The Billiards Room was definitely set up as an early sort of ‘man cave.’ Here, you can see an old photo of how it looked early on. In this photo, the billiards table is covered with boards because the Congdon family used this surface as a buffet, for when they were doing casual entertaining:
Here, you can see the table uncovered. You might also notice that the carpet is different in the two photos. The historic photo shows hand-tufted Donegal rugs from Ireland. Those rugs have long been rolled up and put into storage in the attic. The red carpet that is installed now is utilitarian, and even if it’s not very attractive, at least it prevents wear and tear on the beautiful hardwood floors. You can also see that all the chairs in the recent photo have ribbons over them to discourage guests from sitting down. These chairs are oak-trimmed, and were designed for Glensheen by the William French Design Company.
There are a few little drawers tucked around the Billiards Room, and in one, we found an old Cuban cigar box:
The box itself probably isn’t all that unique, but you should really stop for a moment and soak in all the details of the painting on the inside cover:
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – we need more of this sort of craftsmanship in the world again.
This little device is clearly a heater of some sort:
But we got a bit confused when we saw that it was made by the Bausch & Lomb Optical Company. I searched high and low, but I can’t figure out exactly what this would have been used for. Any ideas?
Edward’s address here (807 Lonsdale Bldg) was the same office that Chester worked from. But what was more fun was the return address: From The M.C. Lilley & Co. Secret Society. Supplies, lodge furniture, military & band uniforms. What’s not to love?!
We also found this sweet little birch bark canoe with colored quills:
In my opinion, the Congdon’s finest Victrola was the one in the Billiards Room.
Here’s the name plate:
It’s hard to see unless you zoom in, but the needle (pointing up) has a bunch of fuzz on it. You definitely wouldn’t want to drop the needle on a record without cleaning it!
This is the decal on the inside of the cover – Victor Talking Machine Company:
We got the impression that the Victrola came with a bunch of albums.
I was curious, so I found a recording of Caruso singing La Forza del destino:
And this record – the title alone made me stop for a closer look: Wearing Kilts (That’s the Reason noo I Wear a Kilt) by Harry Lauder:
I know you’re curious, and yes, I was too. Here it is:
These records are only pressed on one side. On the reverse side was this impression, the price and the copyright information:
What’s the difference between a billiards table and a pool table? For one, a billiards table has no pockets:
One of the other striking differences between billiards and pool is that pool uses 16 balls (15 colored balls and one cue ball), whereas the most common billiards uses only three balls.
This table is the ‘St. Bernard Mission’ a model made by the Brunswick Balke Collender Company. The J. L. Brunswick Company was originally founded in 1845 to make carriages, but shortly after being formed, the founder got interested in billiards, and changed the focus of the company to making billiards tables. In 1874, they merged with the Balke Company, and then in 1878, they merged with the Collender Company. Unlike so many other companies, Brunswick (they dropped all the other names in 1960) manufactured an extremely wide array of products, including bowling balls, bicycles, bars, phonograph records, military drones, yachts, and much more.
But back in the early 1900s, it was still the Brunswick Balke Collender Co.:
Under the rail on each side is a little chalk cup:
Inlaid ivory, of course:
This is the hanging arrangement for the chandelier above the billiard table:
And this scorekeeper probably came with the table:
Here’s a little closer view:
Here are the billiard cues, with their handles wrapped with thread:
Here’s a billiard ball that has seen better days:
This leather bottle came with the billiard table, and apparently you use it for a game called ‘bottle pool,’ or ‘bottle billiards,’ the rules of which are extremely complex and arcane.
Here’s a full view of the billiards cues, balls and related equipment:
On the opposite side of the room from the billiards cues is another cabinet. The interesting thing about this cabinet is its little ‘skylight’ that allows light from the fixture (made by the Linden Art Glass Company of Chicago) to shine down below into the otherwise too-dark cabinet:
Across the room is a little hutch with drawers, and some of my favorite woodcarvings of all of Glensheen. Look at this dolphin:
And then a bit lower on the piece are these dragons:
Remember – this is all hand-carved. Can you imagine how much time this took? Very impressive!
Although these projectors are currently on display in the Billiards Room, it was in the Amusement Room that the home movies taken by the Congdons were shown:
Here’s a bit of developed film:
And here is some film that has been exposed, along with the cartridge that it came in:
What were they filming? Here is one snippet of film that has been made available online, of a trip to France:
And finally, here is one of the within-Glensheen phone systems:
You may notice ‘smoking room’ as one of your choices. Today, this is called Chester’s Den. Perhaps ‘Smoking Room’ is not how we want it to be remembered?