Rambow Article from 1928

kling&allen

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I came across this article, which I haven't seen referenced anywhere before, that's one of the earliest interviews with Rambow and his thoughts on cues. The article has some interesting details on the cues he built as well--like Greenleaf played with a 14mm tip! It's a syndicated article that ran in full in The Monroe News-Star (Monroe, Louisiana). This paper ran tons of national pool stories for whatever reason (editor must have liked to shoot pool).

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I think Rambow is mentioned in Polsky's Hustlers, Beats and Others too, for helping Polsky with expert information.

I'm impressed that the players were so particular in their requirements back then. All this fuss about tapers is clearly nothing new!
 

Bob Jewett

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Remarkable that Greenleaf used a 14mm tip. On the other hand, I think Vignaux recommended 16mm.

Also, Jake Jr. used a 53-inch cue.
 

kling&allen

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Remarkable that Greenleaf used a 14mm tip. On the other hand, I think Vignaux recommended 16mm.

Also, Jake Jr. used a 53-inch cue.

It's interesting how particular the old greats were with respect to cue length, weight, and balance point. I suppose Brunswick was happy with this type of fussiness--it drove business for custom orders. The opposite appears true today--the cue companies want their sponsored players to play with stock 58" cues and an official extension.
 
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kling&allen

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I looked up Vignaux's cue from his book, and your memory Bob is correct. He says he plays with a slightly larger than normal cue with a 16mm tip and recommends players deviate little from this preferred size. I had to convert from metric, but his cue is only 55 inches long and weighs 19.4oz.

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Bob Jewett

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I looked up Vignaux's cue from his book, and your memory Bob is correct. He says he plays with a slightly larger than normal cue with a 16mm tip and recommends players deviate little from this preferred size. I had to convert from metric, but his cue is only 55 inches long and weighs 19.4oz.

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I have heard Vignaux described as a tall man while I think Shaefer Sr. was fairly short, which might explain the differences in preferred cues.
 

Fatboy

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I’ve hit balls with a 14mm shaft. Wouldn’t be my first choice but wasn’t the end of the world either. Interesting to see the evolution of equipment
 

Timkrieger

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Great article, thanks for sharing! I'd be interested too how cue butts became standardized over the years. I play with a Robinson cue, John Robinson, which has a smaller diameter butt than standard cues and, although I have large hands, I love it, feels much more surgical and responsive to grip changes on different shots.
 

kling&allen

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Great article, thanks for sharing! I'd be interested too how cue butts became standardized over the years. I play with a Robinson cue, John Robinson, which has a smaller diameter butt than standard cues and, although I have large hands, I love it, feels much more surgical and responsive to grip changes on different shots.

The "Billiard Encyclopedia" has a detailed history. In short, the butt designs we know today (length, weight, wraps, rings, points, inlays, etc.) were in widespread use by the late 19th century. The bevel, for using the butt mace-style to strike the cue ball, was gradually phased out due to rule changes and modern play style. At some point 100+ years ago, Brunswick picked 58" as the standard cue length although you could custom order other lengths. The cues Rambow made for Mosconi had a smaller diameter butt (at Willie's request) because WIllie had small hands.

The balance point was set just fore of the wrap due to the style of play in those days. Mosconi and others felt that the grip should be very near the balance point, so the basic Rambow design described above was born. Despite major changes in style--modern pool players grip the cue over a foot behind the balance point now--the basic butt design is the same from Rambow's 1928 article above (internal butt construction has changed with coring, weight bolts, A-joints, etc.). It seems silly that 6 foot+ pros snap on extensions, which further distort cue balance and weighting, because they are stuck with the same 58" cue design that 5'6 Willie Mosconi used. But today's pros need to play with mass produced cues from their sponsors.

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HawaiianEye

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The "Billiard Encyclopedia" has a detailed history. In short, the butt designs we know today (length, weight, wraps, rings, points, inlays, etc.) were in widespread use by the late 19th century. The bevel, for using the butt mace-style to strike the cue ball, was gradually phased out due to rule changes and modern play style. At some point 100+ years ago, Brunswick picked 58" as the standard cue length although you could custom order other lengths. The cues Rambow made for Mosconi had a smaller diameter butt (at Willie's request) because WIllie had small hands.

The balance point was set just fore of the wrap due to the style of play in those days. Mosconi and others felt that the grip should be very near the balance point, so the basic Rambow design described above was born. Despite major changes in style--modern pool players grip the cue over a foot behind the balance point now--the basic butt design is the same from Rambow's 1928 article above (internal butt construction has changed with coring, weight bolts, A-joints, etc.). It seems silly that 6 foot+ pros snap on extensions, which further distort cue balance and weighting, because they are stuck with the same 58" cue design that 5'6 Willie Mosconi used. But today's pros need to play with mass produced cues from their sponsors.

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I think most of the earlier custom cues were 57”.

Mine are.

Willie said his cue was 57”, 19 1/2 ounces, and had a 13mm tip in some of his books.

He recommended gripping the cue “three to six inches behind the balance point”.

Willie Mosconi World's Champion 1941-58 on Pocket Billiards​

By Willie Mosconi

 
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HawaiianEye

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That was my experience in the 60s and 70s. I think it was 9-ball and maybe taller (on average) players that moved the typical to 58.
Yes.

I didn’t get a 58” cue until around 1978. It was an ebony 4-point that Richard Black made for me. 21 ounce with 14mm shafts.

Wish I still had it.
 

Cuebuddy

Mini cues
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Thanks everyone for the corrections. I went back to check some of the old Brunswick catalogs, and the "standard length" in 1915 was 55 or 57 inches depending on the cue style:


57 was the more common standard by 1935 and then the standard Titlist length:



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$30 ($455 in today's dollars) for a dozen titlists is quite a deal.
Interesting, I have two Brunswick cues from that time period. One 55" and one 57".
 
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