Re: RE; great lakes whirlaway spinning rod and reel (1)
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Posted by Steve Ellingboe (18.104.22.168) on April 07, 2004 at 21:24:40:
In Reply to: RE; great lakes whirlaway spinning rod and reel (1) posted by kevin on April 19, 2003 at 14:35:54:
: RE; KEN VIALL DO YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THE GREAT LAKES IMPERIAL WHIRLAWAY SPINNING ROD AND REEL?
Great Lakes Products was an industry leader with the introduction of the Whirlaway 500 spinning reel in 1953. They were located in Lexington, MI.
The first model 500 models produced from 1953 to 1955 were wrought with problems and almost caused the company to go out of business. In 1955 or 1956 they introduced the Whirlaway 75 or Imperial model that worked much better. That was made until about 1970. In the late 50's Great Lakes products dominated the industry with low cost rods and reels (not the Whirlaway which was more costly) that were sold to the mass merchants of the time. Customers such as Wards, Western Auto and Sears were big Great lakes customers. Their sales peaked in probably 1958 or 1959 then gradually declined through the 1960s. My father was the Great Lakes national sales manager from 1954 until 1961. I have caught many fish on a Whirlaway. The Whirlaway because of it's unusual shape was called the "douche bag reel" by it's detractors.