George Ferguson came to Queensland from Ireland as a boy, for a number of years he lived in Ipswich where his father was engaged as a contractor who was involved in erecting the Ipswich Grammar School. In 1869, he joined the Railway and rose to the position of instructing engineer of the Westinghouse brake. He applied for a successful fishing reel patent for a side cast fishing in 1920.
Daily Standard Brisbane, 31st of March 1922: For a number of years past I have a tried a good many casting reels of some slight defect in them but at last I have obtained one that vies entire satisfaction. The maker of it says “Being at Southport, and hearing so many complaints about the ball bearing and cross V in the Capstan head of some of the reels being used now and thinking that some device for locking the spool during casting operations might be invented, I set to work and constructed a Capstan head working on inverted cones, and secured in position by a flat bronze quadrant, which is notched to allow the spring to fall into while fishing. This proves an absolute lock no shake on the spool while winding in heavy fish. The spool is locked by a left-hand threaded nut working the spindle nut which is lengthened for the purpose. This device keeps the spool from spinning while casting, or back lashing as fisherman call it. There are four lugs on the nut so that it is easy to operate with the forefinger by pulling the lug towards the operator: this also keeps the line from running out while baiting. The nut, having a left-hand thread automatically releases itself when winding up the spool. The fittings are all brass, nickel plated, except the spindle, which is of steel: this gives less friction and greater strength. The spool and back are constrained of maple and the handles of cherry wood. The reel has been patented by the maker, Mr G. Ferguson from whom it will have to be ordered. I may say that the price is reasonable.”
This article appeared in Queensland Railway Express July 1922:* G.D. Ferguson ex-Loco, Inspector examination of Westinghouse brake on wagons. £25 Bonus
In 1936 the Ferguson patent was purchased by Charles Alvey courtesy of Harry Sparks of Harry Sparks’ Sports Store Brisbane. Charles Alvey acquired the rights to manufacturing reels using the Ferguson patent which is still being used today on Alvey Reels. The patent was allowed to run out during the second world war and many tried to copy it when this was discovered. In 1939, he celebrated his 90th birthday. He was still in good health and delighted in doing carpentry for which he had a splendid work room. At one time, he held the Ferguson patent for fishing reels in had in his possession a variety of those which he made from time to time.