0, 9/0 and 12/0 sizes but also made larger and smaller sizes to order. Coxe also designed a reel that could be taken apart in minutes without using any tools, he dubbed the "Featherstone Broadbill" reel. Coxe sold his Los Angeles based reel manufacturing company to the Bronson Reel Company of Bronson, Michigan in 1935.
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