An extremely rare example of a wonderful Magnus threequarter size (10ft x 5ft) antique billiard table by one of the oldest billiard table manufacturers in the world. Very few Magnus billiard tables are still existing due to the specialist handling required for their installation & removal but if handled with care & consideration and installed as semi-permanent specimen they are a truly wonderful billiard table & a lasting tribute to the men who toiled to produce them.
George Magnus was slate importer in London around c1820-1900 and perfected & patented a method of applying a 'scagliola' finish to slate to immitate marble. It was a very complicated and laborious process involving several ovens of gradually increasing temperature in order to bond & bake the finish onto the slate surface, without cracking the slate itself. There was also a similar range of ovens for decreasing the temperature, again to avoid cracking & damage. Slate being a very dense & heavy material, this process was very time consuming & expensive and required a great amount of heavy manual labour in a hot & dusty environment. George Magnus worked in conjunction with John Thurston to produce & supply the first ever billiard table with slate bed sections in place of wood or steel, and from this decided to produce some whole tables from slate. Slate had the perfect combination of strength, weight & stability for the surface of a billiard table, and it was easily worked & 'floated' to a fine & level finish so from that day onwards it has been standard fare for the playing surface on all billiard,snooker & pool tables of any decent quality. It was however soon realised that to make the whole table of slate was financially impractical compared to constructing the frameworks of timber or steel and so few slate Magnus tables have survived, but if handled carefully during construction they are a wonderful piece and as a consequence are extremely rare & collectible. Many Magnus tables were exported to India in the days of the British Empire as they were indestructible to attack by termites, where tables with timber legs would be eaten so that in some cases the tables collapsed.
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Price guide £40,000