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The Mitchell® Legend
The Mitchell® legend began in the heart of the Avre valley in Cluses, France. Cluses, however, was not originally famous for the production of fishing reels. As early as 1720, the city was engaged in the art of clock making. By 1848 the city had become so well-known that a prestigious clock making school, l'Ecole d'Horlogerie, was established in Cluses by royal decree. Louis Carpano, one of the first graduates of the school, was highly regarded for making fine quality watch works. After working for a few years in a Geneva clockworks factory, Carpano returned to Cluses and in 1868 formed a partnership with Francois Jacottet. Jacottet's clock making factory became Carpano's four years later.
In 1902, Mr. Carpano gave the factory to his nephew, Constant Carpano. Clock-making continued to prosper there until World War I when the factory was refitted to produce munitions. After the war, production returned to watch parts and gears. Upon Constant Carpano's death in 1927, a partnership was created among his heirs and son-in-law, Charles Pons. Carpano & Pons became an industrial firm of broad scope making clocks and household appliances, along with fishing rods, reels and lures.
Maurice Jacquemin, a Carpano & Pons engineer, was the inventor of the Mitchell® reel as we know it today. His goal was to produce a reel which was not only a container to hold line, but also a tool which would cast the lure at a great distance with precision and recover the line without tangling. In 1948, and after two years of development, the revolutionary Mitchell® 300 was born. Mr. Pons named the reel in honor of his brother, Mitchel. The world's first spinning reel was a marked departure from the reels of its day in both mechanics and appearance. The Mitchell® 300 was the beginning of a chain reaction, rapidly propelling the company to international fame.
In 1965, upon the death of Mr. Pons, Mitchell® and other Carpono & Pons divisions became separate companies. The future was bright as production reached 12,000 reels per day in 1970. Unfortunately, the oil crisis and strong international competition in the late 1970s forced Mitchell® to declare bankruptcy in 1981.
Philippe Blime took over Mitchell® in 1982 with plans to revitalize the business. He strived to turn the company around using the Mitchell® brand's prestige and tradition of quality. His restructuring strategy was to rejuvenate the product line, reduce costs, increase distribution, and innovate throughout, while at the same time respecting the tradition. In 1983-1984 stiff international competition forced Mitchell® to subcontract the manufacture of its products to the Pacific Rim. Although Mitchell® reels were no longer produced in France, French engineers maintained strict control over product concept and design.
In 1990, Mitchell® was acquired by Johnson Worldwide Associates (JWA), as a complement to JWA's already successful Johnson® reel line. At that time, nearly 30 million Mitchell® 300s had been sold worldwide, since introduction.
In addition to being known as a great fishing reel, Mitchell® has become a leader in protecting our environment and educating young people. In 1987 Mitchell® became involved in the protection of French rivers by starting a program called, "1 franc per reel." The program donated one franc from each reel sold to fund projects committed to preserving France's rivers. Mitchell® also developed a teaching package for river and ocean fishing for use in schools. By 1990, fifty schools throughout France had taught more than 2,000 young people with the assistance of these materials.
Mitchell® was purchased by Pure Fishing in 2000 as a part of the JWA fishing products acquisition. Pure Fishing proudly added the Mitchell® name to its portfolio of leading fishing tackle brands, which included Berkley®, Abu Garcia® and Fenwick®.
Mitchell® is a registered trademark of Pure Fishing
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