Hardy Perfect lightweight series

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flyuvo
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Hardy Perfect lightweight series

#1

Post by flyuvo »

Check out this bunch:

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I’ve developed an interest in this series ever since I was introduced to one of these little beauties. I haven’t found a lot of information about them, almost none. Some sellers are referring to them as the lightweight perfects and they are lighter than their brothers, indeed. Several indications point to a period of production between WWII and 1950: straight line logo but still leaded, One of the reel makers is Thomas Wilkinson (T.W. 1934 – 1950), there is no mentioning in any Hardy catalogues which were not issued until 1951).
A closer look at the innards of these reels reveals their peculiarity: They are made from a non-standard lighter alloy and have a different lead finish than usual and also – instead of brass - alloy spindle, cog , cog pins, ball bearing housing, spring adjusting bar and central bush. Whether this was due to a lack of brass after the war or to intension to make them lighter, I don’t know. But there must have been a parallel production with brass parts since I’ve seen a couple of them.


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It must have been an intentional series. They all have serial numbers on all the three reel parts and they are in the same spot. Likewise there is a letter right next to the handle’s rivet on the inside of the winding plate.
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Besides the ones I own I have come across others in the internet, all together about twenty reels, mainly in the small sizes 3 1/8 up (no 2 7/8 found so far, but there's one on the big site right now, but with brass parts), only one 3 7/8 and one 3 ¾ (see pic). None of them had a number higher than 141, so I assume that the series would have around 150 – 200 reels each size.
There are reels with line guards but mostly without. The line guards are mostly in poor shape as you can see on the pics. I haven’t seen identical serial numbers so far and guess that the ones with line guard were in the same series.
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Remember the discussion about the “Z” reels? The letters on the winding plates are most probably maker’s initials since there are T.W. (Thomas Wilkinson), J.R.J (Jack Jackson), J.S. (Jimmy Smith) and R.R. (Robert Richardson). Most of them show a Z and that makes me assume that Z was a maker of Hardy’s, too, but unknown with full name.
I’d like to keep my research up and therefore I would like to ask all of you who own one of these reels to show pics with the identifications. Maybe we get more clues about this misterious series. So please if you have one show it!
Thx all
Urs

Booman2
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Re: Hardy Perfect lightweight series

#2

Post by Booman2 »

Mine is a 3 7/8" with perfect metal line guide and the initials T.A. (Thomas Appleby?) and the number 106 stamped on both side plate and on the plate next to the bearings. It has 2 circles inscribed on the winding plate but no pin like your first photo to the top right. I wonder what the number 106 means, and cannot recall seeing it in any of the common references. Given the aluminum parts, I assume it's post war production when materials were scarce.

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sovereign
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Re: Hardy Perfect lightweight series

#3

Post by sovereign »

Hardy reel maker TA = Thomas Appleby left hardys 1947 so I think you are right about a war-time reel. The 106 stamped on the reel-parts was a number used so that the reel-maker could get the right parts together to a perfect fitting fly reel. For us now it tells us that the reel has all its original parts, if different numbers on the different reel-parts it tells us that the reel is,nt the correct fly reel from the factory but a later mix done with different Hardy Perfect reels, sadly they do exist. // Steen

flyuvo
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Re: Hardy Perfect lightweight series

#4

Post by flyuvo »

Booman2, please be so kind and show us pictures. If there‘s no number on the spool it could be an optional thing or a replacemenent. I have one of them as well and it has a spool with a solid face and it was most likely done by Hardy. The number is iho a serial number and it‘s on all parts to know that the parts belong together, as Sovereign stated.
Urs

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oddsnrods
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Re: Hardy Perfect lightweight series

#5

Post by oddsnrods »

I am not sure that the reels in question would have been a dedicated Lightweight series of Perfects. My guess is that there may well have been brass shortages in the firm at the time, but who knows.

It appears that the reels featured in the first post have brass feet, which preclude any effort to save weight. Certainly at the time many other models of Hardy reels had alloy feet - Jock Scott, Silex etc. so if they wanted to save weight..these could well have been Dural (Duralumin) which is very strong and lighter than brass.

WW2 ended in 1945 and there were shortages after, but to what extent I do not know; certainly food rationing I think lasted until 1953.

I did not know until reading this thread that I had one of the reels in question. A contracted 3 5/8" Perfect with leading and straight line logo, unused and in it's box. JLH on the winding plate and 98 stamped on both the spool and by the bearings plus winding plate.

I have another contracted 3 7/8" of the same period also with leading and straight line logo. Again with brass foot and this time with the brass bearing race, with JH inside the winding plate and 56 inside at the same places as the other reels numbers are - on inside of the winding plate at 9 0'clock if the initials are at 12.

The handle 'post' on the smaller one without brass ball race is.. brass. The other larger reels handle post is N/silver, again pointing away from a concerted weight saving effort.

The reels are of the same period, as I have a hand written letter from April 2011 from James Hardy, letting me know that he made the smaller one in 1950, also of how few he actually made. There were no other JH makers, so I conclude that he made both, same model, different sizes.

The keen eyed will also notice that the initial letters of both reels are stamped separately, a little uneven and without dots in between, with the same type characteristics both, appearing to my eye the same letter stamp (I teach design and typography..). James Hardy started with the firm 1949 and worked his way through the various 'shops' in the firm after serving his apprenticeship with Vickers Armstrong on Tyneside; this comes from his description of how he started at Hardy's on The Lost World of Mr Hardy DVD. Established reel maker (finishers) would likely have their own all in one initial stamps, complete with the dots between their initials.

