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 Post subject: High-Engraved Model# 308
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:24 pm • #  
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Mates, just acquired this one. Most believe the high-engraved model number on early 308 reels indicates these are "Pilot" or "test run" reels. I've only heard and seen a total of six. With exception of a few anomalies along the way, they are generally considered the rarest of ULs. This one is the seventh. I believe Chris S. has two, Dreis has three and I have two (now).

This one has all the period correct attributes and is in exceptional condition too. Looks like it's been mounted, but little used. I believe I was the first to open the back plate. It still has the factory amber colored grease, untouched spanner nut and line guide screw. No paint loss. I will not disassemble and clean.

It, of course, has the round axle post (as most mid-engraved model number reels). It has no interior body casting mark.

Here is the interesting part. This high-engraved reel has a serial number. While the third numeral from the left is almost impossible to read, it appears to be a "3". This makes the number 003187. This is the only high engraved reel known with a serial number. If correct, it is also the lowest serial numbered UL known. I know of two reels in 004xxx range, but nothing lower.

My theory (and others too, I believe) was high-engraved reels were only test run reels (about 3000- 4000 of them) since they had no serial numbers, and the first serial numbered reels to date have not been found lower than the 4000 range (which are not high-engraved reels). They are mid-engraved. This reel likely proves some later high-engraved reels were meant for consumer production (once they perfected the production from the test run), as it seems serial numbers would only be on production reels meant for sale, vs test run reels.

Anyone with high engraved reels with serial numbers, or a lower numbered UL, please chime in.

Sandman


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Last edited by CDSAND7640 on Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:28 pm • #  
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:41 pm • #  
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Hi Sandman,

An exceptional find :tup and the condition of your new addition 308 is beautiful. I completely agree with your assessment but then, I don't have your expertise on these reels. Congratulations on what I do know to be a very hard to find Mitchell - especially in that condition!

It's nice to see actual Mitchell reels posted here in the Forum as I think that is what draws most member and observer interest...Thank you!

Best Regards,
Chris

P.S. I'll be adding a few new additions myself (one of which I can't wait to get your opinion on). :sHa_okay:


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:39 pm • #  
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Chris, you’ve pique my curiosity...can’t wait to see it...hope I can help...

Sandman


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:38 pm • #  
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Sandman,
I appreciate the picture of your 308. Until now I didn't know of such a reel. Always great to learn new things. :sHa_rollingsmilie:

Regards,
Ted Lanham


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:34 pm • #  
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I realize that I am new here, so please forgive my ignorance.

I am questioning the serial number of 003187 with 6 digits. When I look at the posted photo of the reel foot with the serial number, the spacing of the numbers looks to me like there should be two digits between the 00 and the 187, i.e. 00__187, for a 7 digit serial number. What looks like the lower half of a 3 appears to me to be the fourth digit which would translate to 00_3187.

Does anyone else think this, or am I missing something.

J.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:43 pm • #  
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Jr, good observation...I contemplated a seven digit possibility...but to me, the spacing doesn't work for that either, nor is there any sign of stamping in between the 00 and "3"...I'm not even 100% sure the "3" is a "3"...it could be zero...making it 000187, or in your thought 0000187...I used a very high powered magnifier and concluded it is either a 003187 or 000187...It can't reasonably be a six, because 005xxx reels are mid-engraved. While we can't definitely know this reel's serial number, a couple facts and some educated guessing, beyond the serial number, helped me to conclude this...

Her we go...as stated, there are only seven known high engraved model numbered reels (I'm sure there are more out there and would love to see them). All but this one do not have a serial number. All of them have various attributes in common that indicate (some believe prove) that they were produced before the first serial numbered reels as test or pilot production runs. Mitchell was known to produce pilot runs of new models to work out manufacturing and not place serial numbers on these reels not meant for public sale, as was common practice in many types of manufacturing. These characteristics (some exclusive to the high engraved reels and some inclusive of first versions) such as:
1) no serial number
2) no interior casting mark
3) spanner axle nut
4) old style:
a) drag nut
b) bail
c) head counterweight screw
d) line guide
e) line guide screw
f) back plate screw
g) no boxes for high engraved reels have been found
H) after recording over 150 first version ULs I've never
seen a seven digit stamping, this practice came a bit
later when they realized they would surpass 1,000,000
and even then, not consistent
I) workmanship you don't see later (both of mine have
grinding marks on the foot, yet factory paint).

