Crouch, Melbourne Fishing Reel History and Reference Information by Bernie Ladd, 2012.
The Sportsman King -C. 1937. Made by Jack Crouch Sr. Distinctive original flat brass crank-handle. Stamped The Sportsman King on crank face side.
During the 1930s, Jack Crouch, instrument maker residing in Melbourne, made some fly reels in his fully equipped home-based workshop in Fairfield. His first Multiplier, that appeared -C.1937, was marked by its characteristic flat brass nickel-plated crank handle and a brass reel foot, threaded aluminium alloy removable sideplate; 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 new CROUCH model produced later was branded J.T.CROUCH MAKER MELBOURNE. -C.1939.
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 and a folding crank-handle. Understandably Jack used brass as the material of choice, given that aluminium became scarce during the war . The 4th version was the same with one specific difference: The threaded side-plate was nickel-plated bronze. Then, there was the 5th version, which appeared after the war. Clearly, Jack has 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 is 3.5’’, which then became the standard diameter for all manufactured CROUCH reels. There are fourteen different versions of the CROUCH Melbourne multiplier fishing reel.The last model stamped “J T Crouch & sons Makers Melbourne”.
Reference verified by engineer Jack Crouch jr, senior of the Crouch brothers.
Stamped J.T. CROUCH MAKER MELBOURNE -C. late 1930. Bell shaped bearing housing. Bronze main gear, hardened steel pinion; gear ratio 2 : 1; Bronze bearing, 3-leg steel drum brake; free spool lever; spool control aperture. These specs became standard on all Crouch mutipliers.
Third version; removable threaded brass side plate. Folding crank.
First Crouch box
Fourth version. nickle plated bronze back (also produced unplated)
Extremely Rare un- plated. model, version 5.
Also produced silver anodised
Version 6 first Aluminium threaded removable back plate.
Melbourne Crouch version
7.Cast alloy nickel plated
flat curved crank.
Second version box.
Brass back Crouch -C early 1940. Courtesy Richard Gully, Melb, Victoria.
Stamped J T Crouch maker Melbourne, Diameter 3 7/16'', width 1 7/16. Aluminium alloy body, Brass saddle -C early 1940.
Recently Found Folding Handle Crouch, Aluminium Alloy RARE Un-plated model. maker Jack Crouch, Melb -c. mid 1940.
Stamped J T Crouch maker Melbourne on both sides, Diameter, 3 1/2'', width, 1 7/16'' Brass saddle -C mid 1940.
J T Crouch maker Melbourne, stamped.
optional check. Specs, as model 6 -C mid 1940.
Version 8, first Melbourne J T Crouch & Sons model.
Stamped J.T. Crouch & Sons Makers Melbourne, Brass barred spool,nickel platedcast Aluminium flat curved crank, brass saddle -C late 1940.
Melbourne Crouch & Sons version 9
Crouch Mint example with original box. aluminium barred spool, arbour & saddle brass; Crank handle same as model 7 -C late 1940.
Melbourne Crouch & Sons version 10 First tapered crank.
Stamped J. T. Crouch & Sons.Tapered cast Aluminium anodised crank, Brass saddle, Aluminium barred spool & arbour.
version 11, Last Melbourne Crouch & Sons tapered handel knob variant.
Stamped J.T. Crouch & Sons Makers Melbourne. Cast Aluminium anodised crank, Tapered handle knob, Aluminium barred spool & arbour; Aluminium saddle -C 1949.
Melbourne Crouch reel box second version.
Note also used for early Dunolly made reels.
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 aperture 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 this is the only “Dual Brake“ Melbourne Crouch reel known to be in the hands of a collector.
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. Extremely rare.
Crouch collector Trevor Brown, 2020 proudly holding his rare Crouch dual braked reel.
CROUCH side plate removal tool. Extremely rare.
CROUCH advertisement depicting spool size options.
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