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How Old are Pool Cues Made by Oliver. L. Briggs & Son?


How Old are Pool Cues Made by Oliver. L. Briggs & Son?

I got cues made by cue-stick and pool-table maker Oliver Briggs & Son (O.L. Briggs & Son). How old are they?

They might be at least a hundred years old based on the Briggs' catalogs printed in 1893 and 1897 (see 1897 catalog attached—Briggs-catalog-1897-reduced-in-size.pdf). Are there any more-recent Oliver Briggs catalogs?

Do you have any proof they were in business after 1897? Things like a history book, newspaper advertisements or city directories showing the existence of O.L. Briggs & Son?

What is mentioned in the Blue Book of Pool Cues about the cues made by O.L. Briggs & Son?

Briggs-cue-etching-on-cue.jpg

Briggs-cue-w.-weights-etched-on-cue.jpg

How Old are Pool Cues Made by Oliver. L. Briggs & Son?

Replies & Comments

  1. user1711021651billiardsforum on 6/12/2024 5:05:19 AM

    Though I can't help you definitively conclude a year (or range of years) from which your Oliver Briggs pool cues might be, I have a few bits of information that you requested which might help:

    1. An image of the cover of an Oliver Briggs rule book / catalog from 1899:

      oliver-briggs-rule-book-1899.jpg

    2. The small blurb on Oliver Briggs pool cues from the Blue Book of Pool Cues (2005):

      oliver-briggs-pool-cues-blue-book-of-pool-cues.jpg

      I am not sure how accurate this Blue Book info is, as they clearly specify "1900s" and "1910" when we clearly know they were making (at least) pool tables as early as 10 years - 20 years before those years, respectively.

    3. A post from the (late) founder of the Chicago Billiard Museum, Wes Bond, which states:

      Briggs, Oliver & Son - Boston
      Address: 970 Washington St.
      Known production era: 1897-1910+/-

    4. From the 1893 Oliver Briggs catalog you mentioned, a page indicating that when purchasing pool tables for a commercial pool hall, the customer would receive 12 OL Briggs pool cues. There's a good chance they were the ones you have shown (or similar), though of course I can't back that up. Below that, one of the styles is pictured, followed by a (vaguely) descriptive list of the pool cue options customers could choose from, with prices:

      ol-briggs-pool-cues.jpg

      1893-oliver-briggs-cues-1.jpg

      1893-ol-briggs-cues-2.jpg

    Regardless whether your OL Briggs pool cues are from the 1890s or early 1900s, they're a great find, and would be an amazing addition to any cue collection focusing on cues from this era.

    I'll post anything further as I come across it. I am hoping that you'll do the same!

    Good luck!

  2. user1711021651user1711021651 on 6/12/2024 11:05:03 AM

    Thank you for your informative reply.

    You mentioned The Blue Book of Pool Cues and the valuable butterfly splicing. My one-piece cues do not have that. The book is helpful in indicating when the Briggs’ company was in full production.

    The Blue Book of Pool Cues was imprecise on the company name and when it was in business, however. It describes cues stamped “OL Briggs” circa 1910. The company would have been Oliver L. Briggs and Son circa 1910 (or O.L. Briggs & Son). According to businesses listed in The Boston Directory, the company was Oliver L. Briggs between 1870 and 1900. It was Oliver L. Briggs & Son between 1901 and, at least, 1916. See pages from the directories attached. My cues are stamped O.L. Briggs & Son and, therefore, could only have been produced after about 1900.

    You estimated that Briggs was making cues and tables at least as early as 1890. You can go further back than that—twenty years earlier.

    I would like to know when the cues were probably made and during what period they were unequivocally made. As to when they were probably made, it may be that period the Chicago Billiard Museum stated the company was in business or more in the public’s eye — 1897-1910+/-. It may be fair to say my cues were made between 1901 and 1910 (no O.L. Briggs & Son prior to 1901).

    I could state unequivocally the period my cues were made if I knew when the Briggs company quit business. I can’t find when that occurred from the Boston Directories because internet-versions of it end in 1916 (yes, they were in business then).

    Perhaps someone can visit the Boston Public Library and photograph the hard copies of the directories after 1916 in search of the year the Biggs’ company died? Or, less likely, I could get a hard copy via interlibrary loan.

    Paul Bell

    Encl. pages from Boston directories regarding Briggs’ company for years 1869, 1870, 1900, 1901, 1916.

    Directory-Boston-1901_Entry-for-Briggs.pdf

    Directory-Boston-1900_Entry-for-Briggs.pdf

    Directory-Boston-1869_Entry-for-Briggs.pdf

    Directory-Boston-1870_Entry-for-Briggs.pdf

    Directory-Boston-1916_Entry-for-Briggs.pdf

  3. user1711021651user1711021651 on 6/12/2024 12:38:09 PM

    In my earlier post, I attached pages from an 1870 Boston Directory. That attachment have been missing the page listing the O.L. Briggs business. See the corrected file attached.

    Directory-Boston-1870_Entry-for-Briggs_____xxxx.pdf

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How Old are Pool Cues Made by Oliver. L. Briggs & Son?

  • Title: How Old are Pool Cues Made by Oliver. L. Briggs & Son?
  • Author: (Paul Bell)
  • Published: 5/29/2024 7:26:41 PM
  • Last Updated: 6/12/2024 5:28:00 AM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum (Billiards Forum)