B.A. Stevens: Billiard and bar goods (Bueschel's saloon series)

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9780866670494: B.A. Stevens: Billiard and bar goods (Bueschel's saloon series)

Unique among the many saloon equipment houses established late in the nineteenth century that earned national reputations serving the rapidly growing saloon trade, The B.A. Stevens Company of Toledo, Ohio, had a proprietary line of manufactured goods that were useful in a manner of diverse business fields. The firm s first order of business was the design and manufacture of large food and drink coolers and butcher s supplies. Increasingly, these products found acceptance in the saloon field, with The B.A. Stevens Company both a manufacturer and a distributor by adding other saloon equipment items to their proprietary offerings, rapidly becoming recognized as a full-service single-source purveyor to the saloon trade. Author Richard M. (Dick) Bueschel has, as he puts it, "spent a lot of time in pre-Prohibition saloons."; Naturally, this includes hands-on time in actual saloon locations across the country ("It's dirty work, but someone s got to do it."), but more to the point, it describes the thousands of hours of research and artifact finding that Dick has lavished on the unique and sorely underreported phenomenon of the short-lived American saloon, its ambience, equipment and sources of supply. Created only a dozen or so years before the war between the states (the American Civil War) by gold seekers in the West and a growing working class in the East, the American saloon became a haven for the laboring classes, an entertainment center for the lower echelons of the rapidly growing more monied middle classes and the entrepreneur s opportunity. Once the second largest field of individual commercial endeavor in the United States (only ma and pa grocery stores came first!) the saloon was eliminated as a business by law with the coming of Prohibition in January 1920.

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About the Author:

Dick Bueschel has been a collector of saloon facts and fiction since the early 1960s, finding and preserving these long-forgotten documents and images. He has also tracked down the record of this most American of business ventures in libraries, museums, local and state historical societies, business records, private collections and countless other resources. Although much of the record has been scant, amount to a virtual blackout of information in the holdings of the more conventional repositories of history - presumably a backlash against the unsavory reputations of many of these establishments Dick has been able to amass an amazingly complete story from contemporary records, artifacts and first-person interviews with old saloon keepers of the past and surviving family members. He and his wife Helen, have also visited many surviving saloon locations - they still remain, although they are rapidly disappearing - and harks back to his own youthful experiences as a ball boy and pinsetter in an ancient bowling alley that had once had an attached saloon. This record comes alive in "Bueschel 's Saloon Series. " A trained historian and professional writer, Bueschel has a BA degree in American history from Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois - the oldest college in the state - and sees himself as an American industrial historian with special emphasis on the humanization of manufactured goods and its relationship to domestic popular culture. This bent has led to Dick s many other popular books on the subjects of slot machines, pinball games, arcade machines, jukeboxes and other forms of mechanical entertainment, cultural totems and social expression.

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Richard M Bueschel
Published by Hoflin Pub (1989)
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