A small archive of forms and letters documenting a legally-contested purchase of a billiard table from the newly incorporated Brunswick & Balke Company

A small archive of forms and letters documenting a legally-contested purchase of a billiard table from the newly incorporated Brunswick & Balke Company

Cincinnati, Ohio: The J. M. Brunswick & Balke Company, 1875-1879. This archive consists of one illustrated Brunswick & Balke advertising envelope, three letters referencing the financial dispute on illustrated Brunswick & Balke letterhead, one shipping document on illustrated Brunswick & Balke billhead, and eight Brunswick & Balke customer promissory notes (five of which are illustrated). All in nice shape with some minor soiling and edgewear.

Despite the three letters sent by Brunswick & Balke to the attorney (Jno. S. Ferguson) representing the table’s purchaser, Mr. Albert Stehley (alternately spelled “Schiely”), it is unclear what legal issues were involved. However, the final letter, implies that the matter was finally been resolved because Brunswick & Balke decided the cost to continue the case had become excessive.

The letterhead and promissory notes feature illustrations of two different billiard tables. The shipping document features an illustration of a railroad train. The envelope features illustrations of the medal award to the company at the U. S. Centennial Exhibition of 1876. It is franked with a 3-cent green Washington stamp (Scott Type A46) and cancelled with a duplex Cincinnati postmark. It is slightly trimmed along the right edge; neither the stamp nor illustrations are affected. Item #009520

In 1845, J. M. Brunswick, a Swiss immigrant, established a machine shop in Cincinnati with the intention of manufacturing carriages, however soon after, he became fascinated with the game of billiards and turned his attention to making billiard tables.

He was quite successful as he could undercut the price of competitors since almost all the other tables were made in England and included substantial shipping costs. He merged his firm in 1874 with another U. S. company, the Great Western Billiard Manufactory owned by Julius Balke, and together they became the J. M. Brunswick & Balke Company, which was formally incorporated in 1877. This archive is from that period.

The company greatly expanded its product line over the next hundred years and became a powerhouse in bowling and boating recreations industries. Today, the company is solely involved in manufacturing recreation boats, having recently sold off its bowling and billiards line.

Price: $150.00