Friday, August 2, 2019

What Does Independence Day, the First Moon Landing and Loria Have In Common?

"Washington Crossing the Delaware"
by George Caleb Bingham
             Last month, we marked two very significant events in the history of the United States of America.  One was our July 4th Independence Day celebration, which annually reminds us of the very first day in our nation's history.  This year we celebrate the 243rd anniversary of that all-important day.  The reverberations at the forming of this new nation were cataclysmic throughout the European world and beyond.

               The other significant event was the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by the Apollo 8 astronauts on July 20, 1969.  This milestone of truly epic proportions captivated the world at the time because it was, as Neil Armstrong so famously said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.".
The first lunar landing in human history,
by the U.S. astronauts of Apollo 8 (July 1969).

               Back on earth, we at Loria share at least one important quality with both of these world-changing events in human history.  We may not have effected any sea change in the political landscape of this planet.  We may not be a nationally recognized household name or be anything that even remotely resembles a global phenomenon.  But we do have one thing in common with our nation's founding and the first moon landing - the spirit of independence.  

               I refer to the fact that Loria has always been an independent company, family-owned and operated since our founding in 1912.  The company founder, Verniere Loria, was a southern Italian immigrant who came here with virtually nothing to seek a better life for himself and his family - something tens of millions of people have done before and since then.  This ties into one of the main reasons why this nation was founded as well - to create a society where individual aspirations and achievements can be the building blocks of a prosperous and free society.  It would not be used as a the tool of serfdom, ruled unilaterally by a monarchy of unchecked power, but as a place that the Declaration of Independence so poignantly identifies as a place of, ", liberty and the pursuit of happiness.".  We would no more return to foreign colonial rule, but become the exact antithesis of that - a constitutional republic.  
The founder of V. Loria & Sons, Verniere Loria,
second from right (circa 1920s).

               Over the course of the next two centuries following the American Revolution (and the politically seismic effects it had on the West), the U.S. would go through many horrific battles and threats to this grand experiment.  Nonetheless, it would survive even the greatest threat to its existence (The Civil War) and thrive, by continuing to attract people of all backgrounds in search of a better life and the freedom to work for it.  In the process, it would also attract the greatest talent the world had to offer, which would ultimately culminate in what only the astronomers of the ancient world could dream about - putting a human being on the surface of the moon.  This meant travelling upward and outward into space - approximately 250,000 miles from the surface of the Earth.  

               It takes a certain faith, wisdom, courage and consummate "can do" attitude, in conjunction with certain God-given abilities to break away from the greatest empire in the world (at the time) and form a new nation as it does to develop and deploy the right technology and personnel to send people to the moon.  It takes these attributes to embark on a mission to create a way to for a man to travel to and from outer space and land on the moon safely.  It also takes these attributes working together in harmony to leave the country of your birth and family upbringing, and go to a completely foreign land that holds the promise of fulfilling such a life and livelihood.  All three of the aforementioned achievements, though varying in scale, have much of the same principles in common, which is embodied in what we call the "spirit of independence".  

               From a socio-economic perspective, it was the independently owned & operated businesses that became the economic foundation of this nation at its founding, initially culminating in the Industrial Revolution of the mid & late 1800s, and evolving into the all encompassing technological world in which we live now.  Even though our company here in Yonkers carries products and services that are more of a traditional nature than all the tech that dominates society today, we at Loria (like all companies these days) have still benefited from the massive breakthroughs in the tech world, including the constant use of e-mail communications and the  creation of our custom-made, e-commerce website.

               Now even though we extol the virtues of American independence and the great nation we subsequently became by way of unfettered freedom (as we should), there is still a 'dependence' of sorts that is required for any of these achievements to get off the ground and continue - dependence on those who make it possible.  

