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Plant c. 1911Image courtesy: Center for Dubuque History, Loras College and http://www.cityofdubuque.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2926
Photo courtesy: Jim Massey
Brunswick Recreation Building. Image courtesy: Joe Jacobsmeier
A talcum powder dispenser for pool halls. Photo courtesy: Jim Massey

BRUNSWICK-BALKE-COLLENDER COMPANY. By 1884, Brunswick a Chicago-based company, joined with rivals to become “The Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company,” the largest billiard equipment operation in the world, larger than all its competitors combined. Expansion of the product line included elaborate and ornate front and back bars made of rich woods, flawless mirrors, and stained glass. Originally offered as special order items, these items developed such demand that in 1911 a new factory was located in Dubuque, Iowa. Located at Jackson Street and Peru Road, this plant manufactured and shipped bar equipment around the world. Billed as the "Largest Bar Fixture Factory in the World," the company employed five hundred people. (1) The bars won design awards at international exhibitions and were used in popular bars and restaurants around the country.

With the passage of PROHIBITION, the company converted to the production of wooden phonograph cabinets. Purchased by Warner Brothers in 1930, the factory was eventually the property of FLEXSTEEL INDUSTRIES, INC.

A bar produced by the company.
Craftsmen near their work. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Located on the corner of 32nd and Jackson, the Brunswick Recreation Building offered a bowling alley, gymnasium, and restaurant. Illustration by Norman Zepeski.
This bar background was constructed in the 1880s for the Louisville Inn located in Louisville, Colorado. Built to fit, this enormous piece has no nails used in its construction.
Pool rack produced by the company.
Trade token-face
Trade token-back
Beautiful wooden cabinets were produced by the Brunswick-Balke-Colender Company. Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Salesman's sample bar display.
Employee picture, December 11, 1922. Photo courtesy: Marleen Tulas. Photo editing: John Pregler



1. "Way Back When," Telegraph Herald, Undated article. Courtesy: Diane Harris