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|From the time that John Moses Brunswick built his first billiards table back in 1845, the company he founded has remained singularly dedicated to premier design, superior craftsmanship, and uncompromising quality and performance. It is no wonder that, for more than 150 years, owning a Brunswick table has been a matter of pride and prestige.
In 1845and the decades that followeda billiard table was a fine status symbol. The mere presence of a table stated that you were a person of wealth and influencebecause you could afford a table, you could afford a home large enough to accommodate one! But a man of influence and position had more than one reason to own a billiard table. Aside from the pure enjoyment of the gameand impressing guestsa man could complete negotiations over a friendly game of billiards. Whether commercial, political, or even military, serious issues could be discussed, and deals could be struck, over the neutral ground of a billiard table.
John Brunswick recognized that his customers were affluent and educated so he built tables that appealed to their elite and elevated tastes. In fact, it is because of this that Brunswick became the very first American brand name with true prestige.
The first real American celebrity who owned a Brunswick table was an immensely important person in American historyAbraham Lincoln. Lincoln was a self-confessed “billiards addict.” He described the game as a “health inspiring, scientific game, lending recreation to the otherwise fatigued mind.”
It is quite possible that critical issues of national interestslavery, international relations and the civil warwere handled over the slate of a Brunswick table.
General George Custer also owned a Brunswick table. One can only imagine the important issues he might have discussed with other military leaders over that table.
We know of one account in the 1870s, when Buffalo Bill Cody, Texas Jack Uhumbro and Wild Bill Hickock were touring with their “Wild West” show. While drinking in a tavern in Boston, a group of about thirty longshoremen decided to see how tough these “Westerners” really were. Well, Hickock grabbed a pool cue, and about one minute later, there were four people left in that roomHickock, Cody, Texas Jack, and of course, the bartender. Now, maybe it was the beautiful styling, or the craftsmanship, or the sturdy construction. But when Buffalo Bill bought billiard tables for his hotel in Cheyenne, you can be sure that night in Boston had something to do with his decision to buy Brunswicks.
The foremost captains of industryAndrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, William Vanderbilt, Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan and William Randolph Hearstall of these people owned Brunswick tables. And we can only speculate what issues were discussed, what negotiations were undertaken, and what matters were handled over a game of billiards.
Teddy Rooseveltour Secretary of the Navy and the hero of San Juan Hill, the President of the United States and, later, a distinguished wild game hunterowned a Brunswick table. How many of the decisions that shaped our world were reached over a Brunswick table?
Among sports figures and celebrities, Mark Twain, one of our nation’s most renowned authors, Babe Ruth, one of our great sports legends, and Humphrey Bogart, one of our greatest actorsall owned Brunswick tables. Nat King Cole, Lou Gehrig, James Dean, and of course, Frank Sinatra owned Brunswick tables.
There was a Brunswick table in the White House during the administrations of several recent presidents. And when President Eisenhower established Camp David, it was furnished with not one, but four Brunswick tables. Every President since EisenhowerKennedy, Nixon, Carter, Clintonhas used those tables.
A stream of notable visitors, including Winston Churchill, Nikita Krushchev, Charles de Gaulle, Anwar Sadat and King Hussein, all knew those tables. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were known to be pretty good players. What issues of world security, what areas of common ground, what conflicts were settled over those Brunswick tables?
A Brunswick isn’t just a table, it’s an experience.