               The American Revolutionary War for independence from Great Britain was still 'dependent' on the immeasurable courage and sacrifice of the lowly soldiers who were willing to risk their very lives to see this fight successfully fulfilled.  NASA's map to the moon was dependent on the gifts and talents of those who were willing to sacrifice most of their waking hours to put those gifts and talents to work in the the most concentrated and rigorous ways possible.  
V. Loria & Sons, on the corner of Bowery and
Kenmare Street, on the Lower East Side of
Manhattan (circa 1970s).
Loria Corporation, though infinitely smaller in scale to the Revolution and the moon landing, was still dependent on the courage and sacrifice of one Italian immigrant willing to take the risk of starting a new business in a foreign land.  Even so, suffice it to say that none of this would continue for another moment for us here at Loria if we did not acknowledge the fact that we are always dependent upon our customers.  Ultimately, the spirit of independence has to be tempered with genuine gratitude in order to truly appreciate the blessing that independence brings.
~ Roger V. Loria, Jr.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Best Selection in 'Soccer for the Hands' - Better Known as "Foosball"!

               Did you ever wonder how a recreational game best described as "table soccer" got the name "foosball"?
Not only that, but how did it get here?

               Well, the answer to the first question is pretty easy.  The word "foosball" is a corrupted spelling (and pronunciation) of the German word for football, which is "fussball".  In the United States of course, we know this as "soccer".  However, the four European countries involved (more or less) with the advent of foosball don't even include Germany.  They're England, Spain, and France (by way of the Belgium).  

               This makes the answer to the second question a bit more nebulous and a lot more difficult to ascertain.   Although no one is really sure which individual (or group of individuals) actually invented the game of table soccer (a.k.a. foosball), there is evidence to indicate that the game was initially developed in Spain as early as the 1890s.  It would go through several developmental stages before becoming the table game that we know today.

               It was Harold Searles Thornton of England who initially saw the business potential for the new game when he was issued the first patent on the game in 1923.  But, in effect, he was only patenting an idea at the time because he was not personally responsible for making the concept into a physical product.  

               According to a prominent Belgian newspaper, French inventor (and highly successful automotive engineer) Lucien Rosengart is credited with creating and designing the first actual foosball table in the early 1930s.
Lucien Rosengart
  But since there is no other historical corroboration for that claim anywhere else but in that single news article in the early 1930s, it's not an adequate amount of information to make the claim unequivocal.  Therefore, the definitive answer to that question remains a mystery.  

               Nonetheless, it is appropriate that the person, who is unequivocally credited with creating the modern version of the game, as we know it today, was from Spain - the place where it all began decades earlier.  

               Alejandro Finesterre was born Alexandre Campos Ramírez in 1919 to the radio-telegraphist at the lighthouse in Finisterre, Spain.  He was injured when Francisco Franco's fascist forces bombed Madrid in November 1936.  He had the idea for a football game while in Barcelona recovering.  While convalescing in Montserrat, Catalonia, he realized that he and his fellow wounded Republicanos would never play football (soccer) on a field again, hence the idea for the table game.  He subsequently patented his invention in Barcelona in 1937.*  So, in effect, the game as we know it today was actually borne from humanitarian needs.  Finesterre's version of the game was known as "futbolito".
Alejandro Finesterre, with his version of "futbolito", 
the seminal version of modern "foosball".

               But whether you call it foosball, futbolito, table soccer or "soccer for the hands", we can all agree that it adds up to countless hours of competitive fun.  Moreover, you don't have to travel to England, France, Belgium or Spain to find a selection of foosball tables comparable to our selection here at Loria.  From traditional style models to the most modern designs, there is no compromise on the quality of our foosball tables.  Check out our website today for the full selection!

*Biographical information on Alejandro Finesterre courtesy of

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Custom Imaging on Dartboard Cabinets Now Available at Loria!

