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Donald T. Pomeroy Lecture Series: The Golden Age of Syracuse Billiard Tables, by Beth Bornick
October 24, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm
Upstate New York once supported a thriving billiard and pool table industry, and Syracuse was home to four table manufacturers. This presentation will tell the story of the Syracuse Billiard Table Makers, and give a unique perspective on how furniture styles changed “from Gilded to Gustav”.
Wherever men gathered in the days before radio and television, there was sure to be at least one billiard table. Victorian bachelor culture and rapid population growth kept this market strong, and there was a constant demand for tables of “the latest fashion”, not only in hotels and billiard saloons, but also in private homes, fraternal organizations, and even firehouses.
In fact, the Benedict Billiard Table company gained state-wide fame in 1882 by donating a magnificent raffle prize for the 10th-anniversary convention of the State Fireman’s Association. Harry Benedict’s elaborate marquetry “fireman’s table” was a folk art masterpiece, but the company’s success was based on more than just the artistry of its founder and the skill of its craftsmen. It was a credit also to the business acumen of its youthful owner, Will Meachem, who later went on to form the New Process Rawhide Gear company.
In this presentation, Beth Bornick will share material she is compiling for a book on the Syracuse Billiard Table Makers. Beth is an independent researcher whose career is in the manufacturing realm, and whose research interests include historic patents, old newspaper articles, and New York’s bygone industries. Her husband, David Grunenwald of Bankshot Antiques in Albany, has been restoring billiard and pool tables for over 25 years. Dave will bring example pieces from several Syracuse tables, including a panel from one of the famous Benedict fireman’s tables.
This event is free and open to the public.