Crouch, Melbourne Fishing Reel History and Reference Information by Bernie Ladd, 2012.

R E E L P E D I A ®™ AUSTRALIAN ENCYCLOPEDIA
Antique Vintage Fishing Reels and Angling Memorabilia.
A comprehensive factual information reference guide, unique and indelibly linked to the spirit of passionate collectors.

Presented to you by Bernie Ladd, Melbourne Australia.
This reeLpedia segment on Australian vintage fishing reels describes CROUCH general purpose fishing reels made in Fairfield Melbourne Victoria, during the 1930s until relocating to Dunolly Victoria, in 1951.

 MELBOURNE HISTORY
During the 1930s, Jack Crouch, instrument maker residing in Melbourne, made some fly reels in his fully equipped home-based workshop in Fairfield. Below is a visual presentation of the progression in the development of the Crouch general purpose multiplying drum fishing reel as it evolved during the time Jack Crouch Sr was based in Melbourne. The visual display is in chronological order beginning from the first ever manufactured general purpose reel to the last model prior to Jack's departure to Dunolly Victoria. The rows of displayed images below are are marked with anagram "C" for "Crouch", and numbered: C1 to C14, to mark their chronological order.

 

Jack's first Multiplier, that appeared -c.1937, was marked by its characteristic flat brass nickel-plated crank handle and a brass saddle (foot); threaded aluminium alloy removable side plate; stamped on the crank face side THE SPORTSMAN KING. The aluminium alloy body was machined from solid stock bar, with a diameter 3, 7/16’’.  A second CROUCH model, produced later was branded J.T. CROUCH MAKER MELBOURNE -c.1939. Its distinguishing features are very similar to the Sportsman King, except that it is not stamped as such, but on the threaded back-plate the stamp signifies J T CROUCH MAKER MELBOURNE. A minor difference, however an important factor in the historical evolution of this model.  The third version of the CROUCH Multiplier appeared in 1940. The dominant characteristic of this particular variant, is its brass machined bar stock; removable threaded back side-plate, which at times was nickle-plated or un-plated; and a folding crank-handle. Understandably Jack used brass or bronze, as the material of choice, given that aluminium became scarce during the war. In the fourth version, the main distinguishing feature was the a bronze nickel-plated threaded side-plate. Then, there was the 5th version, which appeared after the World War II. Clearly, Jack had reverted to use of aluminium alloy, as it is evident in this particular reel’s body. Two unique identifying features of this version are: 1. the stamping of the CROUCH logo on both sides; and 2. the diameter of the reel being 3.5’’, which then became the standard diameter for all manufactured CROUCH reels.  All together there are thirteen known different versions of the CROUCH Melbourne multiplying fishing reel. The very last model produced by Crouch in Melbourne was stamped “J T Crouch & Sons Makers Melbourne”. It was not long after this last Melbourne production, in the early 1950s, that Jack and his sons moved their manufacturing business to Dunolly, Victoria.

             (This reference was verified in 2013 by engineer Jack Crouch Jr, senior of the Crouch brothers).

1- Crouch The sportsman King vintage fis

C 1

1- Crouch The Sportsman King vintage fis
2- Crouch The Sportsman King vintage fis
3- Crouch The Sportsman King fishing ree

The Sportsman King -C. 1937. Made by Jack Crouch Sr. Distinctive original flat brass crank-handle. Bell shaped bearing housing. Bronze main gear, hardened steel pinion; gear ratio 2 : 1; Bronze bearing, 3 leg spring steel drum brake; free spool gear lever; finger drum (spool) control aperture. The Sportsman King on crank side plate. Very rare.

CROUCH Fishing Reel information.

Jack Crouch Jr Above, confirming at an ARCA  meeting in 2013, that information on page 4 Dunolly and page 5 Melbourne Crouch reels at website reeLman Australia, is indeed correct !

2- Crouch vintage fishing reel early mod

C 2

3- Crouch vintage fishing reel early mod
1- Crouch vintage fishing reel early mod
4- Crouch vintage fishing reel early mod

 J.T. CROUCH MAKER MELBOURNE -C. late 1930 Very rare.. Bell shaped bearing housing. Bronze main gear, hardened steel pinion; gear ratio 2 : 1; Bronze bearing, 3 leg spring steel drum brake; free spool gear lever; finger drum (spool) control aperture. (became standard on all Crouch multipliers).

2- Crouch C3- vintage Bronze side plate

C3

4- Crouch C3- vintage Bronze side plate
3- Crouch C3- vintage Bronze side plate
1- Crouch C3- vintage Bronze side plate

 J.T. CROUCH MAKER MELBOURNE -C.  1940s. Nickle plated Bronze removable back plate. Bell shaped back bearing housing. Bronze main gear, hardened steel pinion; gear ratio 2 : 1; Bronze bearing, 3 leg spring steel drum brake; free spool gear lever; finger spool control aperture; folding crank handle.  Rare.

