RH Lane Decorative Arts  

The Pearl

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This web site has been established primarily to offer to the largest possible audience the chance to purchase one of the most elaborately decorated pool tables ever made.  The virtually unabated labor of ten months, this table combines flawless wood work with a profusion of inlay in woods and various types of pearl and gold.  It carries on the great tradition of the Brunswick Company of the late 19th and early 20th century.  In that era, Brunswick had five enormous factories spotted about the USA turning out the most consistently beautiful pool and billiard tables ever made.  There were other excellent builders but for sheer volume and quality of workmanship it is generally agreed that Brunswick set the standard.  The number of tables they must have made are beyond calculation; all made to the highest standards with the finest materials and design.  Their cabinet makers and woodworkers were regarded among the finest in America.

Brunswick produced a wide range of standard models but they also had custom shops to make those one-of-a-kind tables for the plutocrats of the gilded age.  And those were truly spectacular.  One has only to consult that excellent book "Pool and Billiard Collectibles" by the Stellinga's to see some of those bijous.

Every city had the ubiquitous pool hall.  Every hotel in every city had a pool room.  Every club had a pool or billiard table.  Practically every affluent American house had a pool table.  Some of the pool halls in the bigger cities were enormous.  The Plankinton Arcade, in Milwaukee, for example, had sixty tables of one of Brunswick's top models.  One can only imagine what major cities like New York must have offered for the pool enthusiasts.  Because going to the pool hall, whether playing pool or just to see friends, was the primary diversion for the great majority of men until the advent of the mass production automobile and all the various entertainments that began to arrive in the 1920's.  The incredible growth of the sports industry, the increasing popularity of the movies and finally the arrival of that baleful Hydra, the television, gave men--and now women--other venues of amusement and diversion.  Brunswick shuttered their domestic table factories and moved manufacturing to Brazil.  The golden age of the pool and billiard manufacturers was coming to an end.

Enough of history.  Let us now consider what one will see in the following pictures as you page through this site.  The structural wood of this table is one and one half inch white oak.  With the exception of the legs which are solid satinwood the rest of the table is veneered with one-eighth inch book matched Ceylon satinwood.  Satinwood is quite possibly the most beautiful and figured furniture hardwood in the world.  It was first used on English furniture in the 1760's and from then until the 1820's it was the wood of choice for the finest pieces of Sheraton and Regency furniture.  It is now extremely rare--and rarely used.  It is of a lustrous golden yellow color, has an exceptional rippled grain called bee's wing, takes a beautiful polish and can be stained practically any color.  With a gloss varnish finish it has a brilliancy and sheen that no other wood can match.

The legs, the four sides, the tops of the rails and their skirts are all stained a light golden brown.  All the cross bindings on the edges are of unstained quarter-sawn ribbon-striped satinwood.  All sides are veneered with quarter-sawn book-matched bee's wing satinwood veneers, so that every side is an exact mirror image of its opposite on the other.  The two small ends and the centers of the long sides have a four-way book-matched pattern while the outsides of the long sides have a two-way match and perfectly reflect the opposite side.  This matching gives not only a totally unified figure and harmony of background but also a perfect surface for inlaying.  This table is inlaid with the following materials:

  • Mother-of-pearl
  • Paua abalone
  • Red abalone
  • Green abalone
  • Clear red abalone
  • Gold pearl
  • Black pearl
  • Gold
  • Ivory
  • Rosewood
  • Ebony

The inlay consists of these figures:

  • Eight hummingbirds
  • Thiry-six flowers
  • Eight urns
  • Four shields
  • Sixteen miniature pool tables
  • Eight miniature pool cues

The hummers consist of eight different pieces of pearl.  The wings and tails are of golden pearl all engraved to show individual feathers:  the body is of puau abalone, the chest of clear red abalone, the head of green abalone with a gold eye, the throat of lustrous black pearl, and the beak of sallow white mother-of-pearl.

