Today, Claude Falkiner has
become one of the lesser-remembered English professionals although his skill
with the nursery cannon was at one time much admired in the English game.
In 1924 he played a series of
matches against a young Walter Lindrum in Australia during which they
established a lasting friendship. Lindrum has placed it on record that it was
through watching Falkiner playing cannons that he received the inspiration to
change his method of relying principally on the red ball game. The result is
part of billiards history.
Claude Falkiner was born in
South Kirby in 1885 and was capable of playing at an incredible pace, once
having a break of 367 unfinished timed at 1 minute 58 seconds! His biggest
break of 1,130 was made against Walter Lindrum in September 1930. Falkiner
retained an involvement with the game until his death in 1979, when at the age
of 95 he was still actively running a Billiard Hall in Bournemouth.
The Falkiner cue can be either
machine of hand-spliced. Both carry the same badge which would have been made
from bone on the early versions and inscribed "Facsimile of the cue used by
Claude Falkiner" also carrying his signature. Those that we have seen have an
ash shaft with a plain ebony butt.
A later edition was produced
which was machine spliced having a rosewood butt and a front-splice veneer with
a maple front-splice on top of that.
Hand-spliced examples are valued
at around £140-£160 and machine spliced cues would be worth around
£80. These are nice cues and very collectable.
Yet another Claude Falkiner cue
exists, which has a large screwed in plate on the butt and also has four
splices of Indian rosewood tipped with stained maple veneers, this cue appears
to be a commemorative cue that came along after Claude Falkiner retired. This
cue, in good condition might fetch as much as £150.
Andy Hunter & David Smith