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Maker of pool cues from the 1920s to 1984, primarily in Los Angeles, California.
At the age of nineteen, Harvey Martin was a talented billiard player who thought he could build a better cue than those that were available. He was working at a Seattle pool hall when he constructed his own woodworking lathe and built his first cue. Harvey let another player try his cue and a short time later, that player offered to buy it. Harvey´s second cue sold in similar fashion, and in time, he had created a new profession: custom cuemaking.
Harvey´s background lent itself favorably to cuemaking. He had experience harvesting wood, working with metals as a welder and toolmaker, and possessed the meticulous attention to detail required of a cabinetmaker. He also had experience with leather and ivory. When combined, his experiences and talents formed a nearly ideal skill set for a cuemaker. By the late 1920s, some of the world´s best players were using Harvey Martin cues and, in terms of custom cuemaking, his only real competitor at the time was Herman Rambow in Chicago.
Harvey provided a rare service to his customers, even by today´s standards, by tailoring the cue to the individual. He would watch his customer play, studying dimensions like stance and stroke, arm length and grip position. Harvey would take all the information, combined with any customer requests, and construct a cue specifically dedicated to that person, from the finest materials available.
Favoring product integrity over aesthetics, Harvey rarely did inlay work in his cues. Though his designs were fairly simple, Harvey´s construction methods were ingenious and, in some cases, well ahead of their time. He experimented with innovative solutions to current day performance issues such as deflection. Use of the spliced shaft, for instance, an idea recently promoted as new, was tried decades ago by Harvey Martin. Harvey designed shaft weight inserts that were located behind the ferrule to help the tip stay on the ball longer during a shot. He also experimented with interchangeable metal inserts located above and below the wrap so that the cue´s balance point could be adjusted.
Harvey Martin cues through the 1960s are most simply identified by the name and date stamped into the fiber ring just above the butt cap. Later cues are identified by handwritten markings of identification and weight that were inked onto the butt sleeve. The owner´s name might also be stamped or printed in ink on the butt sleeve. Almost all Harvey Martin cues had bird´s-eye maple forearms and butt sleeves. His joints were often ivory with 3/8 in. joint screws made of brass or aluminum. Wraps on Martin cues were typically leather or cork with butt caps of ivory or white Delrin. Harvey would sometimes stain the cue to bring out the natural figure of the wood; some examples of cues with two stains are also known. A few Harvey Martin cues were made with points and were full spliced from Brunswick blanks. Harvey also made cues with ivory handles. This was accomplished by using nine segments of ivory, each turned down from a billiard ball then stacked to form the handle. The lightest weight among the eight known examples of this style of Martin cue is 20-3/8 ounces.
Another practice Harvey is known for his case making. His creations are often as recognizable as his cues. He used a leather tube-style design and usually stamped his name and the date inside the case: "Martin Cues
& Cases, LA, Cal." Harvey Martin´s contribution to cuemaking is largely unrivaled. For three-fourths of a century his cues have been used by the world´s best players and prized by collectors. For his contributions, insight and innovations, Harvey Martin has been admitted into the American Cuemaker´s Association "Hall of Fame."
If you have questions about a Harvey Martin cue, or have one needing shafts or restoration, Bert Schrager knew Harvey and his cues well and has worked with more of these cues than anyone. Please contact Bert Schrager, listed in the Trademark Index.

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