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