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     A Collector's Guide to the Life & Work of
 Otto Zwarg
     Master Reel Maker

"No reel left the Otto Zwarg Company without Otto putting the reel in free spool and then spinning the spool and holding it to his ear to listen for any noise.  It had to be silent and perfect in every way, or else it was sent back for more work.  That was Otto."


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Presentation Reels
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Author Norman J. Pinardi,
antique fishing tackle collector,





Because of the high quality (and cost) of Zwarg reels, they were sometimes given as a special award or gift, and inscribed with the name of the recipient, etc.  Several examples of Zwarg presentation reels follow.

Presented to L.G. "Bally" Balfour

This presentation reel was commissioned by Otto Zwarg Company vice president E.G. Fitzgerald, for presentation to his employer and friend, L. G. "Bally" Balfour.  Fitzgerald was the Southern Sales Manager for the L. G. Balfour Company, which made high school and college rings for many schools around the country. 




The inscription on the reel reads " 'Bally,' FROM THE SOUTHERN SALESMEN, Jan. 7, 1950." 
The serial number is D-138.



      Presented by NBC to comic Jerry Lester,
for his Happy Bean Bag show

This reel was a special commission from NBC-TV, which presented it to a comic named Jerry Lester, who had created the character "Happy Bean Bag."  

Lester had a particularly successful TV show in the early years of television, and NBC-TV presented him with the reel to commemorate the show. 

The engraving reads "For Jerry Lester, Happy Bean Bag, from NBC-TV, Season 1950-51."


Presented to Zwarg supervisor Rudi Kramer

This is a one-of-a-kind, 1/2-0 size reel made by Zwarg employee Ritchie Haertel for his co-worker and friend, Zwarg supervisor Rudi Kramer.

Rudi Kramer's initials "R K" are engraved on the back plate.

Norman J. Pinardi,
Collector of Antique Fishing Tackle
and Florida Made reels
Bradenton Florida,

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