The young apprentices would the move onto being given small jobs at the bench such as sawing and planing timber and would have to do this numerous times. Each time he would have to show his instructor who would only move him onto more advanced work once he was satisfied that the apprentice understood and could carry out the task set to him.
During the early nineteenth century, gas engines were used to drive what few machines were in use at the time. The final work was always carried out by hand, the skilled craftsman would work under some difficulties. The workshops would be dimly lit with gas jets used for illumination. The hours men worked in these workshops were very long, the heating was far from good. However, under these conditions very fine work was carried out. Riley snooker tables throughout the land still exist which displays this fine workmanship.
In fact when out carrying out my pool table recovering duties and snooker table repairs I often come across some of these fine snooker tables in my travels.
The delivery of a snooker table was a major operation, not like today where snooker tables are loaded onto a van, driven across the country and installed in one day.
Back then slates and table parts would be put in separate crates delivered by horse and cart to the local railway yard. From there the table would be loaded and sent to the nearest freight yard to the customers address.
Many of the snooker table manufacturers had their own vans or horse and carts. These were kept in pristine condition and would compete in appearance with rival snooker table manufacturers.
To be cont…