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Billiard Balls

Brunswick did not initially produce their own line of composition balls, and were agents for the Hyatt Billiard Ball Company of Albany, New York. Brunswick did, however, produce ivory balls for the trade early on.

Ivory from elephant tusk grows in an annual ring, much like a tree. A blood vessel that goes through the center of the tusk can be seen as a black dot. This dot becomes the center mark of the ball, and is the point where the ball is pinned when being turned. A ball must be turned perfectly in order to roll properly.

1906—Brunswick opens a plant in Muskegon, Michigan and begins to produce their own line of balls in a big way. At this time, “Mineralite,” “Compo-lvory” and “Empire” sets came into being. Advertisements prominently feature the inside of the balls, as shown here.

Beginning around 1910 and continuing throughout the 1920s, the Empire and Ivorylene pockets balls were two “best sellers” for Brunswick. The numbers in early Ivorylenes were placed in the stripe. Later the numbers would be moved to the field.

The early 1930s introduced the first mention of the term “Dart” and brought the emergence of the first, (now trademarked) dart markings on the balls. Balls were “torture tested”—a grueling three floor drop test onto a steel plate! By 1934, the “Ivorylene Dart” balls appear in catalogs and advertisements.

By the 1940s, the quality of these balls became apparent. Not surprisingly, the type of ball manufactured by Brunswick back then set the standards for, and became the forerunner to, the Centennial® Ball.

Early in the 1950s, new “Centennial Cast Phenolic Balls” are introduced. These balls, however, bear little resemblance to the Centennial® balls of today, appearing without the heavy inlaid numbers, the now familiar black circle border and of course, the famous darts. The Ivorylene balls, on the other hand, do appear with a form of these identifying marks.

In the middle of the 1950s the Centennial
® ball brand finally emerges with a black circle border and our famous, trademarked “darts.”

After 1966, there are no more Ivorylenes. In 1967 an ad was run showing the cosmetic evolution of Centennial® balls; clear, sparkling colors, a heavily inlaid black ring, heavy numbers (now cast as part of the ball), and heavier, more defined “dart” markings. Also introduced at this time: new boxes—white with blue printing, featuring a Brunswick logo—and the first sets of “Gold Crown” balls.

Considered a different “grade” of Centennial
® balls, the original set of Gold Crown balls has numbers in the field instead of in the stripe, has no darts and no black ring around the numbers.

Today, Centennial® Pocket balls are the standard of excellence in the industry. Made of premium grade phenolic resin, Centennial® balls are exactingly ground and polished for absolute true and accurate roll. Distinguished with the celebrated "dart" and sparkling with lustrous colors, Centennial® balls are superior in both playing quality and appearance.