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History

EVERY TABLE COMES WITH A PIECE OF HISTORY

Founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1845, Brunswick Billiards is a true American brand with a long history of innovation and a legendary reputation for fine workmanship. Our founder, John Moses Brunswick, based his company on one simple principle, “We can build it better than anyone else.” That’s what he did and that’s what we continue to do today.

 
1845

First Billiard Table Produced

After emigrating from Switzerland in 1834, and apprenticing in New York City and Philadelphia, John Moses Brunswick establishes his Cincinnati Carriage Making Company. He quickly expands his product line to include cabinets, tables, and chairs and produces the company’s first billiard table for a successful Cincinnati meatpacker. Word-of-mouth promotion quickly brings requests for more tables.

1848

First Sales Office and Factory Opens

Brunswick opens its first sales office in Chicago on State Street and quickly expands to include two factories and an 8,000 square foot billiard parlor on Washington Street. Additional offices, sales rooms, and billiard parlors open in New Orleans in 1852 and St. Louis in 1859.

1849

EVENTS IN HISTORY

The discovery of gold in California prompted a huge western expansion as tens of thousands of gold seekers migrated west in search of fortune.

1873

Brunswick Merges with Rival

As demand for Brunswick tables continues to increase, Brunswick merges with rival Julius Balke’s Great Western Billiard Table Manufactory to become The J. M. Brunswick and Balke Company. Now selling from Canada to Mexico, with tables in every principal city in the west, the company manufactures 700 tables a year and has 350 Brunswick tables in play in the city of Chicago.

1879

EVENTS IN HISTORY

Thomas Edison creates the first commercially practical incandescent light bulb making it possible for every home and business to afford electric lights including pools rooms, which could now be electrically lighted for play.

1884

Product Line Expands to Bars

Brunswick merges with another rival to become “The Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company,” the largest billiard equipment operation in the world. The product line expands to include elaborate and ornate front and back bars. Demand from taverns grows so great that a new factory opens in Dubuque, Iowa to manufacture and shipped the bars around the world. The bars garner design awards at international exhibitions. Many of them are still in use today, becoming focal points in popular bars and restaurants around the country.

1888

A Chicago Success Story

Brunswick is one of the most successful businesses in Chicago, operating from a five story building on State Street, with an additional factory located at Rush and Kinzie and one at Huron and Sedgwick that covered an entire city block with its factory, warehouse and lumber drying plant.

1890

A Year of Technical Innovations

Company President Moses Bensinger works to experiment and research better ways to make billiard tables and equipment. Important patents for rubber cushions are registered and other technical innovations evolve.

1901

New Manufacturing Plant Opens

Brunswick opens a new 100,000 square foot plant in Muskegon, Michigan to be used for billiard table assembly, billiard ball and cue manufacturing, and chalk production. The company now owns its own lumber mill, timberland and slate quarries and is the world’s largest user of hardwood, manufacturing over 400,000 cues a year.

1906

Events in History

The Wright brothers test their second experimental glider just south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. While their experiment was unsuccessful, what they learned from it proved to be a critical step toward the invention of the airplane and mainstream air travel.

1912

Offices and Factories Worldwide

Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co. has main offices in Chicago (executive headquarters since 1908), New York, Cincinnati and San Francisco, with factories in six U.S. cities plus Toronto and Paris, offices and salesrooms in 43 cities across America, “foreign” offices in Honolulu, Mexico City and Paris, and Canadian offices in Montreal, Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.

1915

Events in History

The first transcontinental telephone call is made from Alexander Graham Bell in New York to his protégé Watson in San Francisco, forever altering the way businesses and individuals communicate around the world.

1917

World Renown Pocket Balls

Ivorylene Pockets Balls make their first appearance in Brunswick-Balke-Collender Price List No. 785, for $16 per set. Preceded by Compo-Ivory and Empire sets in 1905, Ivorylene balls receive the Brunswick registered trademark “Dart” in the early 1930s and eventually evolve into today’s world renown Centennial® Ball.

1931-34

Professionals Promote Brunswick

Willie Mosconi joins the pro staff of Brunswick Billiards and is destined to become pockets billiards world champion 15 times between 1941 and 1957. In 1932 Brunswick sponsors a World Tournament, with Ralph Greenleaf placing first and Jimmy Caras second. Caras was offered his first Brunswick contract to play exhibitions around the country on Brunswick tables. During 1933–34, Brunswick’s staff of 21 professionals travel the country doing exhibitions.

1941

Events in History

World War II begins with the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor. During the years of World War II more than 13,000 billiard tables were installed at military and naval bases here and overseas.

1945

100 Years of Continuous Operation

After 100 years of continuous operation, Brunswick engineers develop the “cast phenolic resin” ball. The formula was so new and different that the Chicago firm manufacturing the balls had to post a heavy armed guard around the factory to ensure the formula’s security. That basic ball remains in use today and with many improvements over the years has evolved into today’s “Centennial® Ball”.

1960

Evolution of a Name

The Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company changes its name to Brunswick Corporation.

1961

The Birth of the Gold Crown Table

In development since 1958, it’s the debut year of the AR6100 series Gold Crown™ table. Destined to become the finest table ever made, it set new standards for the industry. Refinements and upgrades over the next 30 plus years bring the table to the ultimate Gold Crown™IV, unmatched in reputation, preferred by professionals, and used in tournaments and exhibitions worldwide.

1974

Flood Destroys Historical Records

A devastating flood in Brunswick Billiards’ Marion, Virginia facility results in the destruction of many records and the loss of much historical data.

1977

Events in History

The Apple II computer becomes the first highly successful, mass-produced personal computer. With over a million computers sold that year, the personal computer is well on its way to becoming a conventional tool for data processing and storage.

1985

 

St. Ignatius College Prep was one of the few buildings to escape the Chicago Fire. It still stands today and houses a magnificent library built by Brunswick craftsmen under the direct supervision of John Brunswick in 1872. In 1985 Brunswick funds the complete restoration of the Brunswick Library.

1995 to today

 

Brunswick, an American company, begins its second 165 years with a dedication to product and service quality, to design excellence and craftsmanship, and to market leadership. A Brunswick billiard table is quintessentially American, with a heritage and reputation backed by the traditions established, built, and nurtured over the last 160 years. Do you own your piece of history?