Patented June 19th, 1866, Anson Hatch of New Haven, Connecticut was awarded patent number #55,653 for his "Improvement In Fishing Reels". Hatch claimed in his patent, right up front, that his reel was "an improvement on that patented by W. Billinghurst August 9, 1859". His reel arrived on the scene with little fanfare, with only a blurb in the June 30th 1866 issue of Scientific American. Little is known of this Connecticut reelmaker, and more research is needed. With only a small handfull of known examples, these reels can easily be called rare.
Anson Hatch reel, circa 1866
Anson Hatch, bottom view
I find it interesting that all the Hatch reels I've viewed have had some sort of handle variation (all 4 or 5!) The patent design allows for the handle post to screw into the central disk, with either a horn or wood grasp sliding over the post. The example to the right I suspect was modified when a fisherman long ago either lost the original screw-in post, or wanted to have a grasp mounted farther out over the reel frame. This "arched over the frame ring" handle design matches that of William Billinghurst in his 1859 patent drawing.
Interesting handle configuration
Hatch Patent, 1866
I'm always interested in adding reels to my collection. If you have a reel you'd like to discuss, trade or sell please feel free to e-mail me at Jim@sidemountreels.com