1- Crouch C4 Bronze back vintage fishing

C4

3- Crouch C4 Bronze back vintage fishing
2- Crouch C4 Bronze back vintage fishing
4-Crouch C4 Bronze back vintage fishing

 J.T. CROUCH MAKER MELBOURNE -C. 1940s. Bronze (un plated) removable back plate. Bell shaped back bearing housing. Bronze main gear, hardened steel pinion; gear ratio 2 : 1; Bronze bearing, 3 leg spring steel drum brake; free spool gear lever; finger spool control aperture; folding crank handle. Very rare.

1- Crouch c5 brass back vintage fishing

C5

3- Crouch c5 brass back vintage fishing
4- Crouch c5 brass back vintage fishing

 J.T. CROUCH MAKER MELBOURNE -C. 1940s. Brass (un plated) removable back plate. Bell shaped back bearing housing. Bronze main gear, hardened steel pinion; gear ratio 2 : 1; Bronze bearing, 3 leg spring steel drum brake; free spool gear lever; finger spool control aperture; folding crank handle. Rare.

1- Crouch C6 vinage fishing reel with Bo

C6

3- Crouch C6 vinage fishing reel made in
2- Crouch C6 vinage fishing reel made in
4- Crouch C6 vinage fishing reel interna
01- Crouch Melbourne vintage fishing ree

 J.T. CROUCH MAKER MELBOURNE (dual stamped) -C. 1940s. Aluminium alloy body. New design Semi-Bell shaped back bearing housing. Bronze main gear, hardened steel pinion; gear ratio 2 : 1; Bronze bearing, 3 leg spring steel drum brake; free spool gear lever; finger spool control aperture; folding crank handle.

1- Crouch C7 vintage fishing reel & Box.

C7

2- Crouch C7 vintage fishing reel & Box.
4- Crouch C7 vintage fishing reel. Made
3- Crouch C7 vintage fishing reel intern

 J.T. CROUCH MAKER MELBOURNE  -C. 1940s. Non anodised Aluminium alloy body (also produced silver anodised) Semi-Bell shaped back bearing housing. Bronze main gear, hardened steel pinion; gear ratio 2 : 1; Bronze bearing, 3 leg spring steel drum brake; free spool gear lever; finger spool control aperture; folding crank handle; brass saddle. gear lever- dome spring, new design base metal plate riveted . Very rare.

1- Crouch c8 fishing reel with Box. Made

C8

2-Crouch C8 vintage fishing reel made in
3- Crouch C8 vintage fishing reel intern

 J.T. CROUCH & SONS MAKERS MELBOURNE stamped on back plate -C. 1940s. Silver anodised Aluminium alloy body; external bronze bearing housing. Bronze main gear, hardened steel pinion; gear ratio 2 : 1; 3 leg spring steel drum brake; free spool gear lever; finger spool control aperture; new design crank arm of die-cast metal, nickle plated. Aluminium barred drum (spool) and arbor; brass saddle. Rare in mint condition with original box.

1- CROUCH c9 vintage fishing reel & Box.

C9

4- CROUCH c9 vintage fishing reel. Made
2- CROUCH c9 vintage fishing reel & Box.
3- CROUCH c9 vintage fishing reel intern

 J.T. CROUCH & SONS MAKERS MELBOURNE stamped on back plate -C. 1940s. Optional check (clicker) model. Silver anodised Aluminium alloy body; external bronze bearing housing. Bronze main gear, hardened steel pinion; gear ratio 2 : 1; 3 leg spring steel drum brake; free spool gear lever; finger spool control aperture; crank arm of die-cast metal, nickle plated. Aluminium barred drum (spool) and arbor; brass saddle. Rare with original box.

1- Crouch Melbourne vintage fishing reel

C10

2- Crouch Melbourne vintage fishing reel
3- Crouch Melbourne vintage fishing reel

Crouch Standard model Melbourne, J T Crouch & Sons, with fourth box version. Note this new box design was also used for the early Dunolly reels.

