B.A. Stevens nameplate
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B.A. Stevens nameplate - 08-04-2014, 06:48 PM

Mr. Bond:

I am attaching a photo of a B.A. Stevens nameplate that I hope you can shed some light on.

My 8 yr. old grandson found this copper nameplate this past week in about 4 ft. of water while swimming in Lake Margrethe, near Grayling, Michigan. The most ironic part about this is that he found it on my birthday. As an avid pool player, I couldn't have asked for a more fitting present. Of course, it was much darker and hardly legible when pulled from the sand and water, but a little TLC with some steel wool produced the beautiful patina that is shown in the photo.

Having read that B.A. Stevens made a variety of products, including billiard tables and saloon furniture, I am wondering if you can identify this as being from a billiard table? Any idea of the approximate age? I intend to frame the nameplate along with any historical information that you can provide.

Thanks for your assistance.

Speedi
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08-05-2014, 03:29 PM

Look familiar?

  
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08-05-2014, 04:43 PM

First and most importantly, happy birthday speedi and congrats to you and your son for an awesome find. That must have been some pretty chilly water up there.
(kids dont usually care, they just love to swim) How the nameplate got there is probably a great story unto itself.

Second, it's a tricky question to answer whether or not it came from a billiard table, but at this point, I'm going to say no, it probably didnt. But of course there are exceptions to every rule, and its been over 100 years now, so I could be mistaken.

If it were a cast iron object, the makers name would have been cast.
On things like cue racks and smaller objects that get handled a lot, a company name would be painted on or applied like a decal.
On the imported or re-distributed objects, there would be no maker name or a Stevens paper label would have been applied with glue.

On furniture like chairs and tables the makers name would be burned on or afixed in a subtle location out of sight.

This narrows it down to large objects like billiard tables, bars, back-bars, and fridges or keg coolers, which is where I think your nameplate came from. Perhaps somebody had one in a lakeside cottage or even on a boat. I've even heard of nameplates being used as "spoon" type fishing lures for pike. lol true story.

I've seen coolers (ice-boxes) with nameplates like yours, and back-bars as well, so I'm thinking that yours is probably from one of those. The date of production is almost impossible to tell without dozens of examples to compare to and an electron microscope..lol

The example below is one of their common billiard table nameplates. Were they all like that? I don't know.

I hope this info helps. And if you gimme your email address I can send you an electronic copy of their 1894 catalog (printable). ( We also have a short Benjamin Stevens bio on the museum website if you havent seen it already)


  
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08-05-2014, 09:14 PM

Mr. Bond:

Thank you very much for the information. Although it seems a long shot (pun intended) that the nameplate is from a billiard table, I will frame it and add your reply, as well. I think pool players will be interested to read the B.A. Stevens Co. history as it relates to billiard products.

I would very much appreciate a copy of their 1894 catalog. You can email to: jonarden1@att.net.

Speedi.
  
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08-06-2014, 07:31 AM

Glad to help, sorry I couldn't give you a more definitive answer.
One more thing I meant to mention was that frequently the billiard table nameplates were produced and attached in such a way as to make them flush with the rail, without any nails, tacks or screws. (Usually) Which of course is yet another reason to believe that it came off of an icebox or the like.

Either way, its still very old, and could easily predate 1900. Great find..

Will send the catalog momentarily.
The amazing array of things they sold will baffle your mind...lol
It's like a 19th century Walmart ...pool tables only scratch the surface.

All the best
DB

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08-06-2014, 11:20 AM

Found some additional info on B.A. Stevens this morning....

Company founder Benjamin Abbott Stevens died in 1905.



1911 July 22nd Stevens factory complex caught fire resulting in a $250,000 loss of two of their three factory buildings, leaving them with one factory bldg and an office.
The fire could not be extinguished fully for several days and made front page news.(click on link to view the entire front page article with photos )
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...=6235%2C410033

The company survived until at least 1924 but its doubtful that they survived the great depression. (more info needed)

One of their buildings in Toledo (constructed in 1900) still stands to this day and was recently rehabbed...to see a photo of it click on the link.

https://www.toledoblade.com/local/20...dquarters.html

Last edited by Mr. Bond; 08-06-2014 at 11:37 AM.
  
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08-06-2014, 12:32 PM

Mr. Bond:

The amount of information you have access to is really remarkable. Even with the internet it would take me months to dig up just what you have sent me already (assuming it is even available through search engines). I can't thank you enough. I am going to share all of this with my grandson who found the nameplate. He loves history and pool.

You are right. The catalog is incredible. I think I would have really enjoyed working for such a company. Heck, I might even have responded to one of their requests for territory sales representatives to sell their windmills.

My regards and thanks to you, Mr. Bond.

Speedi
  
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