Garfield (Gar) Wood Jr. grew up on Miami's Fisher Island which was owned by his father, Gar Wood Sr. Wood Sr. was a successful businessman and at one point held more patents than any man in America. Perhaps best known for building and racing speedboats, Wood Sr. loved the water and passed this passion down to his son.
Although Wood Jr. raced boats like his father, he preferred fishing the clear tropical waters that surrounded Miami. Like his father, he also had a knack for invention and at an early age started designing reels in his father's machine shop. Later, as a young man, Wood Jr. designed the "Silver Regal", "Golden Regal", "Viscount", and "Light" lines of reels for Fin-Nor, also located in Miami, Florida. Besides the trolling reels previously mentioned, Wood Jr. also designed the "Gar Wood Jr. Spinning Reel" and the "Wedding Cake" fly reels for Fin-Nor.
Wood was also involved in the design and manufacture of the "Murbert Trolling Reel", the "Del Gar" reel, and the lever drag "Wondertroll" reel sold by Shakespeare. Wood Jr. also designed and built his own line of reels, the "Gar Wood Jr." reel, which was later marketed as the "Ted Williams" reel and sold by Sears & Roebuck as part of their line-up of fishing tackle. These reels were built with side-plates made of the newest high tech material, plastic. If exposed to the sun for too long the reel's white plastic side-plates tended to dry out, turn yellow and crack easily if dropped.
Wood had an inventive mind and the renderings he drew for building other reels have been found, however, examples of these reels have yet to be discovered. Reel collectors hope they turn up someday.
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