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James William Young was born in Redditch in 1870 the son of a fishing reel maker. He was a natural innovator whose flare for design is believed to have been instrumental in the early development of the Aerial reel. At the age of 16 he had built the smallest, full working model, penny farthing bicycle in the world. This was a remarkable feat of engineering, especially considering the lack of tools available to him at the time. The bicycle consists of over 400 hand made parts

Left:The Manufacturing works at Redditch
Right: James William Young

He spent the early part of his career in charge of reel production at Allcock's in Redditch and later set up his own business. Two of his sons, Howard and James Robert, joined him after leaving school and together they gradually built up the business producing several different models of reels for themselves and other companies, including the Allcock Aerials.

James William Young died following a tragic accident whilst on holiday in The Isle of Man in 1921. His sons carried on the business and were located at Mayfield Works in Redditch. They were later joined by another son, Edward E. Young in 1940.

The production of fishing reels was halted during the wartime period when the business was put at the disposal of the Ministry of Aircraft. The best known war-time component the produced was the firing button used on the Spitfire aeroplane.

Immediately after the war the Ambidex reel was developed and proved to be an enormous success. Other models produced alongside were the Gildex, Rapidex, Trudex, Windex, Seldex and Landex.

In 1965 J.W Young was purchased by the American company Noris Shakespeare at which time the Young family were represented by Jim Young, the grandson of the original J.W Young. He had joined the company of J.W Young & Sons in 1960 and became a qualified engineer in 1964.

Right: JimYoung
Left: Chris Miles, Product Technician at Masterline

In 2001 J.W Young & Sons (Fishing Reels) Ltd. was aquired by Masterline International Ltd. and today all components are made in the UK, most of them being manufactured by Jim Young in his new workshops on the outskirts of Redditch. Although assembly is now carried out at the Masterline works in Tewkesbury, final inspection is carried out in person by Jim prior to personally signing a certificate that the reel conforms to his high standards.