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Bar Feature Notes

Page history last edited by peterga 1 month ago

Latrine Bars 


  • "In one intance, saloon tokens led to a major innovation, which was obviously before its time -- the latrine bar. According to historian Brian Rea, a barkeeper in San Francisco was livid ab out losing a constant trickle of patrons to a competitor, lured away from his bar by boys giving out tavern tokens by the outhouse. The owner devised a trough that ran the length of the bar so that drinks need never leave the saloon for a pee." -- American Walks Into a Bar


  • "In the late 1870’s, a Barkeeper in Colorado Springs, determined that he was losing business every time a customer left the bar to use the “Outhouse/Latrine”, located behind his saloon. Most of these facilities were located about 25 to 50 feet behind the building, and quite often there would be young boys milling around those latrines, giving away tokens for a drink at a neighboring saloon, for which they would receive a commission. Our Barkeeper then decided he was not going to lose any more paying/peeing customers, by making it convenient to hold your drink, and relieve yourself without leaving the bar. Thus the “Latrine Bar” evolved. Our owner had a pitched tile floor installed, with a trough, so that the customers could hold onto their drink and their irrigation hose, while not having to brave the elements outside. Why they left the foot rail confuses me, as there had to be a spatter effect when they used the facility. The method of cleaning this trough, or canal, must have been interesting, no less the method of eliminating the odors that were arising, though by the faces in the photo, no one was seemingly affected. Scary. I would imagine the front of the bar had some major damage, as well as a limited life, and the bartender uniforms, walls, floors, furnishings must of all had a distinct, unique aroma. It would seem that this saloon did not become a major chain. How about a name for this concept?"  thebarkeeper.com Aug 2009



Brunswick-Balke-Collender Bars


Brunswick-Balke-Collender in Chicago added bar fixtures and furniture to its billiard table line in 1878 and sold its back bars up to 1912, the advent of prohibition, Brunswick spokesperson Daniel Kubera says.  (truewest)


"Many, if not most, of these bars were made in a factory in Dubuque, Iowa. Their roots date to 1845, when a Swiss immigrant named John Moses Brunswick, then a carriage-maker, started producing billiard tables in Cincinnati in 1845.... In 1873, Brunswick merged with Julius Balke’s Great Western Billiard Manufacturing, and then these two merged again in 1879 with another company to form Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co., the largest billiards company in the nation. (It outsold all other competitors combined.) The firm’s sales staff, of course, visited a lot of bars and what they found were a surfeit of sadly furnished and threadbare establishments. Brunswick began offering to help owners improve their watering holes—what later designers would call “place-making.” The company would send in their craftsmen and a load of hardwood lumber to create interior grandeur. And these makeovers took off—it was, after all, the Victorian era. Bars everywhere clamored for their services, so much so that they couldn’t keep up with the demand. So they opened up a factory to mass manufacture their bars in Dubuque. The pre-fab bars would then be disassembled, shipped by train, and reassembled in the field. (The firm would eventually have seven factories around the country making billiard tables and bowling alley supplies, but Dubuque remained the central source for bars.) - Dailybeast


Their vast catalogs served up a range of bars of every size and for every budget. (Their ads claimed that bars started at $100, but the larger, more ornate versions could cost in excess of $20,000, or about a half-million dollars today.) - Ibid




  • "During the ’60s, Chambliss reported, there were 3,500 pinball machines licensed in Washington, making more than $7 million a year — in 1965 dollars. Adjusted for inflation (per the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics), that’s $56,876,994 per year, or $16,251 per machine." -- Seattle Times  
  • '“Drowning is a favorite method of eliminating troublemakers,” Chambliss wrote in a 1971 article for the Wisconsin Law Review, alleging there had been at least 13 suspicious deaths affiliated with Seattle’s pinball and the vice scene between 1955 and 1969' -- Ibid
  • "By 1960, a string of pinball-related bombings — including car bombs — startled the city so much, Mayor Gordon S. Clinton called for a total ban on the game. The Seattle City Council balked. People grumbled they were on the take, too. Eleven years and a few dead bodies later, a grand jury indicted the city council president, the police chief, the former King County sheriff, and cops up and down the chain of command on charges related to bribery, extortion, blackmail, sex work — and pinball."  -- Ibid
  • "Nobody knows exactly when the first pinball machine arrived in Seattle — but by the mid 1930s, the game was already making trouble. The first use of the word “pinball” in Seattle comes from a 1935 Daily Times article reporting a burglary at Tom’s Hamburger Shop in Interbay. The crooks made off with “$6 in nickels, and $10 worth of cigarettes, three quarts of wine and six quarts of beer.” The first instance of “pinball” in Seattle Municipal Archives pops up in a 1937 letter from a pinball operator protesting an annual license hike from $15 to $120. (He must’ve either misunderstood or gotten his way — a 1939 ordinance lists the fee as $15. Today, they’re $50 to $200 per game, depending on how much each costs to play.)" -- Ibid
  • "Then, at 12:39 a.m. on Oct. 10, 1957, Seattle got its first pinball bomb. Somebody threw dynamite into Century Distributors, a coin-machine business on Queen Anne. The explosion blew a hole in a wall, revealing 24 illegal slot machines, which were immediately confiscated. Detective Chief Frank Ramos complained that the owner, Orville Cohen, was “reticent concerning certain matters” that might help solve the crime. Cohen quickly quit the coin-machine business to run a construction company. The bombings continued: an explosion at a card, dice and gambling-chip company; a car bomb at the home of Fred Galeno, secretary-treasurer of the Amusement Association of Seattle (and also in the horse-racing business); a similar car bomb for mayoral candidate Gordon Newell; and two sticks of dynamite tossed through the window at an interstate coin-machine distributor’s office, blowing a hole in the concrete floor." -- Ibid


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