70's DOMESTIC CUES

philly

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
During the 70's which custom pool cue makers were selling cues, built to order, through pool halls?
In the Philly area there was a a pharmacist named Doc Frye.
I believe they were about $120 with 2 shafts.
Late 60's, early 70's.
Mizerak played with a Doc Frye for a while.
 

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
A number of cue makers would sometimes hand deliver cues to the buyer at pool halls. Balabushka did that at times in the greater NY area- I knew someone who had his Balabushka hand delivered by George in New Rochelle NY- George would take the trains- he would have the cue wrapped in a paper bag! GB also delivered cues in Chinatown in the early 60s. Karl Meyer worked South Jersey and Pa. pool halls.

Many cue makers liked to play pool or sometimes be around the pool hall scene, but I don't know any that actually had a cue shop or ran their business primarily out of a pool hall - maybe Sailor Stellman. Most pool halls that sprung up during the pool craze of the 60s had to find available space in existing buildings- and there was also the stigma among general society against pool halls- so basement and upper floor empty spaces were most common pool hall locations - away from the eye view of the general public to avoid scrutiny and also to occupy the cheaper rent spaces.

Tom Harris made cues in the Stamford, CT. area and frequented pool halls- he is in the blue book. I think it is safe to say that almost every cue maker during that era spent some of their time in pool halls and were probably taking orders at the same time as their reputation grew.
 

Biloxi Boy

Man With A Golden Arm
I am asking about a mail order type business where the pool hall took orders, mailed or phoned in orders, and cues delivered by mail, etc., to pool hall which handled money. Players could specify wood, joint, shaft diameter, wrap, veneers, inlays, rings, and so on.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I am asking about a mail order type business where the pool hall took orders, mailed or phoned in orders, and cues delivered by mail, etc., to pool hall which handled money. Players could specify wood, joint, shaft diameter, wrap, veneers, inlays, rings, and so on.
I don't know of any such arrangement and I bought some cues at that time. I think such a custom cue would be arranged between the maker and the buyer without a pool hall in the middle. There were also some standard brands with standard models, just like today.
 

middleofnowhere

Registered
I am asking about a mail order type business where the pool hall took orders, mailed or phoned in orders, and cues delivered by mail, etc., to pool hall which handled money. Players could specify wood, joint, shaft diameter, wrap, veneers, inlays, rings, and so on.
If I remember right you could custom order cues from Palmer. And toward the end of the seventies when McDermott was starting out I ordered a lot of cues from McDermott for customers.

pretty much custom-made. you could look at the catalog and they would mix and match features from different cues to make a new original cue.

McDermott when they started in 1975 they were real hustlers. They would cold call to sell you cues even sending you cues on speculation.

It's no accident they became as big as they did as quick as they did. Not to mention they were one of the best hitting cues around with that big screw flat face joint.
 
Last edited:

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I am asking about a mail order type business where the pool hall took orders, mailed or phoned in orders, and cues delivered by mail, etc., to pool hall which handled money. Players could specify wood, joint, shaft diameter, wrap, veneers, inlays, rings, and so on.
Never heard of that. Back then you just called the guy.
 

JusticeNJ

Four Points/Steel Joints
Silver Member
I think there were instances of cuemakers making a line of cues that were meant to be sold by poolrooms. IIRC, Stroud and Black did this. But they weren't custom ordered, or to my knowledge, customizable. Not unlike a catalog cue, but usually plainer. But a cut above a Viking, Mali, etc.
 
Last edited:

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think there were instances of cuemakers making a line of cues that were meant to be sold by poolrooms. IIRC, Stroud and Black did this. But they weren't custom ordered.
When i first started you could buy Meucci-McD-JossWest at a local spot. Richard Black was always a custom and you called him. Stroud made a line of about 10-12 cues or you could call for a custom. Billy lived here in Tulsa for 4yrs and he had a big following so you saw a lot of JW's here.
 

David in FL

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Never heard of that. Back then you just called the guy.
That’s kind of what I remember.

The only one I knew personally back then was Frank ”sailor” Stellman, in Racine, WI.

He had his own room and if you wanted a cue, you could just walk up to him and talk about it. If only I had done so way back then! 😑
 

middleofnowhere

Registered
When i first started you could buy Meucci-McD-JossWest at a local spot. Richard Black was always a custom and you called him. Stroud made a line of about 10-12 cues or you could call for a custom. Billy lived here in Tulsa for 4yrs and he had a big following so you saw a lot of JW's here.
Richard black for brief time did have a line of production cues I used to sell them.
 
Last edited:

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If I remember right you could custom order cues from Palmer. And toward the end of the seventies when McDermott was starting out I ordered a lot of cues from McDermott for customers.

pretty much custom-made. you could look at the catalog and they would mix and match features from different cues to make a new original cue.

McDermott when they started in 1975 they were real hustlers. They would cold call to sell you cues even sending you cues on speculation.

It's no accident they became as big as they did as quick as they did. Not to mention they were one of the best hitting cues around with that big screw flat face joint.
I grew up in NY just outside NYC- lots of guys in the NY area in the 60s and 70s ordered directly from Palmer in Elizabeth NJ and went there to pick up their cues in person. In fact, that was the norm for most serious NY area players who decided on a Palmer cue. The one Palmer that I now own- third catalog Model 12 Limited with the Palmer Deluxe case and two shafts, was ordered and picked up at Palmer directly by the guy I purchased the cue from last year here in Fl- he was originally from Queens, NY.

