On another thread Bauer Reels was brought up. It got me to thinking about the first Bauer I bought and why I respect that company so much.
First and foremost, I would like to thank them for keeping production right here in the U.S.A.
The LOHR was a limited run reel brought out from my understanding, to commemorate the owners son.
Besides the usual quality machining, engineering and parts, they whittled away a lot of the drag adjustment knob (which is common now on some of their reels) and did a beautiful recessed pattern on the back side of the reel using what I think would be an electode discharge machine.
You can tell making this reel was a labor of love.
As a follow-up om my comments in the "How to Adjust a Pawl and Spring" thread, here is my Orvis Presentation EXR IV. Made by STH in Junin de los Andes in the heart of Argentine Patagonia, right on the banks of the famed Rio Chimuehuin, these reels along with their SSS cork disc drag big brothers were imported by Orvis starting in the mid to late 1980's. Very well machined and crafted, EXR featured a robust variation of the classic Hardy leaf spring check. By employing dual pawls that could be set individually or in tandem which were adjustable via a machined lever attached to a brace of long coil springs, more than the normal anti-over run check resistance could be applied. This system bordered on a drag, particularly considering its design was intended for relatively light tippet trout fishing. Of course the Chimuehuin and other Patagonian rivers are noted for some very large trout grown on a diet of not only insects but the prolific abundance of Pancora, a crayfish-like crustacean, so stout tackle is popular among Argentine anglers. A design characteristic that has sent mine to Orvis's stellar reel repair department is the complexity of the spring loaded ball embedded in the stainless steel spindle casing forming the spool lock/release mechanism. Keeping it well lubricated with light reel oil should preclude failure and I was guilty of using a too viscus Teflon type lubricant. Here then, in deference to the great St. George and Perfect, is what may be the ultimate non-Hardy spring and pawl trout reel.
What is the vintage on these reels - how long did they make them? Never seen one before or knew Orvis had reels come out of Argentina.
Chi, Orvis, in its contemporary iteration, has never made reels. Some very fine ones have been produced for them from such notables as Stan Bogdan whose reels were sold via special order through Orvis and, of course, in the late 1970's, he designed venerable CFO for them which in turn was elegantly built by Hardy. Latter, in the 1990's, Orvis designed several fine reels in-house including the draw-bar Odyssey and the first generation, 3-part Vortex that where unique reels built to their specifications. But before them, in the mid 1980's, Orvis wanted to expand their offerings and include more saltwater appropriate models and discovered STH of Junin de los Andes, Argentina. Several joint-project reels followed with the Orvis name engraved upon them including the Saltwater CFO in gold and the similar but black, pawl and spring EXR from #4 through 9-weight lines and the cork against delrin drag surfaced SSS (Salmon Steelhead Saltwater) from #6 through 12-weight sizes. Well engineered and idiosyncratically designed, these reels were machined from aluminum bar stock with brass and stainless steel components. They formed the heart of Orvis's performance fly reels until termination of their agreement, in 1990 for SSS and by 1991 EXR was gone too, when STH went independent and were marketed, under the STH name, by Cortland here in North America. They went on to build the three fish engraved "Grand Slam" that I suspect is something of collectors item now.
I fished this SSS 9-10 on three continents for wild Oregon steelhead and domesticated Great Lakes steelies, Atlantic salmon on both sides of the pond and sea trout in this reel's country of origin. It performed its tasks eloquently and reliably and I have significant sentimental connection to it from a time in my career when I enjoyed considerably more exotic travel opportunity than I do now. In the 1980's we hardly had the plethora of high performance fly reels that we enjoy today so this reel did not have as much competition in my duffel as it would today and saw extensive use until Abel came along.
You learn everything there is to know about a piece of fishing tackle by using it in a lot of different environments over several seasons and an important reel design element I gleaned from SSS is, do not buy a reel whose drag adjustment knob is on the front face of the reel...it belongs on the back.