               As a purveyor of one of the best selections of darts, dartboards and darting accessories in the New York/tri-state area, it was only a matter of time before we would offer custom images on the doors of our dartboard cabinets.  For years, we at Loria have offered a variety of dartboard cabinets with various stock-printed images to the public.  This variety of stock printed cabinets are still offered.  But we are still limited by what our suppliers can provide.  
               So for those who have been looking to make it a bit more "personal", something had to be done.  This is because many people from our stupendously loyal customer-base have repeatedly inquired about getting their own image on the doors of their dartboard cabinet.  
               Well, it's finally a reality!  Loria now offers custom-shaped and printed decals for the doors of your Loria-purchased dartboard cabinet.  These decals are expertly designed, digitally printed and professionally mounted to personalize your game-room!
               Customized images on the dartboard cabinet doors are not a new concept.  Over the centuries, countless pubs and taverns across history (most notably in the UK) proudly displayed their logo or coat-of-arms to emblematically represent their respective establishment.  Now you can do the same for your "establishment"!
               Loria now offers this tried and true way of personalizing your game-room both online and in-store.  You simply provide us with the high-quality digital file required for best results - or we can assist you in the design process.  Either way, we guarantee the best workmanship around in making your dartboard cabinet more than just an attractive storage unit.  Make it the attention-grabbing billboard that it was meant to be for your game-room!

Monday, January 7, 2019

2-in-1 and 3-in-1 Game Tables: A "Win-Win...Win"!

               Here at Loria, we've had multi-purpose game tables for years.  Primarily, it's been 7' and 8' pool tables in which you can add a table-tennis conversion top.  Usually without fail, I advise customers in the market for this combination that such a "2-in-1" game table actually becomes a "3-in-1" activity table in this case if you toss a sizable table cloth over the conversion top (sans the net, of course).  That's six-pocket pool, table tennis and dining!

"The Washington" pool table with
matching dining top, in the
"Antique Walnut" finish
               If you have a more finished or 'formal' setting - or a nice meal followed by a relaxing game of pool rounds out your interests - we now have new line of traditional style pool tables that come with an optional (some inclusive), matching, furniture-finish dining top.  Ready-made and richly crafted, these dining tops (and the pool tables for which they're made) have a high-end look without the high end price!

"The Barnstable" pool table with 
matching dining top, in the 
weathered "Silver Mist" finish
"The Penelope" pool table with 
matching dining top, in the 
"Espresso" finish
               Pictured in this post are just some of the pool tables available with the optional wood dining-top.  Please visit our website today to see the complete line of these "2-in-1" masterpieces!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Old Look is the New Look!

"The Reno", shown above in Dark Chestnut finish, 
is one of many of the new 'weathered finish'
pool tables at Loria.
jeans, weathered shirts, weathered this and weathered that!  
Garments that look like they've been through the extremes of all four seasons and put in a lifetime of hard work have been a popular fashion choice for many years now - whether the wearers of the garments have been through such experiences or not.  
               This has also been a fashionable interior design choice over the years as weathered furniture has been around for quite a while as well.  New furniture, in which the finishes appear to be quite old and worn, have a certain richness to them that has been appealing for decades now.  Often you'd find such furnishings at beach houses, Caribbean style hotels or other vacation locales.  In an more esoteric sense, it may symbolically represent "experience" in life to the owner, and perhaps that's the subliminal appeal of the "weathered" look.  
"The Bedford", shown in the Silver Mist finish.
               Meek attempts at parlor psychology aside, there's no doubt that the old look of the weathered finish has a well-deserved foothold in the worlds of fashion and interior design.  Now that style has gone "inland" and has taken a turn for the "recreational" at Loria!  The newest additions to the Loria Gameroom collection of pool tables and pool table/dining top combinations feature some the most tasteful examples of the "weathered" finish.  The old look is the new look in this classic new addition to Loria Gameroom collection.

"The Barnstable", shown in the
Silver Mist finish, which is available with a
matching dining top (as shown below).

