REEL KING – Greer, S.C.
"Reel King" reels were produced and marketed by SOMACO (Southern Machinery Company), a South Carolina textile machinery manufacturer of which James Stuart was president. Stuart was an avid angler, spending much of his time aboard his boat, the "Peggy B". The story goes that one day, upon mentioning to his captain, Duke Sanchez, his interest in diversifying his business and possibly breaking into the fishing and boating arena, Sanchez mentioned that he knew a fellow who'd done some reel design and had a few patents on trolling reels. The fellow turned out to be Fred Grieten, father of the Fin-Nor reel.
Since the sale of Fin-Nor, Fin-Nor founder, Fred Grieten had applied for a patent in 1960 for a new "sealed brake mechanism for a fishing reel", which was granted on March 27, 1962. A second patent was for "A drag Mechanism for a Fishing Reel" filed for on July 2, 1964, and granted on April 25, 1967. Both patents were to be used in a Grieten designed reel manufactured by Stuart's company.
Stuart and Grieten reached an agreement and formed a division of SOMACO called Kaperkrafts, which produced a line of boating products and the "Reel King" line of trolling reels. Fred Grieten also agreed to be a consultant to SOMACO during the development of the new reel.
Reel production started in late 1970. As with his early Fin-Nor reels, Grieten's Reel King reels were bomb-proof, though carrying a more modern look. Stuart died on November 3, 1972, and Kaperkrafts Division halted production a year later. "Reel King" reels thus had a short production run and never had a chance to catch on with anglers.
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