Our drive, as collectors, who assemble reels, flies, terminal tackle, etc is generally driven by condition where we aspire to own items in seldom and unused condition and their desirability is elevated to a higher status is they are complimented by their original trade box. Most collectors’ attentions are drawn to that wonderful marketing statement, “boxed, mint and unused” and these words promote such items for the attention of the collecting world.
With retailers always seeking to gain hierarchy over its competitors, all opportunities to promote the virtues of that business, the trade boxes from the late 19th Century through to the 20th Century seized upon the marketing opportunities to promote their company’s details and accolades with most retailers engaged in this practice.
Hardy, arguably one of the foremost tackle retailers in the 20th Century took full advantage of their Royal assents and you could be in doubt of their work for King George, Prince of Wales, Kind of Italy and King Alfonso. The regal association is prominent on their various trade boxes, and I would imagine that purchasing a fine fishing reel, rod and the various items of terminal tackle that were purchased and used by royalty would possibly promote an association with the “finest”.
If you were unable to form an association with royalty, you could simply defer to the awards your company may have attained at the International Fisheries Exhibition which was held in London in 1883, as P.D.Malloch of Perth did. They achieve excellence in artificial flies, “Gold Medal and Special Prize”. There was also room to promote the fact that they had won over one hundred first prizes at angling competitions and casting tournaments. These are the statements that are detailed on their trade boxes which carried the famous Side Casting reel, which set standards of its own when released by the company.
Robert Turnball was rather more modest in their statement, simply stating that they were Loch Leven Champions in 1906 and 1910.
On these trade boxes, they all seem to bear very similar characteristics, with metal edges and believe that there was one manufacturer for all.