Peradon Limited




I have now completed my research about the makers Peradon, looking back at the cues in my collection.

It seems that Peradon were a truly major maker of cues from 1885 and remain so today.

If you see an old cue with a player’s name, face or record break on the badge with no other maker’s name included, chances are that Peradon made the cue.

Exceptions to this rule of thumb spring to mind.

I have seen a W J Peall cue made to the design made famous by Peradon, that had a weight stamp and overall design that clearly identified it as a Burroughes and Watts cue although it did not carry their name anywhere on the cue. My theory about these cues is that in the early years of the last century, they were very popular and so orders outstretched Peradon’s ability to supply. Clearly the possibility existed that sub contracting was an option. I believe that Burroughes and Watts were called upon to furnish the extra cues required to meet demand and were instructed to conform as near as possible to the Peradon design.

It is possible that the above practice was employed both ways so some Burroughes and Watts cues were probably made by Peradon and Vice versa.

I have also seen early John Roberts cues that are stamped with the makers name on the ebony above the badge, these stamps can become worn and barely readable. This means that many years later identifying the maker becomes difficult. The characteristics of the John Roberts crossed cues do not seem to vary from one year to the next and the design remained constant throughout its life.

I am curious about the contracts that were signed by players in the twenties to endorse various cues. It seems that both Willie Smith and Tom Newman were in great demand from both Peradon and Burroughes and Watts for these endorsements.

Willie Smith’s name is commemorated on at least five different cues. Including one machine-spliced version of the spliced champion cue by Peradon. The Burroughes and Watts range included three different cues to my knowledge, the straight-forward champion cue with the striped ebony butt, the record cue with either a striped butt or black butt and a champion cue with thumb print badge. It seems that in the late thirties Willie Smith transferred his contract to Peradon who produced a commemorative cue with a front splice of Tulipwood and a plaque that recorded his break making capabilities. A machine-spliced version of this cue exists with a variety of front splices and an identical badge. Willie Smith went on to actually work for Smith and Nelson in Leeds, I have a friend that remembers a story told to him about an older member of his club who uses a cue made for him by Willie Smith himself.

Tom Newman cues are equally interesting from a contractual point of view as they were also both made by the two major cue making companies Peradon and Burroughes and Watts. Tom Newman made a break in 1921 of 1,274, soon afterwards Burroughes and Watts must have signed him up as a cue appears with this break recorded on it’s badge. The cue looks almost identical to the Willie Smith champion cue but the badge is larger.

These cues must be quite rare as Tom Newman broke his record in 1924. Again Burroughes and Watts responded by producing a cue to record this achievement and thus the 1,370 Tom Newman cue was born, this cue differed from its predecessor in that it had a splice and claimed to be a facsimile of Tom’s own cue. The interesting thing is that the earlier cue made a similar claim on its badge and was a very different cue?

Perhaps the rarest Tom Newman cue of all is the cue with a black butt and a diagonal representation of Tom’s signature on the badge. These cues were made by Burroughes and Watts, perhaps as a stop gap straight after the break was made to cash in on any publicity prior to the design of the facsimile cue with front splice. Incidentally, I have only seen one such cue, it is not to be confused with the more common badged cue that existed well into the forties that sometimes turns up with a black butt but is not original.

Some cues acquire a different badge in later life due to accidents and so on.

Perhaps towards the end of the 1930’s Peradon secured the rights to produce Tom Newman facsimile cues, these cue differ in one major way, they do not carry a makers name. They do however carry the word London on each of the earliest badges along with a representation of Tom’s signature and a mention of the 1,370 break made in 1924. This break remains the largest ever recorded with ivory billiard balls.

I believe that the earliest of all the Peradon Tom Newman cues is the cue that carries his name in block letters rather than a representation of his signature.

The most common Tom Newman cue is the one that does not claim to be a facsimile but is made to the same general design, this cue carries the 1,370 break and is simply known as a “Tom Newman champion cue” by collectors. As far as I know this cue does not exist as a black butted version.

I personally have four Tom Newman cues, which are all different; these are becoming my favourite cues as they often combine signature, record break and facsimile characteristics. Perhaps it is a little naïve but I like facsimile cues as they give the impression of bringing the collector closer to the player.

Thurston’s were making cues and tables for English Billiards from 1799; their cues always carried their name as far as I can tell. The exception to the rule of cues carrying a name occurs when the cue is simply a long piece of ash that is sold at a budget price. Thurston cues often have a round badge and rarely carry the name of a professional player.

Thurston’s were responsible for virtually every innovation that was incorporated into the Billiard trade in their early years.

I have owned only three Thurston produced cues and so do not have detailed knowledge of their specific badges beyond these three.

I wonder whether this company eventually chose to buy their cues from Burroughes and Watts or Peradon, to concentrate on making other accessories and of course tables.

Interestingly I recently discovered that Burroughes and Watts bought Orme and son in the, mid 1930’s, of course I mean the company not the gentlemen themselves. They continued to produce this company’s line exactly as it had been produced for many years. Some years down the line Burroughes and Watts produced a new cue, which resembled the Orme match cue but where the Orme was made with a blue flash above the splice, this new Burroughes and Watts cue had a green flash. This new Burroughes and Watts cue was the Mascot.

I have noticed that many table makers bought in cues from Peradon and had their badges placed on the butt, other companies bought in Peradon cues to sell in their retail outlets such as Murton, a high street sports outlet in Newcastle. This company became popularly known as a cue maker although to my knowledge they did not actually ever make their own cues.

The four main cue makers of the last century were Burroughes and Watts, E J Riley, Thurston’s and Peradon. Many cues appear to have been made by other companies but on closer investigation it becomes clear that one of these four companies was in fact really responsible.

Other companies that made their own cues seem to include Orme, Cannon, Chas Parker and Hixon of Leeds.

If you can supply the names of other maker who actually made their own cues, I would be happy to hear from you.

Between us we may resolve the mystery of Tom Taylor and Stevenson and son as well as Cox and Yemen and Kent and Co and what happened to the cue making business created by Jack Mannock and presumably swallowed up by the ever growing, at that time Burroughes and Watts.

David Smith

Peradon cue images