Although born in Hull in 1874,
by the time he was nineteen, Harry Stevenson had also lived in Brighton, London
and South Africa. In 1893 he returned to the English capital and within the
next seven years he established himself as one of the best players in the
His first try at the
Professional Championship ended in defeat at the hands of his intense rival,
Charles Dawson. However, in January 1901 he reversed this result, and it was
from this date that the first "champion" cues began to appear.
After temporarily losing the
title again to Charles Dawson, Stevenson was again declared champion in
November 1901 (without contest), his reign lasting until 1903. He then again
held the title between 1909 and 1912.
Stevenson cues are known to have
been produced by at least three manufacturers, these being Burroughes & Watts (two versions); Cox &
Yemen (two versions) and Peradon & Co (one
The Burroughes & Watts cues
have a black ebony butt with a mahogany front splice that runs about half way
up the butt. These cues were produced as either square or round badged
The square badged "Stevenson
Champion Cues are valued at £150-£200. The round badge would be
inscribed "Burroughes & Watts" around the top circumference "H W Stevenson"
across the centre, and "Trade mark" under the name. These are more valuable and
can be expected to fetch between £200-£260. Some of these round
badged cues would also have a burr splice; however, this would not affect the
values given. There is also a machine spliced Burroughes & Watts cue, which
is worth around £100.
The square badged version, is
also known to have been made as a two piece cue, this would have a second round
badge, set above the other, carrying the inscription "patent secret jointed
cue". Particularly rare, these cues could be expected to fetch between
Some of these cues were
presented as prizes and would have a silver plate attached to the butt which
detailed the competition, the winner and sometimes the date. The addition of a
presentation plate usually adds approximately £20 to the value of any
Some Burroughes & Watts
Stevenson Champion cues have stripy ebony in their butts but are otherwise
identical to the black butted variety.
Cox & Yemen
Cox & Yemen cues would have
the same butt as those produced by Burroughes & Watts. The main difference
between them being the positioning of the badge. The Cox & Yemen badge was
set to run with the taper of the flat, while the Burroughes & Watts badge
was inset, laying parallel to the axis of the cue. It was also rounder at the
back that the Cox & Yemen badge.
Their first model produced by
Cox & Yemen had the inscription "Stevenson Champion Cue" with the date of
1903. This is valued at £200-£300.
They then made the 788 record
break cue, which recognised a feat accomplished by Stevenson in a match against
Charles Dawson held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in April 1904. The break took
Stevenson just 47 minutes to make and was a record under the existing rules.
This cue is valued at £200-£260.
Stevenson had a break of 802 in
February 1905, again against Dawson, in what was considered by some to be an
"unofficial" Championship. Stevenson's break helped him to win the match and it
is thought that Cox & Yemen may have made a cue in commemoration of the
event, but no examples are known to exist.
Peradon & Co
Using Bonzoline balls, Stevenson
surpassed all his previous records with a break of 1,016 against William Cook
in October 1912. It required some initiative to claim this as a "world record"
as George Gray was at that time racking up thousand breaks almost every week
with his red-ball play. It was nevertheless a monumental achievement and was
described at the time as "a world's record under present conditions, the
specialised Gray-stroke alone excepted.
Peradon produced a "Champion"
cue with the same butt as the other manufacturers, recording Stevenson's
massive break. The writing on the badge of the cue was "Stevenson Champion Cue,
Record Break" and would be read holding the cue vertically. As Peradon would
supply these cues to other companies for retail, examples will sometimes be
stamped "Kent & Co." or "Kent & Cline". These cues are valued at
Andy Hunter & David Smith