Louis Carpano was born in 1832, and in 1851, he entered the Clockmakers School in Cluses, Savoy (now Italy). After leaving school, he went to work in France and Switzerland. His first invention dates from 1860 and was an improved milling-machine for the carving of gears. He moved back to Cluses in 1868 and co-founded a company to produce and sell watch-gears, milling-machines and watchmaker's tools. Louis' nephew, Constant, was trained by his uncle took over the business in 1902. Louis lived in Turin (Italy) until his death in 1919.
Constant's son-in-law, Charles Pons, joined the family business, now called Carpono & Pons, and was the moving spirit in the company. In the 1930s they worked with two fishing tackle manufacturers to refine their round reel designs. They created the first prototype open-faced spinning reel in the latter part of the 1930s and a patent was granted in 1950 for this new reel design.
The true origin of the name Mitchell remains mysterious—Although Carpano & Pons had the intention to name their first reel "Michel", they discovered this name was already used and patented so they gave the reel an American sounding name that was very in vogue at the time.