A Brief History of the Palmer Custom Cue Company
Part 1: Trouble in Paradise
Eugene Balner was a wood turner from Hungary who immigrated
to the U.S. with his wife and 2 children on January 1, 1957. By 1960,
he had opened a shop in Newark, NJ, specializing in the manufacture
of high end lamp parts made from rosewood, mahogany and other exotic
woods. During 1962, Mel Berner, who owned a billiard supply house in
Newark named Alter Bros. & Berner, came to Eugene’s shop to see if he
could make two piece cues for him. Eugene made some rather primitive
cues for Mel, but soon managed to get the quality to an acceptable level
and the cues, which were mostly Merry Widows, sold well at Alter Bros.
& Berner. Eugene added the new product to the other wooden items that
Eugene was introduced to Frank Paradise some time during 1963. Later that year, he and Frank became partners and started manufacturing cues out of a much smaller shop in Little Falls, NJ. Eugene’s son, Peter Balner, joined them. Frank Paradise was the creative design inspiration and knew all the players in the world of pool. Eugene Balner was the wood turner/machinist who could produce the cues. Frank was not very organized, but Peter Balner, though just a teenager, had a keen mind for the business end of things.
This partnership was brief, lasting only about a year. One day after a tournament, Frank Paradise returned with a batch of orders written on napkins, matchbook covers and scraps. Eugene and Peter went to work and banged out the cues in record time. When they were done, Frank had misplaced the orders. Upset about the lack of organization, young Peter convinced his dad to go out on their own. They did so in 1964 and they set up shop right across the street from Paradise Custom Cues, which had since relocated to Elizabeth, NJ.
The Palmer Custom Cue Company was born.