Left-click on either label to the left, for a representation of labels found on Hoppe 1-piece "Titlist" (top graphic) or 2-piece "Professional" (bottom graphic) cues. Both cues debuted in the 1941 Brunswick Billiard catalog, replacing the "Carom King". These were evolutons of the classic 4-veneer full-splice cue that Brunswick Balke-Collender had been building since at least the 1920's. From that point on the labels went through several changes, represented in the graphics. I will be posting several new label examples soon, and updating date ranges based on new information.
Please check out the following link which explains the history of the "Titlist" blank - Chris has a wealth of knowledge in this area and will be a major contributor to this site:
There are three main things to look for to identify the age of your Hoppe cue: 1) the forearm signature, 2) the label signature, 3) the 'Brunswick' logo. There are other cue characteristics that can help identify the cue, such as pin length, presence of a Hoppe ring, ferrule characteristics, stamped serial numbers, etc., but these are the main three. You can look at the label examples to see the evolution, but just so you know what we are talking about...
Forearm Signature - The forearm signature was changed only once. All examples found so far are associated with the first label (1941-45), but the second (and last) signature was seen recently on a cue with the first label, so the stamped signature must have been changed prior to the label change in 1945.
Label Signature - The first cues had a 'canned' signature. There were three additional signature changes on the label itself, but dating these has been inconclusive.
Brunswick Logo - This is the primary way of dating the cue, since in general the word 'Brunswick' appeared as the standard logo Brunswick used in their advertising, which can be dated using magazine ads and catalogs. Unfortunately, Brunswick sometimes used very old cue images in their catalogs, so the images themselves cannot be relied on. In addition, Brunswick sometimes apparently used old stock labels on newer cues, probably until supplies were exhausted.
The 'curly B' logo was used through 1945, then it was changed to 'closed B' design which was used through the 1950's. In the early 1960's a change was made to more of a 'block B', and the blue label was abandoned in favor of the green and white one sometime in the mid to late 1960's. The next change was to a rectangular black label, and then in the early 1970's the label was abandoned altogether.
Anomaly: The blue label shown to the left is sort of an anomaly in that the Brunswick logo has not been found in any advertising examples. In addition, the 'Willie Hoppe' label signature has the loops in the base of the 'p's and thin version of the words 'Professional Cue' that are present in it's predecessor label, but the more open 'W' and the words 'The Brunswick Balke' coming up to nearly touch the white dots, as shown in it's successor. In addition, the letter "B" in the Brunswick logo shows characteristics of both its predecessor and successor logos. All examples showing this label have superior quality of workmanship. Does this sound anal or what?