Kansas City Billiard Table Mfg. Co. History

 

After I made the commitment to buy the Kansas City Billiard Table which Joe Newell had found, I immediately when looking for information on the table and the company. Much to my amazement, even in this "age of Google", there was virtually nothing to be found.

Through a number of sources in the area I was told that the company started business in the early 1900s as a small local manufacturer. It appears their business model, like many other regional manufacturers in the late 1800s, was to copy Brunswick-Balke Collender's successful model. It is unclear why they thought they would have an advantage over Brunswick, unless it was lower shipping cost in that region and local sales support. Most of those I talked to agree that the table was of lesser quality than Brunswick with fewer table options. They did however; like Brunswick, have a line of accessories which I am certain they private labeled from the same suppliers who sold to Brunswick. I say this because many of the illustrations in their catalogs are exactly the same as Brunswick's. And I doubt that Brunswick would be a supplier to the regional competitor. They also had a line of bowling alleys and equipment the same as, "You Guessed It", Brunswick. I am told that they actually made tables for Brunswick for a time when Brunswick had some sort of labor issues. I am also told that much like other regional Billiard table manufacturers they were acquired by Brunswick in the 1916 to 1920 time period. Don't take the above facts in this paragraph as gospel, as I have not been able to find any written source to confirm any of the above.

IF YOU HAVE DOCUMENTED INFORMATION ON KANSAS CITY BILLIARD TABLE MANUFACTURING COMPANY PLEASE CONTACT ME.

I WILL ADD YOUR INFORMATION TO THIS WEB PAGE.

I did find one posting on the internet, but the source is unclear to me

1 KC Billiard Who's Who.

Undeterred, I called the Kansas City Library and a very kind person spent a day look through their archives to see if they had anything. Only one document was found. It was a 1906 article in the "Manufacturer and Merchant" (It is shown below for you review). From this article we can see that the company was started in 1901 by S. H. Snavely, President; J. R. Flynn, Vice President and A. E. Hughes, Secretary and Treasurer. At that time they had 10 employees. The facility was located at 1225 Main Street in downtown Kansas City. Like all factories of that time it was multi story and I am fairly certain, not a fun place to work by today's standards. At the time of the article in 1906 they had grown to fifty employees. The front cover of the 1906 Kansas City Billiard Table Mfg. Co. catalog boasts the claim, "THE LARGEST BILLIARD AND POOL TABLE MANUFACTURERS IN THE WEST". I wonder if that means west Kansas City or West of the Mississippi?

Please Click Image to View PDF

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I have been fortunate to acquire three Kansas City Billiard Table Mfg. Co. catalogs. The covers are shown below. At some point, when I have the time when not restoring cues, I will scan all three catalogs in their entirety and post them on this site for all readers to enjoy. I know others copy the catalogs and sell the copies. I think it better to give them freely for all to enjoy. Do check back later to see if there are more catalogs to look though. I am hopeful a great non-profit site like the Chicago Billiard Museum, will contain a treasure trove of catalogs for all to view. We can all learn so much about the history of the game from these catalogs.


1903 - Kansas City Billiard Table Mfg. Co. catalog. Could this be the first catalog issue?

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1906 - Kansas City Billiard Table Mfg. Co. catalog.


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No Date - Kansas City Billiard Table Mfg. Co. catalog.


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