A miniature advertising billiard table by EJ Riley.
This unique piece of billiard or snooker history from the early twentieth century would have been used as advertising for Riley’s billiard tables in their shop window and is likely to have been situated in their Aldergate Street, London premises. Constructed in exactly the same way as a normal table with wooden carcase and with slate and baize top, the table has the addition of a framed advert affixed to the back of the table by means of two metal struts.
The advert that you can see within the frame is a facsimile copy of the original however the original remains with the piece and is enclosed in acid free paper within back of the frame. We took the decision to reproduce the advert owing to the condition of the original but it could be swapped and re-instated depending on preference. (image of the original included).
The firm of EJ Riley was formed in 1878 by Riley himself and a Mr CG Kenyon after a couple of failed attempts by Riley to start a sporting goods business. It was with Kenyon’s financial support and business acumen that the company finally took off and it became a limited company in the 1890’s.
In 1902, the firm opened premises at 147 Aldergate Street in London in an attempt to break the monopoly created by other leading table manufacturers and was soon endorsed by leading players of the period who showed a preference for Riley’s tables. This additional publicity and the revenue it generated allowed Riley’s to move into the billiard hall business and the first was opened in Ardwick Hall, Manchester in 1908.
By 1920, the billiard table business was so successful that Riley focussed its attention and dropped most of its other sporting lines, however, both world wars and the associated shortages had put pressure on the business and following the Second World War it then focussed its resources in providing only table repairs rather than the manufacture of new tables. In 1967 Riley’s bought the billiard repair business of Burroughes & Watts and a new company, Riley Burwat Limited was created.
Riley’s has gone through many different incarnations since the 1960’s and Riley’s sports bars continue to exist today although they bear little resemblance to the original business.
A unique piece of billiards sporting history from a top manufacturer of the period.