Monday, November 22, 2010

Multiplier reels-who uses them?

In my desire to collect vintage Orvis fly reels, I've picked up a few multipliers.  I've taken them out before and generally liked them. There are some big fish to catch where a multiplier would be nice, but they are novelties as far as I'm concerned.  I think the multipliers are for people who regularly catch BIG fish, be it in the salt or freshwater.  I'm not that guy.  Not saying I wouldn't like to be surprised, but fishing small streams like I do most of the time, it just usually doesn't happen.  That being said, I still think they are pretty cool.

Orvis sold a few multipliers over the years, so let's take a look at them.

The first one we'll talk about is the Magnalite Multiplier.  There are actually two versions of the Magnalite.  The first model was made by J.W. Young in England, the later version was made by BFR (British Fly Reels).  I suspect that the original was made at the time Young was producing other reels for Orvis.  When that relationship ended, Orvis was doing business with BFR and in fact owned BFR for a time.

The reel on the left is the JW Young made Magnalite.  On the left is the BFR made.
Inside the Young Multiplier
Inside the BFR Magnalite
Front of Young Multiplier left and BFR right

I will add specifics about weight, size, retrieve ratio etc. if anyone is interested.  The BFR model is my preference of the two.

Next up is the Battenkill Multiplier.  Again, this mode was made by BFR and is a sweet reel.  A bit on the heavy side, I've used this a couple of times to match with a specific rod I have that I use for tubing large water where there are big fish.  The Battenkill is smooooth and the drag would stop a speedboat.  

BFR made Battenkill Multiplier

If you're looking for a multiplier, I can high recommend this one.  It has all the sweetness of the regular Battenkill and is built like a tank.  They can be costly and are only available on the second-hand market.

The next reel is one that I don't have in my collection yet.  The CFO Multiplier, built by Hardy is a beauty and the standard-bearer for pure class.  Again, this reel can only be found on the second-hand market.  

 Orvis has other multipliers in their stable that are primarily for the salt.  If there is any interest there, we'll run a second post.  Later...


  1. What would be a good price for an Orvis Battenkill Multiplier 3/4 wt like the one you have pictured?

    Please email me at



    1. A very desirable reel Peter. You don't see them around much in a 3/4 weight. I would guess that anything around $150 to $170 would probably cause me to buy two!

  2. hi there, you forget about the orvis sss multiplier, also a nice reel. look here:
    loooks nice on my pike rod

    furthermore there is a BFR made MP that has a disc brake, the 5/6 and lower have a simple drag, the 7/8 and heavier have a hefty drag. i use the 7/8 on my 10' orvis HLS 7/8 for big still water trout. (lake oostvoorne, trout up to about 12 pounds, mayority is about 4-6 pounds)


    1. Hi Anonymous! My bad. You are 100% correct and it's a honey. In fact I have one. I don't know how I managed to leave it out. I'm thinking that I limited the post to a specific time frame but thanks for commenting and thanks for the great photos!

    2. Any idea of value in these? I just decided to sell my Magnalite Multiplier with spare spool and considering selling an Orvis Lord II multiplier 2.14 : 1 with anti-reverse and drag on handle

  3. Hi Scott. I would guess that the Magnalite and spare spool should bring $250-270 dollars. I personally think that the Young model would probably go for the high end and the BFR model the low end. I can't honestly say how much the Lord would go for...but it would be a lot. At one time when I had more money than I do now, I would have paid whatever you wanted. Now that I don't have any money, all I can say is Holy Moly. You don't see one selling very often and they are beautiful reels.


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