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2000-2005 Phil White

Ocean City Mfg. Co.

The Ocean City Manufacturing Company was incorporated in Philadelphia, PA in 1923. The company was a major manufacturer of fishing reels for the next 40 years or so. They were known for quality factory salt water reels and inexpensive baitcasting and fly reels. Their reels are of moderate interest to collectors. They apparently purchased many reel designs from the A. F. Meisselbach Mfg. Co., when the Newark, NJ factory closed and produced them under the Hermos label.


Some of the reels I have gathered into my collection, purely because I found them interesting, include the following.

Ocean City Free Spool Surf Reel. This was the first reel manufactured by Ocean City, probably coming out in 1922-23. It is a handsome reel of German silver and Bakelite. It is about 200-250 yard size.
E-Z-2-Part. This was the first baitcasting reel produced by Ocean City, coming out in 1924. It was gone by the 1930s. This is a take-apart reel with tube frame. The end plates unscrew from the frame.
Striker. The Striker came out in 1926 and was the 2nd baitcaster in the lineup. It was the first level winding reel produced by Ocean City. It was also a tube frame, with Bakelite end plates. This reel is not very common and a good OC collectible.
Wanita. When this fly reel first appeared in 1924, it was a rather handsome blued cast aluminum reel with bone handle. It remained in the lineup for many years and degenerated into a painted inexpensive model. Many early reels are found marked "Sturdi-bilt Wanita". These reels were apparently made for Montgomery-Wards.
Fortescue. This attractive German Silver surf casting reel was produced in many different materials and for several retailers under different names. It was a nicely made reel that came out in 1925s and lasted until World War II.  Some of the variations are shown in the next photo.
Fortescue Variations. From bottom left: Crown Quality Belmar; Abbey & Imbrie Tide Runner; Sea Girt; A & I Sea Bright; and the original Fortescue. Other variations not pictured include: Congress Anglesea, Folsom, Wilson Sea Girt, and probably others.
Hermos #1. This is a nice nickel plated brass trolling reel, a duplicate of the Meisselbach Amateur #1, and was produced until the mid-1930s.
Hermos #16. This reel appears to be the most common of the Hermos reels. It is an upright trolling reel, and is a copy of the scarce Meisselbach #16. The reel is usually marked "Pat. Ap'd For", which I assume is for the square line guide mounted on the foot.
Hermos-Expert #22. This is a copy of the Meisselbach Expert #22. It appears as shown in brass, but also in nickel plated and black versions. All Hermos reels seem to be stamped only "HERMOS REEL" or "HERMOS REEL CO."
Hermos-Expert #33. This reel is a copy of the rare Meisselbach Expert #33. Just as with the Meisselbach version, it is one of the harder Hermos reels to find. It is a very sturdy upright trolling reel.
Hermos salt water multipliers. These two reels were apparently original designs by Ocean City. The top one is a nickel plated light salt water reel of 200 yard size. The bottom is a nickel plated and Bakelite reel with protective rims. Both reels use the Ocean City spider washer under the rear bearing cap.


These reels are under rated and a nice collection could be put together for minimal dollars. However, some of their larger salt water models are in some demand by big game reel collectors. The Ocean City Balboa is a very fine big game reel that is the equal to the products of the finest makers.

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