Col. William B. Schauffler was born on November 24, 1891 son of a missionary doctor in Beirut Syria and when he was five years old the family returned to the United States.
Schauffler loved flying and in 1916 was one of the first five civilians to enter Army aviation through civilian life.
At the advent of World War I, Schauffler was ordered to join the 1st Aero Squadron. In 1916 it was Schauffler's squadron that flew the ”Stars and Stripes" over enemy lines for the first time. Schauffler distinguished himself as a pilot during the war rising in rank and being decorated for bravery many times over.
After the war, Schauffler became an airline pilot and later an airline executive. Schauffler also took up the sport of big game fishing and fished for tuna in the Bahamas and in Nova Scotia.
It is not known exactly how William Schauffler and Ralph Kohlhepp met or if Kohlhepp was building reels before he met Schauffler, but the outcome of their meeting resulted in "The Schauffler Big Game Reel". Kohlhepp's first filed for a patent in March of 1938 and it was granted in February of 1939.
Schauffler was fishing with a Schauffler reel in 1939 which is borne out in dated photographs from that period. It is not known how long before the patent was granted that Kohlhepp was making reels or if Schauffler commissioned the reels. What is known is that the first reels that were built by Kohlhepp were named after his wife "Leola". At some point, Kohlhepp took on a partner, Frank Kimsey, and his name was added to the Schauffler Big Game Reel's metal identification tag.
Schauffler Big Game Reels were made from cast pot metal and had a star style friction drag that when backed all the way off put the reel in free-spool. The reel came in two sizes; a 13/0 size and 18/0 size.
Schauffler served his country again in World War II and died in 1951, Kohlhepp died in 1993.
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