1- Crouch c10 vintage fishing reel. Made

C11

2- Crouch c10 vintage fishing reel. Made
4- Crouch c10 vintage fishing reel inter
3- Crouch c10 vintage fishing reel. Made

 J.T. CROUCH & SONS MAKERS MELBOURNE stamped on back plate -C. 1940s. Silver anodised Aluminium alloy body; external bronze bearing housing. Bronze main gear, hardened steel pinion; gear ratio 2 : 1; 3 leg spring steel drum brake; free spool gear lever; finger spool control aperture; new design flat back, curved front crank arm of cast Aluminium originally silver anodised, erinoid cylindrical handle.  Aluminium barred drum (spool) and arbor; brass saddle

1- Crouch c12 fishing reel, last version

C12

2- Crouch c12 fishing reel, last version
4- Crouch c12 fishing reel, last version

 J.T. CROUCH & SONS MAKERS MELBOURNE stamped on back plate -C. 1940s. Silver anodised Aluminium alloy body; external bronze bearing housing. Bronze main gear, hardened steel pinion; gear ratio 2 : 1; 3 leg spring steel drum brake; free spool gear lever; finger spool control aperture; flat back, curved front crank arm of cast Aluminium silver anodised; erinoid bulbous handle. Aluminium barred drum (spool) and arbor. New saddle design of aluminium alloy.

Crouch 'Dual Braked' vintage fishing reel recently found.  Crouch reel enthusiast Trevor Brown who is the founder of the “Old School Vintage Fishing Gear and Treasured Pieces” Facebook Group, focused his sharp eye on an unusual early Melbourne Crouch fishing reel, during one of his Crouch hunting endeavours and promptly purchased his find with enthusiasm. The reel had an unusual braking system and Trevor telephoned me seeking my thoughts about his new seemingly unique acquisition.


We made arrangements to meet at my home in the outer Yarra Ranges Eastern Melbourne, on the morning of 17 October 2020. Upon arrival Trevor was clutching his treasured Crouch reel and when he passed it to me I noticed the reel had an unusual braking system.

The nickel plated brass side plate was delicately unscrewed and we carefully examined the internal dual braking mechanism. My first observation was the brass screw that activated the secondary brake pad looked to have been professionally made, displaying the workmanship of what one would expect from the instrument maker Jack Crouch Sr, who started fishing reel manufacture in the 1930s. The usual 3-pronged star spring was fitted to the back plate which was a standard fitment on the Crouch multiplying reel.

Trevor and I discussed the reel at length and we both agreed that this was a very early reel bearing all the characteristics of Crouch’s workmanship. We also concluded that the reel is indeed a prototype experimental reel produced by Crouch. At this point in time it is not known if this particular prototype had ever reached production stage or whether it was custom-made by order from Jack Crouch Sr.

To date there are several “Dual Braked“ Melbourne Crouch reels known to be in the hands of collectors.

1- CROUCH Dual Brake vintage fishing ree

C13

5- CROUCH Dual Brake vintage fishing ree
4- CROUCH Dual Brake vintage fishing ree
2- CROUCH Dual Brake vintage fishing ree
3 - CROUCH vintage fishing reel Dual Bra

Crouch Dual Braked  Metal revolving drum multiplier. Maker J. T. Crouch, Melbourne vic. Aluminium brass barred spool, Nickle plated brass side plate, brass seat (saddle); rear spool control 3 pronged  aperture brake adjustment and side plate secondary brake adjustment; folding crank handle; gear ratio 2 : 1; diameter 3 1/2'', spool width 7/8''. Reel weight 326 grams.Stamped J. T. Crouch Maker Melbourne on back plate -c. 1940. Very rare.

6- Trevor Brown 2020, Victoria  Australi

Crouch collector Trevor Brown, 2020 proudly holding his rare Crouch dual braked reel.

 Another Dual Braked Crouch found!

1- Crouch Dual Braked vintage Fly Fishin

C14

2- CROUCH dual brake vintage fishing ree
3- CROUCH dual brake fishing reel intern
1- CROUCH dual brake vintage fishing ree

 Crouch Dual Braked  Metal revolving drum multiplier. Maker J. T. Crouch, Melbourne Vic.Specifications similar to C13  Dual Brake Crouch -c. 1940. Very rare

Bronze

6-Crouch vintage fishing reel  Back Plat

Aluminium. J.T. Crouch Maker Melbourne stamped on back.

Nickle plated Bronze.

Aluminium. J.T. Crouch & Sons Makers Melbourne stamped on back

1- Jack Crouch Jr, fishing with his Crou

Jack Crouch Jr, holding a 5lb Brown Trout fished with his Crouch reel at the Goulburn river Victoria, in 1950.

1-Crouch  Melbourne fishing reel Box typ

Left, first box design followed by second design, third optional check box and far right the last Melbourne Crouch reel box design (also used for early Dunolly reels).

2- CROUCH fishing reel. Australian Shoot

CROUCH advertisement. Australian shooters & anglers news, September 1950.

1- Crouch fishing reel No. 3 spool with
2- Crouch fishing reel No. 1 spool with
CROUCH threaded face plate removal wrenc

 CROUCH side plate removal tool. Extremely rare.

1- CROUCH vintage fishing reel advertise

 CROUCH  spool size options.

1-Crouch fishing reel Parts List

 CROUCH Parts List.

 This  Melbourne Crouch segment update, is currently a work in progress.

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