Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  ZEBCO

ZEBCO

Founded at Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1949, Zebco is a major manufacturer of fishing equipment. It began with the invention of backlash-free fishing reel by a Rotan, Texas, watchmaker and itinerant inventor named Jasper R. Dell Hull, who was better known as R. D. Hull. After struggling to find a company to manufacture and to market his invention, Hull finally approached the Zero Hour Bomb Company of Tulsa for assistance. In business since 1932 manufacturing electric time bombs used in fracturing oil-well formations, the Zero Hour Bomb Company was experiencing the difficulties common to a single-product company in a shrinking market. They partnered with Hull and produced their first reel, called the Standard, in May 1949. Soon afterward, through regional marketing under the name Zebco the product became so popular that in January 1956 the company changed its name to Zebco and ceased to produce oil-field related materials. Through the introduction of a series of new models featuring high quality at reasonable prices the company continued to expand until 1961, at which time it merged with the Brunswick Corporation. Afterward, they acquired several smaller firms, expanded their national presence, and became involved in international marketing of their growing line of fishing equipment. Hull remained with the firm's production department. He designed twenty-six reels and received thirty-five patents before his May 1977 retirement, soon followed by his death in December of that same year. In 2001 the W. C. Bradley Company bought Zebco from Brunswick, but in the early years of the twenty-first century the headquarters of the nation's best-known fishing gear manufacturer remained in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Bobby D. Weaver

See also: MANUFACTURING, OKLAHOMA ECONOMY, PETROLEUM INDUSTRY

Bibliography

Karl T. White, Zebco: The Family Reel (N.p.: Privately published, ca. 2000).

Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 27, 28, and 29 June 2000.

Zebco Public Relations Department Files, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photograph Archives (unless otherwise stated).


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Bobby D. Weaver, "ZEBCO," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed December 17, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia