Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Syracuse Billiard Table Makers

From the Antebellum Era into the Roaring 20’s, a billiard or pool table provided an amusement in social clubs and fraternal lodges, a status symbol in the homes of the wealthy, and a profitable investment for the billiard halls. Billiards played an integral role in men’s social lives, and the tables were beautiful articles of furniture, as well as complex manufactured products.

As a transportation hub and a booming industrial city, Syracuse, NY provided a ready local market for tables, with convenient canal and rail shipping for raw materials and finished goods. A number of Syracuse billiard table "manufactories" competed to supply every hotel, firehouse, saloon, and industrialist’s parlor along the Erie Canal with tables.

Here are the Syracuse Billiard Table Makers that operated between the Civil War and WWI:

Babcock: The longest-running billiard table makers in Syracuse, this two-generation family business started soon after the Civil War, and persevered until the Great Depression (John D. Babcock, Ray Babcock). For more, see the Babcock Timeline or posts labeled Babcock.

Benedict: Beginning in the late 1870’s, Benedict was known for elaborate inlaid tables, and is still the best-known of the old Syracuse makers (Heman A. Benedict, T. William Meachem). For more, see the Benedict Timeline or posts labeled Benedict.

Castle: Around 1900, the ranks of the Syracuse billiard table makers expanded, when Charles L. Castle started his own workshop, after decades of experience in the industry. For more, see the Castle Timeline or posts labeled Castle.

Stickley: Gustav Stickley's United Crafts produced furnishings for the elaborate private billiard rooms of the wealthy, and brothers L. & J. G. Stickley also sold billiard tables. Stay tuned for more on Stickley.

No comments:

Post a Comment