Mitchell Garcia "The Reel story"
Here is the reel story of the legendary classic French-Made Mitchell-Garcia Mitchell open faced spinning reel that would introduce spin fishing to millions of people.
The Mitchell spinning reel which would become the Mitchell 300/ Garcia-Mitchell 300 was manufactured in France by a company known as Carpano and Pons. It was 1868 when Henry Jacottet and Louis Carpano founded a business under the name Carpano-Jacottet. This company manufactured watch gears and related items. In 1874 Campano retired and Jacottet continued the business.
Carpano retired in 1902. Having no children the company would be taken over by his nephew, Jean Constantine Carpano.
Jean Constantine Carpano died in 1927. That same year Charles Pons, Constantine's son-in-law, and the Carpano family formed a new company called Carpano and Pons.
In the mid 1930's Carpano and Pons was asked to do some designing of two existing spinning reels: the Pecos by Pecheur Ecossais of France and the CAP reel designed by La Canne a Peche of Agier, France.
About the same time a design engineer named Maurice Jocomin started working at Carpano and Pons, Charles Pons asked Jocquemin to work on a design of a new concept for an open-faced spinning reel. That marked the birth of the most well known open-faced spinning reel ever produced, The Mitchell /Garcia Mitchell Model 300.
Just how did this reel get its name? Charles Pons' brother's name was Michel. Michel died just before the company introduced the new reel thus the reel was named after Michel.
How did the Charles Garcia Corporation end up being the sole distributor of the Mitchell lines in the United states? It was 1946, and Jules Gumprich and Charles Garcia owned an import/export company named Impecco. Jules who lived in France sent one of the reels to his brother Otto, who was head of the Charles Garcia Co. in New york City. Thomas T. Lenk, who worked for the company, saw the reel and asked if he could try and market it here in the United States. It wasn't long before sales grew to a point that Charles Garcia and co. would gear its business around the new found success.
The Impecco company was the importer while Garcia continued the sales, advertising, etc. Upon Otto's retirement Tom Lenk became CEO of the company.
The Charles Garcia Corp. was the only distributor of Mitchell in the United staes from 1947 through 1978. The company was moved in 1969 from New York City to Teaneck, N.J.
Also in 1969, 100,000 reels were being manufactured a month. That same year Charles Pons died. The Carpano and Pons company was then restructured. At that point Mitchell became an independent company.
By 1972, Garcia was the main stockholder of Mitchell and purchused Mitchell in 1974.
In 1980 Mitchell was purchased by Browning.
By 1984, Mitchell Sports USA, a division of Mitchell/France, was a major owner and handled all North American sales.
In 1991, Mitchell was sold again, this time to Johnson worldwide. But Mitchell of France retained the manufacturing and design rights of all Mitchell products.
In 2000, Mitchell would be sold again to Pure Fishing Group of Spirit Lake, Iowa. Pure Fishing Group is now the main stockholder and principal owner.
One reel--The Mitchell / Garcia 300--without question had more impact on U.S. Manufacturers to start manufacturing open faced spinning reels than all others.
Also there are more Mitchell collectors worldwide than any other single manufacturer of open faced spnning reels.. There is an endless variety of Mitchell / Garcia Mitchell spinning reels for the collector.
For whatever reason, U.S. Mitchell collectors are of the opinion that the value of the left handed reels are the same as the right-handed models yet European collectors will pay more for the left-handed models
*I agree with the European collectors. The fact remains there are a lot fewer left handed reels manufactured than right handed.
* Ben Wright
From Ben Wrights Book. The Wright price guide for the reel man