The bases of the urns are of clear red abalone topped with engraved mother-of-pearl capped with gold pearl.  The main body is of puau abalone with a mother-of-pearl throat engraved to show depth.  All flowers are of mother-of-pearl engraved to show depth.  The inlaid pool cues are perfect scale models of ivory sticks.  The ivory is in turn inlaid with gold pearl and descending gold dots.  Ebony is used to simulate the wraps.  The shafts are of traditional maple.  The four oblique corners have shields of red abalone with a three-sixteenth inch gold dot.  Their corners have matched inlays of bee's wing satin wood.  The miniature pool tables on all the corners of the apron are of green-stained satinwood with rails of mother-of-pearl with sight lines of gold dots.  The center tables on all the aprons are of mother-of-pearl with rosewood rails and sight lines of gold dots.  The centers of all aprons also have an elongated piece of pierced and engraved mother-of-pearl with radiating descending gold dots.

The legs are made of solid satinwood glued up in a twelve piece pie shape to show all quarter-sawn ribbon-striped figure.  The bottoms and tops of the legs are capped with rosewood.  The bottoms of the legs are inlaid with one-eighth inch puau abalone strips.  All of the side panels are bordered by three-sixteenth inch red abalone.  The corner urns are bordered by a Greek key pattern of one-sixteenth inch puau abalone.  All aprons and sides have an outside border of quarter-sawn ribbon-striped cross-banding.

The top rails are of book-matched stained satinwood inlaid with sight marks of pierced mother-of-pearl.  The center sight marks on the long sides are of pierced and engraved clear red abalone.  The corners of the rails are of match-booked rosewood inlaid with engraved mother-of-pearl and puau abalone.  The centers of the long sides are also of matched rosewood with engraved mother-of-pearl.

The edges of the top rails are cross-banded with ribbon-striped unstained satinwood bordered with rosewood strips.  All the extremities have quarter sawn rosewood cross-banding inlaid with clear red abalone capped with descending mother-of-pearl dots.

The Best for Last

Each long panel has four green-stained panels bordered with one-sixteenth inch puau abalone strips.  However, on one side the two outside inlays are actually the fronts of two perfectly concealed drawers each of which can hold two cues.  The drawers operate with a secret loaded catch located under the apron.  (The fit is so exacting that they would serve to hide your fine jewelery!)  Two were made by the world's finest professional cue maker, Keith Josey, and two by the builder of the table: R.H. Lane.  There are features yet to be described but these are easily observable in the photos.

The table is named The Pearl.  The name can be seen engraved in the two pieces of shield-shaped mother-of-pearl inlaid in the middle of the ends of the table.

The connoisseur who decides to purchase this table will possess one of the finest tables ever made.  It will never be replicated.

Price $175,000 FOB Savannah, GA

Please note:  If someone has some other motif they would like produced in a table of this quality, the builder might be induced to make another if the right amount of money were to change hands.

Also note.  If any other builder wants to try their hand at making a table of satinwood there is still plenty on hand.

Six of the most decorated cues ever made are also available.  The cues are made of satinwood and will be sold in pairs with in their custom satinwood cases.

The light brown case has two highly-inlaid cues with three unified designs utilizing abalone and mother-of-pearl inlays.  There are 290 different pieces of pearl and abalone hand inlaid in figured satinwood on the first cue, and 390 on the second.  All the rings that separate the connections are of gold.  The top ends are of detachable ivory.

The second set is is inlaid with gold mother-of-pearl and golden abalone.  It has 345 different inlays.  The other is inlaid with gold, mother-of-pearl, puau abalone and silver.  It has in the center section six miniature pool tables of mother-of-pearl complete with sight marks, ball rack and cue all in gold.  It contains 498 different hand inlaid pieces.  All tops are of detachable ivory.

The last set consists of two encased solid ivory cues inlaid with gold pearl and clear red abalone.  One has 84 different hand inlays.  The other has 129 different hand inlaid pieces.  All rings around the connectors are of gold and silver for both cues.

Prices on request.

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