Julius vom Hofe was the eldest son of famous reel maker Friedrich vom Hofe of Brooklyn New York. Julius vom Hofe's younger brother, Edward, also established a large and successful reel making company in New York in 1967. Friedrich started his reel making business in 1857 and it is believed that Julius started as his apprentice at the same time. The reels produced during this period were marked "F. VOM HOFE & SON". Upon his father's retirement in 1882 Julius started making reel on his own marking them "JULIUS VOM HOFE".
Julius was granted several patents over the years and upon his death in 1907 his son Julius Jr. continued to run the business until 1939. The Julius vom Hofe Company made a full line of fly, casting, salt water and big game reels in all different sizes and price ranges. The company also sold reels to sporting retailers who put their own store or model names on the Julius vom Hofe products.
In 1913, Tuna Club member William C. Boschen debuted the most important innovation in reel design history to date, the star drag. Boschen initially brought his project to Julius Jr. who refined his ideas and developed a working prototype. Boschen’s star drag concept, for the first time, allowed anglers to adjust an internal friction drag while fighting a fish. As if to prove his star drag concept a success even before the debates began, Boschen landed the first broadbill swordfish taken on rod and reel weighing 315 pounds with a working prototype reel. Vom Hofe named the commercially sold version of this reel the "B-Ocean" reel, a homonym and a tip of the hat to Boschen.
By 1914 all the major tackle company’s salt water reels had star drags and internalized anti-reverse mechanisms, the modern trolling reel was born. The B-Ocean reel was the first star drag reel on the market and it was a huge success. The B-Ocean reel made its debut in only the 4/0 and 6/0 sizes. Later sizes included a size 1 which was a small surf reel and the following larger size trolling reels; 2/0, 3/0, 4/0, 6/0, 9/0, and 12/0.
Today, the vast majority of Julius vom Hofe's reels are considered quite collectible and, because of the large number of reels that he made, one could simply collect reels made by Julius vom Hofe and put together a fine, diverse collection of reels.
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