William Shakespeare Jr. got his start in the fishing tackle business in 1896 and went on to become one of the world's largest tackle manufacturers. During the 1930s Shakespeare produced a reel designed by Ralph W. Miller called the "Shakespeare Miller Autocrat". Miller had tested the reel on the west coast of the U.S. and also in the waters off Australia and New Zealand.
The Autocrat was produced in a 4/0 and 6/0 size and came in a small suitcase style case with instructions and tools. To put the Autocrat in free-spool one needed to turn the handle backward which lead to some problems for anglers if the handle was pushed backward by accident while fighting a fish. The reel was extremely well made and considered one of Shakespeare's finest reels.
The Autocrat was also the most expensive reel Shakespeare ever produced. A small handful of custom-made 10/0 size reels and one 14/0 size reel were made for Shakespeare executives for big game shark fishing off the coast of Africa. These scarce, larger big game reels are very desirable and highly coveted by collectors.
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