Evolution

Black Boar HIstory

Many people have inquired as to the overall number of cues made since Black Boar’s conception. While the exact numbers will never be known, enough data has been chronicled to reveal some very distinct cue eras and a guess-timation of the quantities.

 

The very first set of 10 cues made in 1988 with the Black Boar name and logo were a very much a team endeavor. These cues featured Szamboti style with Black Boar twist. Tony, Sr. acted as ringleader. Solid hitting cues, Tim Scruggs and Bill McDaniels were responsible for the blanks. The simple classic looking cues with ivory inlays were designed by Tony, Sr. and Vince Sangemeister. Tony, Jr. was responsible for the technology. He had a brilliant mind for computers and manifested any program his father wished. Vince connected it all to the pool room. He had a strong game. He knew the scene and the players.

 

Shortly after the first trade show the need for a factory equipped to build cues from end to end became necessary. By 1990, with the factory operational, Black Boar Industries consisted of Tony, Sr., his brothers, Frank and Raymond, his son, Tony, Jr., and family friends, Vince Sangemeister and Tommy Peterson.

 

Each individual played an important role in the launch of Black Boar. Frank and Raymond watched over the finances. Vince, the only pool guru of the bunch was instrumental in keeping Black Boar connected to their market. Tony, Sr. managed research, development, and production management.

 

Tony Jr. is truly the unsung hero of Black Boar Industries. He was single handedly responsible for the software development, technology and the CNC lathe, that still set Black Boar apart. He empowered Tony, Sr. to change and alter cue engineering at whim. His accomplishments are unique in the cue industry and futuristic, even now, by any standards. Even today he oversees all software development. Black Boar cues, now and then could not have been done without his contribution. As Tony, Sr. recalls, "It was magical, really. I'd have some inspiration and he'd figure out a way to make it happen. Truly a golden moment of blended skills between father and son. I've never been more proud."

 

The 4 point cues sold largely through an East Coast dealer base until roughly 1992. Some cues from this era feature engraving, and a ‘BB custom’ logo vs. the original ‘BB Boars Head logo.’ The ‘BB custom’ logo was the predecessor of the silver ‘BB’ used today. From 1988- 1992/3 approximately 400- 4 point cues were sold.

 

By the fall of 1993, with the technological groundwork in place, Tony Sr. encouraged Tony, Jr. to move on. Tony, Sr. says, “He was (IS) way too talented to waste his time making cues.” Frank had moved on, bored and unimpressed with the industry, leaving Raymond to watch the books and lend a helping hand. Raymond counted the beans and when there were not enough he added more out of pocket. Vince and Tony continued production responsibilities, but without the inlay work of Tony Jr. the cues took on a new focus. In the first phase, 6 point cues turned out to be high performance playing cues with hardwood veneers and little or no inlays.

Later, around the spring of 1994, Tony, Sr. became solely responsible for production, marking the second phase. The new 6 point cues refined their definitive playability and became the staging ground for rapid advancement in overall theory in artistry and engineering. These cues featured an introduction to segmented ring designs and a ‘BB’ logo. Some of the inlay work showcased flower designs and mirror images. Several of the changes made at that time were the foundation from which today’s cues evolved. It is estimated (though not conclusive) that from fall of 1993 to spring of 2002, less than 100- 6 point Black Boar cues were built. Each is at least slightly different from the next, some drastically different from others, and individually, they are remarkably rare.

 

Early in 2002, art came to the forefront and Tony began making 8 point cues. Lucky pushed the envelope of artistry and design. Based on the Japanese market’s high appreciation of cues as art, Lucky offered Tony the freedom to create whatever he wanted at a predetermined price. With the time, space and freedom the artist in Tony was revealed, evident in his ornate designs of the time.

 

Sometime later, Craig, a regular presence at the shop, fell in love with the physics and demanded excellence in performance. Craig desired gorgeous cues that played fiercely. His insistences lead to the manifestation of physics theory that would have continued to lay dormant.

 

Each in their own way Craig and Lucky were the catalyst for artistic and engineering depth found in the cues made at Black Boar today. Through 2007 there were roughly 45- 8 point Black Boars. All but 3, or so, were sold to either Lucky or Craig. Each one features a unique design, elaborate inlay work, a pronged butt cap and still the special silver ‘BB’ logo.

Between 2005-2007 Carrie Ann catalogued every photo and piece of paper in the shop and compiled the data found in these pages. She and Tony drafted and redrafted a large amount of the information found here and the content found on the original site, launched in January of 2007. Given a tenured title by Tony, The Black Boar Historian, she remains responsible for all things document and internet facing at Black Boar, including this website, letters of authenticity, social media and all the inboxes. 

In roughly 2007, Tony introduced the African Blackwood Players' cues. Released first as a "Spider Collection" of 6 cues with spiders all in different places, these cues evolved into the perfect palette for theme cues. Still one of Black Boar's most popular, best playing cues, also made in Cocobolo. 

In 2009 Tony's grandson, Donnie came to join the team, proven by an aptitude test to have a high degree of skill, as if it were meant to be, in "3-D design and implementation." And so began a stage of elevated art. Between them, Tony and Donnie designed and implemented some of Black Boar's most widely admired, highly ornate artistic masterpieces. From 2009-2020 approx. 50 Players (far less in Cocobolo) and 80- 8 Points were made, a mix of heavily inlayed collector cues and more simply elegant cues, pronged butt caps and inlayed 'BB' logos. 

All the while, Tony who prides himself on the cue's engineering first, was working on shafts. The first Black Boar high performance, zero deflection shaft was introduced in approximately 2008. It was tested and adopted as his playing standard and the standard for new cues by the official Black Boar new cue tester, Kevin West. Sometime later it was determined the new zero deflection shafts also enhanced play on the 6 point cue, proving again the 6 point cues have far exceeded their original expectations and are worth their highly sought after reputation. 

Almost all Black Boars cue are unique from one another. In times of transition, trial and error or whim Tony has been known to make one of a kind-one of a kinds, for example, there is only a few parabolic, only a few mace cues, a single wrapless cue, there are a handful of signed joints, etc. The dates on such cues can be gleaned from the other features, such as points, veneers and/or logos, but always approximate as there was overlap of some logo designs and other elements. Find more information about logo transitions here.

In most recent years Tony has been enamored with mini-series and themes. Van Halen to roosters to elephants to signature cues, no matter your passion, Tony will find a way to make it beautiful. You can find more information on what the shop is making now here. 

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