Williams Hardy founded the company but as a gunsmith operation. His brother John james joined in the following year. Fishing rods were being made on the side with different woods (lancewood, hickory and greenheart) but by 1880 the first Hardy bamboo rods also appeared. The fishing aspect took over the gunsmithing operation gradually 1891: The first Hardy “Perfect” reel was patented. Innovations such as ball bearings and others in design improvements catapulted the company to the reim of excellence.