Knowing that it was a one owner cue, purchased directly from Palmer, with custom specs ( he had one shaft made for 14.1 and one shaft for rotation games with different tapers and weights), being from that golden era of pool, and all in almost mint condition makes it a keeper as a collectible representation of a bygone era in pool history :)
 

Biloxi Boy

Man With A Golden Arm
I bought my first "real" cue in the described manner in 1977 through a small pool hall in Gulfport, Mississippi -- Rack and Roll. I had begun working offshore and bought my cue with the first money I saved. Total cost was approximately $275, including a case. The pool hall had a binder containing catalogs/information from several cuemakers such as Viking, Meucci, Palmer, etc., but I do not recall McDermott being mentioned. In the end, I chose a company that I considered "custom" as a list of options was provided for me to choose from. The pool hall manager went over the list with me several times and took my order: a 20 oz. full splice cue with ebony butt/points and maple forearm, Hoppe Ring, stainless steel joint, and green specked Cortland wrap. Shafts came in different diameters which was huge considering I wanted a large diameter shaft. Of course, the cue I received two months later was perfect and shot lights out.

Sadly, this cue was stolen from me in a bar on the Biloxi Strip in 1982. I had always believed my cue was made by Palmer and identified it as such for years. However, I recently learned from a reliable AZ source that Palmer did not make cues with Hoppe Rings, and my cue definitely had a Hoppe Ring.
 
Last edited:

CLAUD

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
1973 - 1974, I worked part time in the student union game room. If I remember correctly it had eight Brunswick Anniversary 8 footers and 2 snooker tables, also had an 8 lane bowling alley. We had Palmer catalogs and Gandy catalogs, that were really just color flyers with price sheets that we ordered cues from. Saw another student with a Joss for the first time there. I still have the Gandy HC-145 with 2 shafts I picked up in1974 in Shreveport after seeing the catalog at work. All original except for the tips and still have the receipt. $67.20 after tax. A poor student I couldn't afford the Palmer I really liked.

Heard some guy named Bill Schick was building cues there at that time, but never made it by his shop. :)
 

pt109

WO double hemlock
Gold Member
Silver Member
A guy named Louie Buona ordered a custom Joss in ‘68...he sold it to a friend of mine...who cracked the ivory ferrule.
my friend gave it to me in ‘78....I had the ivory chopped off and the tip thinned to a 12mm....still got it...still hits like a dream....refinished twice...Paul Mottey and Ron Kady...never been touched at the joint...still straight.
 

ideologist

I don't never exaggerate
Gold Member
Silver Member
A number of cue makers would sometimes hand deliver cues to the buyer at pool halls. Balabushka did that at times in the greater NY area- I knew someone who had his Balabushka hand delivered by George in New Rochelle NY- George would take the trains- he would have the cue wrapped in a paper bag! GB also delivered cues in Chinatown in the early 60s. Karl Meyer worked South Jersey and Pa. pool halls.

Many cue makers liked to play pool or sometimes be around the pool hall scene, but I don't know any that actually had a cue shop or ran their business primarily out of a pool hall - maybe Sailor Stellman. Most pool halls that sprung up during the pool craze of the 60s had to find available space in existing buildings- and there was also the stigma among general society against pool halls- so basement and upper floor empty spaces were most common pool hall locations - away from the eye view of the general public to avoid scrutiny and also to occupy the cheaper rent spaces.

Tom Harris made cues in the Stamford, CT. area and frequented pool halls- he is in the blue book. I think it is safe to say that almost every cue maker during that era spent some of their time in pool halls and were probably taking orders at the same time as their reputation grew.
Balabushka also sold through a pool hall in Rochester NY for sure, probably others
 

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Balabushka also sold through a pool hall in Rochester NY for sure, probably others
How cool was it years later when he REALLY became a legend, that some guys still had their Balabushka cue that was custom made for them by George and then hand delivered at the pool hall. I remember the guy telling me the story about his cue being delivered by George and he ran 50 balls in 14.1 with the cue right out of the bag George had carried the cue on the train! He had the cue with him the day he told me the story- it was gambler design with the suit of cards inlayed.
 

ideologist

I don't never exaggerate
Gold Member
Silver Member
How cool was it years later when he REALLY became a legend, that some guys still had their Balabushka cue that was custom made for them by George and then hand delivered at the pool hall. I remember the guy telling me the story about his cue being delivered by George and he ran 50 balls in 14.1 with the cue right out of the bag George had carried the cue on the train! He had the cue with him the day he told me the story- it was gambler design with the suit of cards inlayed.
It was a little different. Sam at the counter was a friend of George's. If you wanted a cue, you asked Sam for a cue.

If George felt you were a competent enough player, you got a cue.

They weren't custom orders, but you had to hit a high watermark of competency to receive one. A real badge of honor.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It was a little different. Sam at the counter was a friend of George's. If you wanted a cue, you asked Sam for a cue.

If George felt you were a competent enough player, you got a cue.

They weren't custom orders, but you had to hit a high watermark of competency to receive one. A real badge of honor.
Novel idea. Send a video to a cuemaker aka 'The Cue Nazi'. "You don't play good enough. NO cue for you!!" ;)
 
Top