My Antique Billiard Table


Most people who look at my billiard table think that it is a H. W Collender table. But not so fast. Look at the name plate on the table shown below.


Notice the center of the logo above, “The Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co.”. Then notice it also says “Collender Cushions” rather than the normal “Monarch Cushions” that you would see on a Brunswick Table.

Below is a comparison of a Collender Narraganset table from the 1870s on the left below set alongside a Brunswick-Balke-Collender Narraganset table from the late 1800s on the right.


A Collender Narraganset is very fancy with a great deal or marquetry. A Brunswick Narraganset is said to be simple but elegant. So, which is my Narraganset???

Brunswick Balke acquired H.W. Collender in 1879 obviously to take out a competitor but also to get access to the Collender cushion technology which was thought to be superior to the monarch cushion at the time. Joe Newel of Clay Center Kansas is a well know billiard table restorer and Brunswick historian. Joe believes my table is likely a transition table from 1879 when Brunswick, after the acquisition, was using the remaining inventory of Collender tables and parts inventory from the acquisition but putting the BBC logo on the name plate and yet noting the Collender cushions.

My billiard table did not always look like that which you see in the picture above. While not as skilled as many of the great billiard table restores around the country, I took on the task of restoring this 9-foot table with 4-piece, 1-inch slate. The good news is the serial numbers on all table parts match. The restoration took most of one snowy winter.

Here are before pictures:

And after pictures below:

A friend sent me a copy of a photo from the 1800’s shown below that I really love. Take a look at all of those young boys’ intent on watching the next shot. This table is an exact match to my table. There is so much great history in antique tables. If you are reading this, I hope your passion for the history of Billiards is as great as mine.