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Shakespeare Company (Kalamazoo, Mich.)



The Shakespeare Company of Kalamazoo was founded in Kalamazoo in 1897 by William Shakespeare Jr. (1869 – 1950). The company headquarters was located at 419 Pitcher in 1913 and moved to 241 E. Kalamazoo Avenue in 1939. The company made its name by producing fishing equipment including reels, rods, lines, and bait. Shakespeare Jr. is also noted as the inventor of the level-winding reel, also called the “Wonderreel,” which made the retrieval and rewinding of a casted fishing line simpler and faster. Along with fishing equipment, the company sold outdoors equipment including clothing, fishing guides, and archery materials. Following the First World War, a subsidiary called Shakespeare’s Products was created to manufacture automotive and airplane parts, which would be used by the US military throughout World War II.

In 1970, the headquarters of the Shakespeare Company was moved from Kalamazoo to Columbia, SC. In 1981, Speareflex Inc. purchased a portion of the Shakespeare Co. assets held by the California outdoors outfitters called Anthony Industries and reopened manufacturing in Kalamazoo, thought the operation was abandoned in 1989. Aspects of the Shakespeare Company would later merge with Pure Fishing Inc. in 2007. The company continues to produce fishing equipment, especially for children and people new to fishing.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Shakespeare Company Stockholder Ledger

 Item — Box 1 of 1: [Barcode: 31141024408135]
Identifier: RH-A-4322
Scope and Contents

The collection is comprised of a common stockholder ledger from the Shakespeare Company of Kalamazoo, MI. The majority of the dates in the ledger are from between 1909 and 1940’s. Red-cover ledger binder of the Shakespeare Company of Kalamazoo includes shareholders L-Z.

Dates: Majority of material found within 1909-1940s