I am glad to explain each of these in detail if interested.

The most telling is the serial number (or lack thereof) on the other six and no casting mark on all seven. The earliest casting mark I've recorded is 009261, so we know all of the high engraved reels were before then. All of this makes me conclude this reel was the beginning of production that was meant for sale as they used up the end of the test run batch (they must of been happy with the production after 3000 reels, or so). I imagine most of the test run reels did not find their way into the public hands in any way, which is why they are so rare. I would love to know if anyone has a four digit reel with no casting mark. It could help narrow down the serial number of this reel.

I would love to know definitively that high engraved reels are test reels. Unfortunately, like much of the Mitchell world, my evidence is both factual and anecdotal. Though surmising from an educated viewpoint may be the best we have, to date.

I'm very open to any and all other evidence (anecdotal or not) and thoughts, so thank you for the inquiry Jr, and mates, check those four digit ULs for interior body casting marks!!

Thank you,
Sandman


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:28 pm • #  
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Hi Sandman,

An excellent and very informative post. I think we have looked at all my early 308's for casting marks, but I'll take another look just in case I missed something.

Kind Regards,
Chris


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:34 am • #  
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Chris, thank you for taking another look at your early 308s. Am hoping Dries weighs in with his thoughts too.

Sandman


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:23 pm • #  
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Mates, adding/updating info to this thread.

I've recently acquired two more high-engraved 308s. One with no serial number and one with a serial number. Both have all the attributes associated with these very early pilot/first production reels aforementioned. The one with a serial number is 0003253, which brings me to a couple updates/conclusions.

The 0003253 is only the second serial numbered high-engraved reel I've seen (though Dries mentioned to me once he thought he had seen one in the 3000 range). The other is the one earlier shown in this topic (00X3187), which brings me to my second update. Since the 0003253 reel is stamped very clearly, I measured the distance from the first zero to the last digit (the 3), then I did the same for the 00X3187 reel. You guessed it, they were exactly the same lengths. This proves the 0003187 reel has seven digits (need to recognize jr.evansii for calling this out earlier). As provided earlier, the attributes of the 0003187 did not exist in any mid-engraved reels to date. The lowest mid-engraved I've recorded is 0004748. This proves, without a doubt, that 0003187 is the correct number for that reel since the middle digit cannot be anything but a three (based on the shape of the bottom of the middle digit). There is one possible exception, which is that it is a zero, though since no four digit reels below 0003000 have ever been found, its highly unlikely.

In conclusion, these two recently found 0003000 series reels continue to hold up, and arguably prove definitively, the hypothesis that some collectors have been stating for years, but could not prove, that there were about 3000 pilot reels made with no serial numbers.

Sandman

A photo of the high engraved group:


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:29 pm • #  
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Sandman,

Great detective work and thank you for your tenacity in tracking this mystery to what I firmly believe is the answer to a long prevailing question :sSig_youtheman: . Fortunately, because of your questions and passion for the UL "egg body" Mitchells, I have many more in my collection than I ever intended.....and I'm still looking!! :sFun_rofl: :sFun_rofl:

Kind Regards,
Chris


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:30 pm • #  
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Sandman,
Great work! :sSig_goodjob2:
I wonder if the dates were put on with a special machine and if that machine was the same one used for all models or was there a single machine for each model?
Kind Regards,
Bill :tup


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:47 pm • #  
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Chris and Bill, thank you...it's been fun recording data, analyzing, theorizing and proving various characteristics and their production sequence. It's come in handy when determining if reels have their original parts. Something else that has been disproved, is the thought that all ULs were originally only released in Europe (Prince reels)...Too many first versions and Pilot reels have been found without back plate Prince stickers. I've recorded 65 first version reels w/o Prince stickers, implying that from the beginning they were distributed in the US and/or other continents, and why not, the US was outselling other countries on Mitchell reels by a wide margin at the time, thanks to Garcia.

Chris, keep looking for a lower serial numbered UL!!

Bill, interesting question about the stamp machine...I could only make some guesses of how it was done. It may help to start a new topic on this subject to see if other mates out there have knowledge of this.

Sandman


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