English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : March, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : March, 1911

Trade Description of Billiard Tables

Important Judgment

In the First Division of the Court of Session at Edinburgh,
on February 23, before the Lord President and
Lords Johnston and Skerrington, judgment was given in a
case in which one James Watson, billiard room proprietor,
claimed from Burroughes & Watts, Ltd., billiard table
manufacturers, £1,620 12s., which he had paid towards the
rent and price of certain billiard tables, on the ground that
such tables were subsequently found to be contrary to
specification, and were then rejected by him. He also
claimed £50, the amount of premiums of insurance, and
£1,500 as compensation for disturbance of business, trouble,
and expense. The defence to the action included a plea that
the tables supplied were in all points conformable to specification
and contract.

In a counter action the defenders claimed £500 as damages
for Watson’s failure to deliver the tables and accessories.

In the Outer House Lord Guthrie, in the action by
Watson, found that the 24 tables were constructed in accordance
with the contracts between the parties, and assoilzied
the makers. In the counter action the Lord Ordinary found
the makers entitled to damages in respect of the defender’s
failure to implement the contracts, and appointed them to
lodge in process a minute detailing the amount they claimed.

The Lord President now said this seemed to be a very
clear case, and it had been decided by the Lord Ordinary
upon grounds with which he thoroughly agreed. The question
was whether these billiard tables could be rejected upon
the ground that they did not come up to what were contracted
for, which were mahogany tables. The evidence
upon that matter showed that until quite lately there was
nobody in the billiard table trade who would not have
thought that “a mahogany billiard table” was not a perfectly
correct trade description of a billiard table of which
the legs were solid mahogany, the frame was veneered
mahogany, and the under supports were made of any
proper and convenient wood such as pine. It was evident
that the word “mahogany” as applied to a billiard table
must have a trade acceptation, because nobody supposed
that a billiard table could be made of mahogany, there being
a great many parts of it which must be made of other substances
altogether. It seemed to be the fact that within
later years the practice of some manufacturers had altered,
and instead of supplying to the order of a mahogany billiard
table a table made up as his Lordship had described, they
had been used to substitute for the veneered mahogany and
for the pine supports another wood which, from its
resemblance to mahogany, was sometimes called South
African mahogany, but that was no more mahogany than
pine was mahogany. That practice was not yet universal,
and the evidence was to the effect that it was considered by
large dealers in Glasgow that a perfectly good implement
of an order for a mahogany table was a table made up as
he had described. It was therefore impossible to say here
that the tables were disconformable to contract Apart
from that his Lordship should have thought there was ample
ground for disposing of the case because there was not
timeous rejection of the tables. If the reclaimer made such
a point of having solid mahogany tables he should have
examined them at the moment they were supplied. It was
the duty of a buyer of goods to inspect the goods at once
and say they were disconformable to contract if he proposed
to take up that position.

Lords Johnston and Skerrington concurred.

[Messrs. Burroughes & Watts, Ltd., desire us to express
their full appreciation of the valuable assistance, in the way
of evidence, that was so kindly afforded to them during
the progress of this case, by other well-known billiard table
makers.]

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