In 1872, a young man called William Hardy set up shop as a gunsmith in Alnwick, Northumberland, and that might very well have been the end of the story had not the great engineering magnate Lord Armstrong persuaded him to take his brother John James into partnership. The Hardy brothers advertised themselves as gunsmiths, whitesmiths and cutlers', although the guns they sold were actually made in Birmingham. Eventually they began making fly reels. The best fly reels for many decades.