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Maker of pool cues for over 100 years; founded 1845 in Cincinnati, Ohio, currently distributing cues from Bristol, Wisconsin.
Brunswick Billiards began in the Cincinnati wood shop of John M. Brunswick in 1845. It eventually became the largest manufacturer of billiard tables and equipment in the world, merging with companies run by Julius Balke and H. W. Collender. Brunswick started manufacturing and importing cues as early as the mid-1800s, and had started making its own cues by the end of the century.
Early Brunswick-Balke-Collender (BBC) cues are especially collectible, with the complex and beautiful Model 360 with its many butterfly splices being one of the most desirable cues. It was the most expensive of the early models and was often awarded at tournaments of the time. Most examples have rosewood points, but ebony was occasionally used. Collectors also look for the model 26-1/2, which featured a full-spliced butt, with four veneers on each point. Brunswick also introduced the "Merry Widow" (a cue without points) and the term is still used to describe similar cues today.
By the early 1920s, Herman Rambow was involved in cuemaking at Brunswick. He invented the "Hub Cue," which featured an ivory joint above the wrap, and a bell-shaped ivory ferrule. Rambow also used the bell ferrule on some of his own cues into the 1940s. Brunswick was the first to make the "Hub" in the 1920s, and today they are sought after by collectors as a very important historical cue. Most of these early cues were sold with a "Brunswick Balke Collender" decal on the butt sleeve, which are particularly prized when they remain intact on the cues. (See examples shown.) Some restored cues have replicas of the early decals, which changed in color and small details over the decades.
In the 1930s, Brunswick introduced "Master Stroke" cues. Around 1940 the first "Willie Hoppe" Titlist and Professional cues debuted. This popular cue was produced until 1962, and earlier examples are especially sought-after. The one-piece Titlist was the favorite cue for conversions to two-piece custom cues by George Balabushka, Frank Paradise, Gus Szamboti and scores of others, whereas Rambow preferred to customize the Titlist "Professional." Over the years, Brunswick has made hundreds of models of cues, all of which are desirable to collectors. Collectors gladly pay a premium for older, pre-1960 BBC cues in good original condition, as they are becoming increasingly rare.
BBC became the Brunswick Corporation in 1960. Since the 1960s, the company has concentrated on table manufacturing and other billiards accessories. Until a few years ago they distributed several lines of Brunswick cues made by other manufacturers. The Magnum and Diamond series cues were manufactured by Joss Cues Ltd. and previously carried the Joss name. The Corvette series is aimed at Corvette aficionados and is manufactured under a licensing agreement with General Motors. The Ewa Mataya Lawrence series and Jimmy Caras series cues honored players with a long standing relationship with Brunswick. Brunswick currently distributes two "house" cues.
For more information, please refer to the listings for George Balabushka and Herman Rambow.

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