This is a very brief history, one (or someone) could write a book but this is not that .......................
Apparently, shortly after acquiring the rights to manufacture Allcock reels during the late 60's Shakespeare decided that the market for centrepins was on the decline and they were going to drop them from the range.
Fred Crouch knew the right people at Shakespeare and negotiated a fairly informal agreement that allowed him to continue manufacturing the reels but not under the Allcock name. He went to the factory to collect the tooling, materials and any manufactured components - but it was a few weeks too late, they'd all been disposed of.
So he then commissioned expensive new tooling to replicate the crinkly (leatherette finish as it was called) backplates, this was achieved by a casting process using a special alloy. Later, a flaw in the tooling caused it to crack, the manufacturer of the tooling had gone bust but Fred was unable to receive any compensation. Funding another set was out of the question and it was decided that turning the reel backplates on a lathe was the only option, hence the smooth backed reels.
The early replicas, which were "allowed" to be called "match aerials" had these crinkly backplates and, incidentally, the main noticeable (by design) difference between the Fred Crouch reels and the Allcocks reels is the flat-bladed ratchet knob as opposed to the original's circular tri-bladed knob.
The Fred Crouch reel in the range which is the closest to the original replica is the Jet. It is not called a "match aerial" and it does not have a crinkly backplate.
Discontinued and Collectable Models
The Fred Crouch Truepin Trotter Centrepin - Limited Edition
3¾" diameter, ratchet lever on rim, no drag, in red (powder coated).
A certificate of authenticity and a hardwood presentation case for the reel were included.
The Fred Crouch Truepin Trotter Centrepin - 3¾" & 4½"
3¾" or 4½" diameter, ratchet lever on rim, with drag. In tasteful "reddish bronze" (anodised)
Reels in this colour were not economically viable and are no longer available.