Mitchell 304 – 1953-1972 = 2,992,405 Units
Mitchell 305 – 1955-1970 = 204,034 Units
In the mid-thirties La Canne à Pêche poorly translated to “The Cane to Fishes” locates in Angers, France started developing a reel they named after their own company called the C.A.P. While they did succeed in at least two “prototypes” we know of but not shown, they went to Carpano & Pons for further development and production and by 1939, mass production of the C.A.P (and The Mitchell) began in Cluses, France. That’s where this summary begins even though this reel was not a Carpano & Pons product originally; it is why The Mitchell was born!
CAP 1ST RELEASE: Believed by most Mitchell historians to the first “test” run the called “Pilot” reels. Notice there’s no Lube Port or Anti-Reverse Lever. The maroon colored box with blue lettering is the first “presentation” box made but there are doubts of exactly when this box was first used.
CAP 2nd RELEASE: Believed by most Mitchell historians to be the first mass-produced in 1939. Just like the 1st Version Mitchell; it has no paint primer. This reel should have a wooden handle knob. Besides the obvious different spool, you will see other minor changes and improvements.
CAP 3RD RELEASE: From the collection of Barry Frewing, historian and author of “Mitchell, Birth of a Legend” this reel is 100% authentic, not a refurbish. From our knowledge of Mitchell, this reel dates back to 1946/47. Note the new Anti-Reverse Lever and paint primer.
CAP 4TH RELEASE: Although Carpano & Pons was making these reels for La Canne à Pêche; they were also highly involved in distribution of this reel and of course their own Mitchell spinning reel. We have documented this release as being sold by both Albatros in The Netherlands and Garcia in The States. Note the new Lube Port and Anti-Reverse Lever not to mention the box letters are now in gold.
Mitchell CAP 1st Version: This is what the European collectors call the “CAP 54” and for good reason. All advertisements known to exist introduce this first full bail as The Mitchell CAP 54. It was also the year Carpano & Pons bought the rights to The C.A.P thus marketing it as a Mitchell reel.
Mitchell Cap 2nd Version: Another 1954 version Garcia distribution has the first engraving proudly displaying “Mitchell C.A.P” on the reel. Now with a full bail; it still had C.A.P and Made in France cast on the backside of the housing. Why the LH (305) red box below with a RH (304) is a mystery!
Mitchell Cap 3-0-4 3rd Version: This engraved “Mitchell CAP 304” was made in 1955 and the short-lived predecessor to the next version in 1956 when “all” Mitchell reels had reel series numbers engraved. This is believed to be the first number engraved on any Mitchell reel. In 1955 Tom Lenk took over as President of Charles Garcia and Company and changed their name to The Garcia Corporation.
NOTE: None of the above reels had serial numbers!
Mitchell 3-0-4 (CAP on Housing) 4th Version: This is the “Mitchell 3-0-4” last version with the C.A.P housing that had two releases. This version was sold for a few years and had slight modifications to the housing as you can see. Serial numbers are now stamped on the housing but please note; there are very early issues of this version without serial numbers.
Serial Number 0745 is a very early numbered release with “CAP” on the box top. Remove the Garcia stickers and it’s the same as a European release. Serial Number 201035 is a 305 LH Right-Hand-Wind model with “305” now on the red box top. Serial Number 258889 also has the “304” on the blue box top along with the Garcia advertisement stickers. Serial Number 350870 came in the same box but note the serial number has now moved forever to the foot. Also note the Housing mold change along the Axle shaft.
Mitchell 3-0-4 (No CAP on Housing) 5th Version: To fully understand the importance of the C.A.P reels; this is the famous Mitchell 3-0-4 as sold in Europe and the Garcia Mitchell 3-0-4 as sold in North America. Both are shown below.
Serial Number 0751927 was distributed by Garcia and made in 1957. You will also find these in the LH 305 version in the same box but colored red, not blue. Serial Number 1100461 is a European release made in 1959. You will have a very hard time finding these in the 305 models with red European boxes if they exist! Serial Number 1148324 was distributed by Garcia and made in 1959. You will also find these in the LH 305 version in the same box but with in red, not blue.
Mitchell 304 (Large Numbers, No Dashes) 6th Version: As in the previous version; the Mitchell 304 as sold in Europe and the Garcia Mitchell 304 as sold in North America with no dashes between the larger numbers. This changed in 1967/68 on most Mitchell reel series including the 300.
Serial Number 3053057 is a clear example of this change. As in all Mitchell reels; serial numbers if applicable play an important part in determining the authenticity of the correct reel version in the correct box!
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