It’s hard to imagine a company lasting for over 170 years, but when you’re a part of what has made America what it is, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Founded in 1945 by John Moses Brunswick, the J.M. Brunswick Manufacturing Company was originally focused on producing carriages. However, a chance encounter with an amazing billiards table from John Thurston inspired Mr. Brunswick to look elsewhere. In fact, his inspiration was so great that it changed the billiards industry forever.
By 1850, what once started as a humble company in Cincinnati expanded to Chicago and found a new audience, including a man by the name of Abraham Lincoln, the first of many famous people who would own a Brunswick table throughout the years. The little company that Mr. Brunswick built continued to grow throughout the American Industrial Revolution, growing more rapidly than he could have ever imagined.
The company expanded throughout the United States and beyond, opening showrooms in Paris, Mexico City, and Buenos Aires, never letting the quality of their product slip. They were now a worldwide company and here to stay.
By the 1900’s, Brunswick didn’t show any sign of slowing down, expanding into other industries and selling phonographs, records, and many other household items. However, their main focus always remained on billiards and the devoted fans that helped make them who they were.
It wasn’t until 1906 that they began to manufacture their own line of composition balls in Muskegon, Michigan. Prior to that, their efforts were focused solely on ivory, the use of which led to the center mark becoming a staple for the cue ball. This mark was originally not part of the design and was a blood vessel that grew in the center of the elephant’s tusk.
Robert Bensinger, the great-grandson of John Brunswick, took over the company in 1930 while prohibition was in full swing, but the lack of bars didn’t deter Mr. Bensinger. Instead, he was determined to continue to lead the company into the future, investing in soda fountains and refrigerators to compliment their still popular billiard tables.
Throughout this time, they continued to innovate their billiard balls, as well, releasing the Ivorylene Dark ball in 1934 and setting a new industry standard. They tested their balls quality by dropping them from a third story roof onto a steel plate. They soon became the forerunner to the Centennial ball.
When World War II hit, Brunswick continued to prove they were truly a part of America by installing more than 13000 billiard tables and 3000 bowling lanes at military bases across the country. This not only gave those fighting for the country something to take their minds off of the war but also created renewed interest in the company country-wide.
In the second half of the century, Brunswick looked to the suburbs as a new place for their billiard tables. Many unofficial tournaments and competitions started to pop up around the country and they realized the need for a more stable, competition-friendly set of rules.
However, the 70’s saw a major drop in popularity, but Brunswick saw a chance to innovate once again. In 1972, they created the first Air Hockey machine and bringing a brand new game to the public.
The dip in popularity didn’t last very long, though. In 1976, Brunswick helped found the Woman’s Professional Billiards Alliance, sparking a comeback to the sport that is still going today.
Whether it’s billiard tables, billiard balls, or furniture, Brunswick continues to be the leader in the industry, setting the standard for both quality and value. Today, they focus not only on billiard tables but many game room products, working with the best furniture designers from around the world. They keep it their mission to continue to innovate and stay on top of popular trends. Stop in at Heavenly Times and see for yourself the 73+ years of quality.