Hoppe Pro facts and myths
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runscott
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Hoppe Pro facts and myths - 09-25-2017, 09:10 AM

I've seen a lot of ideas floated around here concerning Hoppe Pros, so I thought I would share 'what I think' are facts, hopefully generating some corrections or additional ones.

Facts (in no particular order)
  • There have been three blue Hoppe Pro labels (and some very minor variations;e.g-‘white dot’ vs ‘blue dot': 1) curly ‘B’ of the early 1940’s, swish-bottom ‘B’ - late 1940’s through about 1960, small block ‘B’ that began around 1960.
  • There were two different ‘Willie Hoppe’ signatures stamped into the forearms of Titliests and Hoppe Pros. The second signature appeared while the first label (curly ‘B’) was still in use, probably post-1945 as it is never found on cues with war-time joints.
  • The 1st label cues were made of ebony, Brazillian Rosewood and a few other fancy rosewoods (no purpleheart). Oak was used in 1st generation (curly ‘B’) green label Titliests, but never in the 2-piece Hoppe Pros. Curly ‘B’ Titliest 1-piece cues were made of various other woods that were not used in the curly ‘B’ HP’s.
  • The various ‘Brunswick’ printings found in advertising (curly ‘B’, swish-bottom ‘B’, block ‘B’) had no correlation to any particular time period;e.g-curly ‘B’ can be found in 1960’s advertising
  • ‘Shield' weight stamps were found only on curly ‘B’ Titliest blank cues. Such weight-stamps do not imply a particular maker or that they were the first Hoppe Pros made; however, I can't remember seeing one in conjunction with a 2nd-generation 'Willie Hoppe' forearm stamp.
  • War-time joints (non-metal) were found only on curly ‘B’ HP’s. Most were made from ebony and Brazillian Rosewood, although other high-quality rosewoods were occasionally used. These joints varied in composition from an almost delrin-like material to something almost like bakelite in appearance. The latter had more of the tortoise-shell look that these are known for.
  • Steel pins can be found in some war-time joints. It is not known if they were used in the first war-time joints, then a switch was made to standard brass pins, or the other way around (I would guess the latter).
  • Brass pins in pre-1960 HP’s were always 5/16 x 14.
  • Purpleheart was used in swish-bottom and block ‘B’ HP’s, but not in curly ‘B’ 1940’s HP’s.
  • Brown leather wraps were sometimes, but rarely, found on curly ‘B’ HP’s.
  • Veneer colors and pattern did not vary in HP's;however, pre-HP veneer colors can be found in several varieties.
  • Ivory rings were standard on all 'curly B' label cues.
  • Ivory rings were optional on the early swish-bottom B cues, but never found on the purpleheart versions of this cue. My theory is that purpleheart was not offered until the late 1950's, by which time ivory rings were no longer an option but the swish-bottom B label was still being used.
  • Ivory rings were not found on the 'small B' label cues.
  • Some 'small B' cues have two letters stamped in the butt. The assumption is that they were owner initials and were ordered that way.
  • Purpleheart WAS found on pre-Titliest blank cues. I do not know why it was abandoned when the Hoppe Pro was introduced, then offered again in the late 1950's.
  • There are Frankenstein HP's out there that will contradict some of the above.

Myths
  • Herman Rambow built the ebony HP’s
  
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War-time Hoppe Pro with Shield Weight Stamp
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War-time Hoppe Pro with Shield Weight Stamp - 02-05-2018, 12:33 PM

Apparently these exist. Joint is the opaque black variety. Buttplate is thin, butt has almost no taper.
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02-05-2018, 07:34 PM

Thanks for the info and the pictures. I have seen similar joint material like this only a few times. Funny I never noticed that the joint collar is one piece instead of two piece like the cues that were made during peace times. It makes sense, the black joint ring would not be needed with a black joint collar.

I do have an old one piece Titlist that has some really nice Brazilian Rosewood. It has been hard to date with only a small part of the label left.


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02-07-2018, 12:19 AM

The war-time (non-brass) joints on Hoppe Pros have been showing up more often the last year or so than in the past. That's been great as we've seen some interesting variations and gotten and idea of how common each variation is. I've had three different war-time joints: the opaque black one like the one above, the most common wavy grain version that resembles bakelite, and an almost-opaque (slight waviness) that resembles delrin. Also, the pins could be either brass or steel (like the one above), with steel being more common. This one also has a steel insert in the shaft.
  
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