               Choose from ten new designs, in both contemporary and traditional styles, in our exclusive section of "weathered finish" pool tables on our website (  The construction is top-knotch, with all models equipped with one inch slate beds, and options on finish and cloth-color that are sure to fit the setting of your gameroom.
"The Trillium", shown in
the Charcoal finish.
             As always, our prices include playing equipment, efficient delivery and expert installation (within 35 miles of our showroom).  With over 100 years of experience in the pool table business, this "old look" is a welcome "new look" to our extensive line of pool tables for the home.  So if you are in the market for newest additions of the weathered look, look no further than Loria!


Friday, April 6, 2018

A Special Kind of "Company For All Seasons"

We can truly call our company "a company for all seasons".  To be precise, such a title can only apply to companies in places that actually have four seasons!  Now we're not among the many "companies for all seasons" that landscape in the summertime and plow snow in the wintertime.  Nor are we supplying swimming pools in the summertime and fireplaces in the wintertime.  But we are still in fact "a company for all seasons" - just not the usual type.
               As a U.S. business in northeast region of the country, in which there are sharp and extreme changes to each season, we certainly qualify for such a title.  For those not familiar with this area, it's a region in which the temperatures can be in the single digits in the wintertime and be pushing triple digits in the summertime!  Even the predictability of those extreme  weather patterns have become somewhat puzzling in recent years.  Heck, it was 37 degrees (F.) this morning with a light mix of rain and snow falling, which would be fine if today wasn't April 6th!
               So that said, this post may only be of great interest to New Yorkers, New Jerseyites and New Englanders, along with much of the Eastern Seaboard.  This may also appeal to Upper Midwesterners, Pacific Northwesterners and Rocky Mountain folk.  The post may be of great 'irrelevance' to most of California, the Southwest, the Deep South and  Hawaii - but I digress.  
               As those who may be familiar with our company (or who have read previous posts in this blog), we are basically 'two-companies-in-one'.  But it didn't happen as a matter of concern for having a 'summer-ready' business in the summer and a 'winter-ready' business in the winter.  In fact, winter and summer aren't even our strongest times of year- spring and autumn are (and that happened progressively in a very personal way).
               As shown on our history page, we were originally a purveyor of hand-crafted pool-tables on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City.  But the founder's son personally loved bowling so much (at one time belonging to five leagues on a weekly basis), that he extended that passion into the company's business.  The sport's popularity was escalating on an unprecedented scale at the time in the 1940s and 1950s.  So it turned out to be quite a wise move and the growing pool-table shop on the Bowery also became the first call shop for bowling balls and supplies as well.  At one time, we had lines out the door and around the corner for the most popular bowling ball brand of that era (Manhattan Rubber), which were expertly fitted and drilled by none other than the founder's son himself!
               Now this was all well and good.  But as we discovered, there is an ebb and flow in the popularity of recreational sports, sports leagues are ultimately seasonal, and businesses (meaning: the people in business) pay bills year round.  Therefore, we needed 'something else'.  Bowling leagues, at that time of great popularity, were predominantly "trophy leagues" - meaning that winning teams were awarded trophies at the end of each season.  The founder's grandson picked up on that as an opportunity when it was time to expand our business and expand our reach in the greater New York metropolitan area.  In fact, he picked up on it and took it a few steps further.  It was nice to see people who bowl being recognized for a job well done and be able to capitalize on that.  But aren't all competitive sports conducted and concluded this way?  Also, don't all people have a need to be recognized for a job well done?
               Those questions would be answered definitively when our Yonkers store opened in 1959.  Subsequently, Loria would become the most popular supplier of bowling trophies in the New York metropolitan area.  This eventually leads to building an in-house production shop for the manufacturing of every type of award product conceivable.
               Two moves and fifty-nine years later, Loria continues in Yonkers, New York, as an established and well-recognized, fourth-generation family business.  Even though the original NYC location was eventually closed in 1998, we have retained the trade of our company's founding (pool tables, pool-table supplies and service).  We also expanded into previously uncharted territory with the introduction of recreational darts in the 1990s, as well as expanding our all-purpose recognition business - a division that has become an integral part of our company.  Since its introduction in the late 1950s, our recognition division has grown from supplying trophies to bowling leagues to literally providing "awards for all occasions" as well as innovative, in-house engraving services.
               Even though the bowling division was subsequently discontinued after roughly fifty years, due to drops in the sports popularity over the years, it deserves a nod of gratitude as it was that division which subsequently opened the door to our recognition business - a part of our company that has expanded exponentially over the years and remains perpetually as the steady, predominant staple in our company.
               What's more, and perhaps the most important point of this article, is that even though we are indeed a "company for all seasons", we do not selectively do one thing in one season and something else in another season.  We are here year-round serving the needs of our customers in both our original pool-table/pool-table service division and our expansive awards/engraving division.  As I mentioned earlier, we are still in fact "a company for all seasons" - just not the usual type.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Own An Important Piece of American Sports History!

