I can't speak for Big Lew, but I know that one of the most - if not the most - reliable spokes out there are the Sapim Strong with brass nipple (belgium made). There are often used on touring tandems in Europe. My wife and I used them with a good Shimano hub, a strong rim (One of our Rigida rim broke after 18,000km so I now use the 750gr Sun Rhyno - very hard to find but probably the strongest rim out there) along with Schwalbe touring tires
and we never had a single broken spoke during our 5-year trip around the world. We also barely had any punctures (I also use Mr Tuffy liners) and one of my friend did 55,000km with the Sun Rhyno rim (so mine still have some miles to put on it). As for the the hub it is still on our bike and just had to tighten it once in a while. Some of the best hubs on the market are made by Phil Wood.