I have now completed my research about the
makers Peradon, looking back at the cues in my collection.
It seems that Peradon were a truly major maker
of cues from 1885 and remain so today.
If you see an old cue with a players name,
face or record break on the badge with no other makers name included,
chances are that Peradon made the cue.
Exceptions to this rule of thumb spring to
I have seen a W J Peall cue made to the design
made famous by Peradon, that had a weight stamp and overall design that clearly
identified it as a Burroughes and Watts cue although it did not carry their
name anywhere on the cue. My theory about these cues is that in the early years
of the last century, they were very popular and so orders outstretched
Peradons ability to supply. Clearly the possibility existed that sub
contracting was an option. I believe that Burroughes and Watts were called upon
to furnish the extra cues required to meet demand and were instructed to
conform as near as possible to the Peradon design.
It is possible that the above practice was
employed both ways so some Burroughes and Watts cues were probably made by
Peradon and Vice versa.
I have also seen early John Roberts cues that
are stamped with the makers name on the ebony above the badge, these stamps can
become worn and barely readable. This means that many years later identifying
the maker becomes difficult. The characteristics of the John Roberts crossed
cues do not seem to vary from one year to the next and the design remained
constant throughout its life.
I am curious about the contracts that were
signed by players in the twenties to endorse various cues. It seems that both
Willie Smith and Tom Newman were in great demand from both Peradon and
Burroughes and Watts for these endorsements.
Willie Smiths name is commemorated on at
least five different cues. Including one machine-spliced version of the spliced
champion cue by Peradon. The Burroughes and Watts range included three
different cues to my knowledge, the straight-forward champion cue with the
striped ebony butt, the record cue with either a striped butt or black butt and
a champion cue with thumb print badge. It seems that in the late thirties
Willie Smith transferred his contract to Peradon who produced a commemorative
cue with a front splice of Tulipwood and a plaque that recorded his break
making capabilities. A machine-spliced version of this cue exists with a
variety of front splices and an identical badge. Willie Smith went on to
actually work for Smith and Nelson in Leeds, I have a friend that remembers a
story told to him about an older member of his club who uses a cue made for him
by Willie Smith himself.
Tom Newman cues are equally interesting from a
contractual point of view as they were also both made by the two major cue
making companies Peradon and Burroughes and Watts. Tom Newman made a break in
1921 of 1,274, soon afterwards Burroughes and Watts must have signed him up as
a cue appears with this break recorded on its badge. The cue looks almost
identical to the Willie Smith champion cue but the badge is larger.
These cues must be quite rare as Tom Newman
broke his record in 1924. Again Burroughes and Watts responded by producing a
cue to record this achievement and thus the 1,370 Tom Newman cue was born, this
cue differed from its predecessor in that it had a splice and claimed to be a
facsimile of Toms own cue. The interesting thing is that the earlier cue
made a similar claim on its badge and was a very different cue?
Perhaps the rarest Tom Newman cue of all is the
cue with a black butt and a diagonal representation of Toms signature on
the badge. These cues were made by Burroughes and Watts, perhaps as a stop gap
straight after the break was made to cash in on any publicity prior to the
design of the facsimile cue with front splice. Incidentally, I have only seen
one such cue, it is not to be confused with the more common badged cue that
existed well into the forties that sometimes turns up with a black butt but is
Some cues acquire a different badge in later
life due to accidents and so on.
Perhaps towards the end of the 1930s
Peradon secured the rights to produce Tom Newman facsimile cues, these cue
differ in one major way, they do not carry a makers name. They do however carry
the word London on each of the earliest badges along with a representation of
Toms signature and a mention of the 1,370 break made in 1924. This break
remains the largest ever recorded with ivory billiard balls.
I believe that the earliest of all the Peradon
Tom Newman cues is the cue that carries his name in block letters rather than a
representation of his signature.
The most common Tom Newman cue is the one that
does not claim to be a facsimile but is made to the same general design, this
cue carries the 1,370 break and is simply known as a "Tom Newman champion cue"
by collectors. As far as I know this cue does not exist as a black butted
I personally have four Tom Newman cues, which
are all different; these are becoming my favourite cues as they often combine
signature, record break and facsimile characteristics. Perhaps it is a little
naïve but I like facsimile cues as they give the impression of bringing
the collector closer to the player.
Thurstons were making cues and tables for
English Billiards from 1799; their cues always carried their name as far as I
can tell. The exception to the rule of cues carrying a name occurs when the cue
is simply a long piece of ash that is sold at a budget price. Thurston cues
often have a round badge and rarely carry the name of a professional
Thurstons were responsible for virtually
every innovation that was incorporated into the Billiard trade in their early
I have owned only three Thurston produced cues
and so do not have detailed knowledge of their specific badges beyond these
I wonder whether this company eventually chose
to buy their cues from Burroughes and Watts or Peradon, to concentrate on
making other accessories and of course tables.
Interestingly I recently discovered that
Burroughes and Watts bought Orme and son in the, mid 1930s, of course I
mean the company not the gentlemen themselves. They continued to produce this
companys line exactly as it had been produced for many years. Some years
down the line Burroughes and Watts produced a new cue, which resembled the Orme
match cue but where the Orme was made with a blue flash above the splice, this
new Burroughes and Watts cue had a green flash. This new Burroughes and Watts
cue was the Mascot.
I have noticed that many table makers bought in
cues from Peradon and had their badges placed on the butt, other companies
bought in Peradon cues to sell in their retail outlets such as Murton, a high
street sports outlet in Newcastle. This company became popularly known as a cue
maker although to my knowledge they did not actually ever make their own
The four main cue makers of the last century
were Burroughes and Watts, E J Riley, Thurstons and Peradon. Many cues
appear to have been made by other companies but on closer investigation it
becomes clear that one of these four companies was in fact really
Other companies that made their own cues seem to
include Orme, Cannon, Chas Parker and Hixon of Leeds.
If you can supply the names of other maker who
actually made their own cues, I would be happy to hear from you.
Between us we may resolve the mystery of Tom
Taylor and Stevenson and son as well as Cox and Yemen and Kent and Co and what
happened to the cue making business created by Jack Mannock and presumably
swallowed up by the ever growing, at that time Burroughes and Watts.