I found this Medalist 1494 DA as a Buy it Now, with free shipping, for $39.99. This was a pretty good price in comparison to other reels of the same time frame I found online, so I was crossing my fingers it would be in serviceable condition. Considering the reel was produced in the time frame from 1966-1969, it is in excellent condition. It has the expected minor cosmetic dings, but was surprisingly clean.
After watching a few videos on YouTube on cleaning vintage reels, as well as switching this particular reel from right hand to left hand retrieve, I got to work. A few paper towels, several cue tips, and a few screwdriver turns later, the reel was pretty clean from dust and gunk. Here's a shot of the internal components after I completed the process of switching the retrieve mechanism and had cleaned the reel.
All that remained was switching the line guard to accommodate the left hand retrieve, and the real work was finished. Once everything was clean, reassembled, and oiled, I loaded the reel with my current 3wt line and backing. I also did a quick test fit to see how well the Medalist balances on my glass 3wt, and it felt like it was a perfect match.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not usually the nostalgic type. I can't help but wonder, though, where this reel has been? Where has it fished? What has it caught? Whose hands has it been in? Not only does it feel good to revive a piece of history and put it back in use, it also feels good that it was made right here in the USA. And not just here in the USA, but in my home state of Ohio (in Akron). Hopefully I can load it up with good memories of my own, and maybe pass it down to my son one day.