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About The Mitchell Reel Museum

Mike Read and Wallace CarneyMitchell Reel Museum is the most trusted source for all things Mitchell since 2006! We specialize in documenting all Mitchell reels made in France from 1939 to 1989. Now after 75 years (1939-2014), these are the best vintage fishing and collectable reels in the world!

 

This web site is owned by Mike Read and Wallace Carney and is here for all who either collect, love or at least remember Mitchell reels and the impact it had in our lives! We have developed it to help understand the history surrounding Mitchell reels and share our knowledge of the truth.

 

So you know a little about who we are, why we know what we do and our interest in Mitchell Reels, here are a few words from or about the team who are or have helped in many ways in the building of this site.

 

Wallace Carney (USA)

I’ve been interested in Mitchell reels since the late fifties but in 2000 I found more interest in the history and mysteries of Mitchell. I have bought and sold many Mitchell reels for study and documentation. In 2006 I authored a book on how to date Mitchell reels by serial numbers called “Mitchell Re-Birth of a Legend” with cooperation and assistance from Barry Frewing, author of “Mitchell Birth of a Legend”. 

 

In 2009 I authored another book called "The Mitchell Classic 300 Spinning Reel" that includes the serial number dating system but goes into much more detail. This book also contains all the history of Mitchell I've been able to document to date. Although these books will never be sold as a profit, I will continue working on more books on various Mitchell series reels.

 

I will continue to study, research history and authenticate Mitchell reels as well as administer this web site full time or at least as much as time permits.

 

Mike Read (England)

I've been fishing man-and-boy for around 50 years. At first I couldn't afford a Mitchell. But at the age of 15 I worked in a fishing tackle shop and a Mitchell 301 was the first thing I bought. Sadly that reels has long since disappeared. I may have traded it for something. My next Mitchells were 301's then 411's - then a Mitchell Match 'L', which I still have and still use.

 

Now I fish mainly with some old Mitchells, plus some other reels that I love but won't mention by name: they are great to fish with, but do not have the same look and feel of a Mitchell. I collect mainly 'egg shape' Mitchells, typically those up to the 1980s plus any specials. I just love the DLs.

 

Jean-Pierre Gumprich (France)

Jean-Pierre Gumprich was long related to the history and growing success of Mitchell. He is the only child of Julius Gumprich and nephew of Otto Gumprich who had co-founded Charles Garcia & Co in NYC in between the two world wars. JP was literally brought up in a Mitchell environment from age 8. At the age of 18 years old, he became a full time employee of Impecco, Paris.

 

JP has very intimate knowledge of the scenes and behind the scenes, as actor, translator, and interpreter for all management involved from 1957 till 1983 on a daily basis! In addition to his duties as the prime actor in Mitchell exports; he was directly responsible for all communications to the 85 countries handled by Impecco, Paris.

 

JP is currently writing a book. His book will detail the very origins of spinning reels, the environment within which Mitchell grew to worldwide success, killing many other brands on the way, the growth of the range, the success coming from all quarters. There will be a mix of technique, angling savvy, commercial strategy and more information that could only be known by him.

 

Barrie Welham (England)

Retired CEO of the exclusive Garcia distributor company in England, Barrie is a living legend who has helped Wallace Carney preserve the history and legacy of Mitchell reels. As a close personal friend with many key Mitchell personnel including Tom Lenk, Jules Gumprich and his son J.P. Gumprich, and even Maurice Jacquemin, the first designer of the reels, his help has been priceless! In his own words:

 

I became closely involved with Mitchell reels in 1967 when I was approached to take on the Mitchell Distribution for the U.K. from London. I formed Garcia Tackle U.K. and in 1968 I set up an office in Southampton near the port of entry.

 

The engineering quality, for which Carpano & Pons were famous, and the quality of Mitchell reels has never been surpassed. They went on and built many millions of reels and there has never been a range of any other major item of fishing tackle, be it rods, reels, lines, that has achieved anything like the same quantity for a single brand and producer.

 

Doug DeSimone (USA)

Having been born into the world of outdoor sports with a family involved in The Garcia Corporation and Impecco Ltd., I had no choice but to be a fishing tackle enthusiast and historian. The Garcia as I have grew to know and admire was in business from 1947-1978. My father was Louis DeSimone, President of Impecco Ltd. in the United States, the exclusive importer for Garcia's Mitchell and Abu fishing tackle and numerous other outdoor brands.

 

I was fortunate to also serve as Vice President for Impecco Ltd. from 1990-2000. My uncle, Thomas T. Lenk, was the key force in the marketing and success of the Mitchell reel and was President and CEO of Garcia. Two other uncles were Emil DeSimone, Executive Vice President, and Angelo DeSimone, National Service Manager for Garcia. The three brothers had a cousin, Albert Pisapio, who was Vice President of Garcia, managing Garcia Outdoor Sports Limited (Canada), and later served as President of Mitchell Sports Canada in the 1980's. Though they are all gone now, their legacy in the world of fishing tackle and outdoor sports will truly live on.

 

Roy Allett (Scotland)

Roy along with Wallace Carney shares a passion to help anyone with questions about vintage Mitchell reels so on April 11, 2009 they opened a worldwide discussion group called Mitchell Mates International. The success of this group has been beyond their wildest expectations. Roy, one the kindest and most honorable men amongst us, continues his passion in Mitchell in many ways. In Roy's own words:

 

Like many of us I have been fishing since I was a boy. Money was always short back then and a Mitchell reel was out of reach but I always promised myself that one day I would own one. I now have a modest collection, my main interest lies in the earlier versions but I love them all. I love using them, I love the way they look and feel but I also enjoy learning about the many variations. Perhaps best of all I love working on them, to make a neglected reel purr again is very satisfying to me.

 

James Entwistle (England)

A well known UK collector of Mitchell reels and other Mitchell products. He has been collecting for many years and has one of the best collection of Mitchell reels in The UK. James also attends many shows in The UK where collectors meet and discuss all aspects of fishing, he is recognised as the "Mitchell' man.

 

James is also an avid fisherman and loves Pike fishing with Mitchell reels of course!. James will be adding a lot of depth to our work on studying Mitchell reels. To see the evidence watch our CAP section grow over the coming months. (Written by Mike Read about James)

 

Paul Handal (USA)

I was born and raised in New England and with the direction of my late father I started fishing at 5 or 6 years old while using Mitchell reels. I started seriously collecting Mitchell reels in 2000 and proudly display them for all visitors to see. My desire to gather information regarding the the Mitchell reel has surpassed my goal of collecting the reel itself. The historical data and the people behind the manufacturing and management of the product is much more interesting to me than the reels themselves.

 

It is my life's ambition to seek out and provide as much accurate information as possible for all lovers of the Mitchell reel to enjoy. Along the way I have met some very wonderful people and it never ceases to amaze me what's around the next corner of my travels to find this information. Tight lines to all and I hope to see you on the river or lake sometime soon!