The Date:  Tuesday, February 14, 1978
The Place:  The Starlight Room at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC
The Event:  "The Challenge of the Legends"
The Headliners:  Willie Mosconi vs. Minnesota Fats
The Host:  Howard Cosell (pronounced "HOWWWID CO-SELL!")
       This special moment in time took place on national television one weeknight, on a special edition of Wide World of Sports on ABC-TV.  This very special event drew a 'who's who' of pool playing masters that evening.  In addition to Willie Mosconi and Minnesota Fats, there was Irving Crane, Allen Hopkins and Steve Mizerak (among others).  The event was promoted as "The Match of the Century, Heavyweight Championship of Pool" and billed as "The Great Pool Shoot-Out". Besides a colorful and highly skilled cast of characters, there was a special pool table being utilized as the centerpiece of the tournament.  It was a limited edition, custom-made pool table called "The Hudson".  
       "The Hudson" was manufactured by Brunswick sometime between 1900 and 1916, was patented for its design in 1911, and was installed for this iconic event by another New York City pool icon - V. Loria & Sons.  This company was founded in 1912 was originally located on the Lower East Side at 207 Bowery*.  The first store moved a couple of times on the Bowery and remained in business for approximately the next 85 years.  Four generations have succeeded the founding of V. Loria & Sons and the company is now centered at our sole location in Yonkers, New York (just a few miles north of the Bronx).  
       Although 40 years have passed since "The Challenge of the Legends", there will never be another event quite like it.  Surely there are many masters of the game that have come on the scene since this auspicious event in the history of pool & billiards.  
But what made this event so special and so unique was the headlining match-up between two very different personalities in the sport of American pool & billiards - one a sharp-tongued, larger-than-life figure in the game (upon whose life the iconic film "The Hustler" was made) and the other a quiet and reserved grand-master of the game, who's machine-like precision is still looked upon as the benchmark for pool players today.  The commentator Howard Cosell, who needs no introduction, voiced over the competition as he had so many legendary sporting match-ups before and since - from Muhammad Ali's boxing matches to being one of the seminal voices of Monday Night Football.  
       This unique collision of personalities in that space and time will never be duplicated.  While the main players and cast of characters have passed on since then, the table upon which all this history took place is still around and resides in its original tournament condition** for sale here at Loria.  Next month will mark the 40th anniversary since "The Challenge of the Legends" in 1978, and that very table, "The Hudson" (by Brunswick), is accruing more collector's value than ever before!
       So if you are interested in owning a genuine piece of American sports history, look no further than 1876 Central Park Avenue in Yonkers, New York.

Click here for a clip of this iconic event in the history of American pool & billiards: "The Challenge of the Legends"

Click here for more information on "The Challenge of the Legends" broadcast on ABC-TV in 1978.
*The first store location was at 207 Bowery, but moved down the block to 176 Bowery in the 1920s, and eventually next-door to 178 Bowery in the 1970s.

**All components, including the original finish of "The Hudson" pool table are exactly the same as during "The Challenge of the Legends" tournament and have been preserved since then, with the exception of the leather pocket covers (which were replaced with exact replicas of the original).