In the letter he wrote to me, JH mentioned that he made a few Altex 2 reels as well as the Perfects.

The interesting part, is that numbers 98 and 56 are numbers sequentially quite far apart. Judging by the quantity of reels in total the 21 year old James Hardy made in the reel shop, I would have said that he may well have spent but a few weeks there at most. He was to move on to the rod and other shops during his early days at the firm.

Having conducted some research and amateur experiments with leading over the years, and inspecting the two reels here I would say they are of the same cast metal and the same leading. Other metals used for some fly reels , Dural and Hiduminium would not have been leaded, in my opinion, but that's another story which I have written of before.
I doubt that the spindle and check wheel are an alloy, probably steel.

Interesting little questions always seem to emerge concerning Hardy reels.

Malcolm



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flyuvo
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Re: Hardy Perfect lightweight series

#6

Post by flyuvo »

Malcolm, very nice reels and thx to your contribution. One more reel on my list and with another and very prominent maker.

I could agree with the doubt that these reels were made on intention to make them lighter looking at the brass foot. But looking at that foot raises the question, if there was a shortage why was that part made of brass? I keep calling them "lightweights" because I have no other name for them. I'm sure it was a series and to identify them "HP lightweight" is good enough :) And I agree that there must have been identical reels of the same time with brass parts as your 3 7/8 whether they were part of the same series we will only know when we find two reels with the same number …. So I shall include these reels with brass parts into my little research.

We're still not sure what Bamboo2's reel is all about. Let's see it, Bamboo2 :) Here's the one with solid spool I mentioned. There's no number on the spool but it definitely looks like Hardy made and it works perfekt with no wobble or any other concern:
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And here's one with the same looks and the Z stamp, but serial number only in cage and with brass parts. It's a nice 3 1/2" reel:
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I'm happy with any other help and contribution to that topic.
Urs

flyuvo
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Re: Hardy Perfect lightweight series

#7

Post by flyuvo »

Well, that‘s what I call a low response. Is it lack of interest in this series? Are there no more around and do I have to consider these reels as extremely rare? Am I in the wrong forum with this?
So please check your great collections and let me know about more existing „lightweight“ HPs. Thx
Urs

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ibookje
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Re: Hardy Perfect lightweight series

#8

Post by ibookje »

Not a lot that can afford these vintage reels I guess

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Piglegs
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Re: Hardy Perfect lightweight series

#9

Post by Piglegs »

Hi Flyuvo
I think you are reading too much into this. After WW2 there will have been a shortage in materials and parts and Hardy’s would have used old stock parts and whatever new materials were available. I have the 1948,
51 52 and 53 export catalogues and no mention of the special lightweight series in any of them. My guess is dealers invented the ‘ightweight perfect’ idea to sell more reels just as Jamie Maxtone Graham coined the ‘spitfire’ phrase rather than ‘left in the white’ simply to move more of his deliberately polished stock which buyers perceived to be more attractive than the war time painted reels. I was also under the impression that the single letter refs e.g the z ref you refer to is simply a parts ref so the maker could assemble the reel with matching parts on his bench.
Post war perfects are also quite modestly priced so I don’t think the lack of replies has anything to do with this it is simply because in my view there is no lightweight series.
Stay safe everyone and apologies if I sound a party pooper.

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cdmoore
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Re: Hardy Perfect lightweight series

#10

Post by cdmoore »

Not to rain on the parade flyuvo, but...

1.) No such series. Never mentioned by Drewett. Never mentioned by Ted Evans in his excellent films. Never mentioned in any of the other books I've read on the subject. Besides, brass foot weighs almost a full ounce more than aluminum (I have weighed them). Tough aluminum alloys were available when these reels were made. I don't think a brass foot could seriously be a design element by a firm such as Hardy in an effort to make a lightweight Perfect--not given the success they had with the actual Hardy Lightweight or the LRH Lightweight. Indeed, the history of the Perfect doesn't seem to accord with the idea of light weight...period. That's why they made the St. George and other models which weighed several ounces less.

2.) Not that uncommon. Do a google image search. I don't have one because I am not a fan of the chromed steel lineguard, often mistaken for NS, which tend to chip and rust.

3.) The unperforated spool is quite unusual, supplied on special request. But also not a weight saver. Still, a nice find.

NewUtahCaneAngler
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Re: Hardy Perfect lightweight series

#11

Post by NewUtahCaneAngler »

Adam's Angling points out that the bearing race uses different size and quantity of bearings as well. I suspect that Hardy had a reason for making these other than material shortages. Light is good, too light is not as the rod will become (potentially very) tip heavy

flyuvo
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Re: Hardy Perfect lightweight series

#12

Post by flyuvo »

Hi all, I've been waiting for a while now but had only one more reel pointed out by a collector. It's no 9 and with a red line guard... probably mounted on request by the seller:
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I've tracked close to thirty reels of that series (what ever we might call them) by now. I agree the series is nowhere mentioned, it seems to consist of various sizes (no identical numbers so far regardless of the sizees) but nevertheless does have some unique features as mentioned above. But there's more to find out: All the reels with the "Z" stamp have an alloy spindle core with a steel sleeve whereas all the reels that have the stamp of known reel makers (e.g. T.W, J.R.J) have full alloy spindles. Accordingly the winding plates are built differently:
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Full alumin spindle by J.R.J.

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Alumin core with steel sleeve spindle by "Z"

I rest my case here and leave comments and thoughts up to you. If anybody finds another one of that species in his collection, let me know and send pics.
Cheers Urs

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