A.E. Schmidt Billiards creates family heirlooms
A pool table is a fun home accessory that brings the family together in one room and there's a place in St. Louis that's been building them since Zachary Taylor was president.
Heidi Glaus, KSDK 12:20 PM. CST November 23, 2016
In a dusty factory just off of 55 near Germania, history continues to be carved out.
"All of our A.E. Schmidt tables are made in St. Louis and have been for 166 years," explains Stephanie Schmidt.
A.E. Schmidt Billiards Company basically began in 1850 when Ernst Schmidt began turning out billiard balls. About 40 years later his son Oscar joined the company.
"He had apprenticed in Kansas City at a furniture company. He had learned to make pool tables at that point and came back to St. Louis joined the company and then started manufacturing and servicing pool tables."
The Schmidt family, Stephanie is 6th generation, has been carefully crafting them pretty much the same way ever since. Only now they've racked up 45 different styles.
"So we break them into eight collections. We have a Classic, Prestige, Country, Transition, Diners."
Beautiful tables that these days can double as a dining room table.
"Any of our tables we can put a dining top on." she points out.
Regardless of the style each one requires roughly 22 man hours. Stephanie's dad and brother do most of the cutting.
"Dan our foreman he only does cushions. They have to be set at the perfect angle otherwise your ball is going to be going all different places."
They are sanded several times and finally hand stained and shipped all over the country. It's a company this family takes great pride in. A product they feel an enormous pressure to get perfect.
"We definitely do. You know you don't want to be the generation that screws it up. We don't even think of it as our business, it's something someone else created we're kind of like caretakers."